St. Martin's, Sep 2003, 24.95, 305 pp.
In the late 1960s the five women met while attending Atlanta area high schools. Georgia, Teeny, Linda, Diane and SuSu became friends as they discovered their sexual power over males. Over the years they remained friends though society battered at each one of them using the vicious tools of husbands and kids to try to destroy them. Now middle-aged with the beginnings of a bulge and aches, the quintet still meets once a month in purple garb with red hats to celebrate that they are the last generation of southern Mademoiselles sharing Buckhead gossip.
They are still a fine tune team sharing their desires, hatreds, and boredom. Marriage has not been what they expected with cheating husbands or tedious relationships if that much. Each turns to the other four for solace and perhaps a bit of vengeance on the worst of their five male companions. Life in Atlanta in spite the trials and tribulations of age and family remains good as long as the five women have THE RED HAT CLUB to look forward to every month.
Though nothing new to the vast sea of southern women literature, THE RED HAT CLUB is an engaging tale that welcomes readers as if they were sharing wine with the heroines. The story line feels like a relationship cozy that combines gentle breezes on top of steel magnolias. The characters are distinct and delightful charming the audience with their interactions and intelligent colloquies on life, especially on men and teens, two species none of them admit to understanding. Fans of women's fiction will appreciate Haywood Smith's fine homage to the southern female.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner