Avon, Mar 2002, 5.99, 384 pp.
In Hellon, Tennessee, sixty miles or so from Memphis, Rita Stark owns and operates the Pig Rib Palace. Divorced from her husband Pernel, whose closet of female attire is superior to hers, and feeling empty nest syndrome with their daughter off to school, Rita decides to renovate her dilapidated restaurant. She hires legendary football hero Wild Billy West to do the job.
Rita's wacky best friends Cozette Harvey and Jillie West believe Billy is just the right medicine for Rita to regain her former confidence as a card carrying Dixie belle. Though she does not mind wearing the tiara or holding her head high, Rita struggles with accepting a date with Billy as her self-esteem remains in the septic tank.
THE DIXIE BELLE'S GUIDE TO LOVE is a humorous satirical look at small town southern living as depicted in many a romance novel. Rita is an intriguing lead protagonist who makes the tale. Though quite amusing, the local dialogue especially when Cozette and Jillie are on center stage, disrupts the flow of the plot as the audience struggles to understand what is being said. Still Luanne Jones provides her audience with a delightfully jocular hometown romance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner