I met Alice J. Wisler last month at a local book signing. She’s a Carolina girl and was delightful to talk to. I also had the pleasure of meeting her boxer pup, Levi. According to her newsletter, Literary Lyrics, he’s become such a hit in her house she decided to also give one of the characters in her upcoming book a boxer. That novel, A Wedding Invitation, is due to release in the fall of 2011.
While standing at her table, I debated which book to buy. She has three inspirational novels out: Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, and Hatteras Girl. I chose the latter, mostly because I liked the title. She put her “Alice J. Wisler” on it for me and I carried it home.
I’ll be honest. When I opened to the first page of Hatteras Girl, I literally groaned. I prefer my stories to be told in third person, past tense rather than first person, present. However, it didn’t take many pages to find myself lost in Jackie Donovan’s, sometimes heartbreaking, but most often humorous attempt to realize her dream of running an Outer Banks bed and breakfast while also searching for Mr. Right.
From quirky co-workers, to disastrous dates set up by well-meaning but dating-game inept relatives, a man who isn’t all he seems to be and one who is more than he seems, and a grieving best friend and her son, Jackie struggles to balance the demands of others with her own life’s desires.
Alice has given a number of her characters homespun names. Jackie has an Aunt Sheerly who owns a beauty shop, an Uncle Ropey who makes a living by knotting the rope from sailboats into crafts sold to tourists. Irvy, Lona, Tiny, Beatrice Lou… Tell me those don’t get the Southern juices flowing.
She did a fine job of making the love interest in the book both attractive and slimy enough that the reader waffles between hoping Jackie ditches him to wondering if he’s as bad as he comes across. As the Hatteras girl learns, sometimes God answers prayer by opening our eyes to what is right under our noses.
Overall, Hatteras Girl was a fun romp along the beach. I don’t know what the next novel is about, but being one who gets involved with a book’s characters, I’m hoping Alice will tell us Minnie’s story at some point.
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Alice J. Wisler
Thank you, Sandy! It’s amazing how many do not like first person present (my favorite style) and just give up on my novels. I tried to go third person with my fourth novel, A Wedding Invitation, and my editor said, “No.” For her, first present sounds like “An Alice Wisler novel” (her words). There was more to Minnie in my earlier drafts, but those were cut. I’m glad you want to know more about her, Sandy. Thanks for reading and for your post here! And what an honor to be named a “Carolina Girl.” Me, a missionary kid who spent her whole childhood and some adult years in Japan! 🙂
As I said, Alice, first person isn’t my favorite, but it only took a few pages to get into the story and forget the first person style. So, if that’s what works for you–go for it! I love series books because I want to know what happens to some of the secondary characters. I thought Minnie was such a sympathetic, yet “growing stronger” character that it would be nice to know she lives happily ever after.