Friday, April 28, 2017

#Fridayreads Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad

In keeping with our April theme of humor, I have another fun book to recommend.

Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad
Linda Swain Bethea and Kathleen Holdaway Swain
File Size: 2101 KB
Print Length: 263 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Weaverback Press (July 21, 2016)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

BOOK BLURB -  Born to a struggling farm family in the deepest of The Great Depression, Kathleen enjoys a colorful childhood, enhanced by her imagination, love of life, and the encouragement of her family. She's determined to build a better life for herself, getting herself into hilarious situations all along the way. Distinguishing herself in school and the community, she never takes her eyes off her goal.  Just as she's about to get started, she meets Bill, the man who is going to help her on her way. Everything changes. And then changes again.

This is true story of a remarkable woman who will inspire you, make you laugh, and see life from a new perspective.

REVIEW - I had the honor of editing this book, and I loved it from the rough draft to the finished manuscript. The stories that Kathleen shared with her family, and then Linda decided to put into a book, are full of fresh and wonderful humor and unique characters from Kathleen's family to the other people who live in her little corner of the world. The settings and situations add to the humor and bring it all to life.

We meet Kathleen as a child, full of hope and innocence in a time that has little hope for so many, but she is only marginally aware of the difficulties. Instead, she is happy playing with the chickens and her friends and living in the world created by her active imagination. I could relate to Kathleen on that level, as I had quite a pretend life when I was young that shielded me somewhat from the real life that wasn't so pleasant.

I could also relate to the imaginary horses, Kathleen's playmates in the woods. I had imaginary horses, and sometimes was the imaginary horse, running madly through the field near my house. Sometimes my friends and I "rode" sticks as we played, but more often we would just toss them aside and be the horses.

Each anecdote brings a smile, but there are also laugh-out-loud moments. One of those is shortly after Kathleen received a Shirley Temple Hat and stood by the road, hoping people would notice how pretty she looked in the hat. When a car stops, she is thrilled, until the driver asks if her father is home. Not a word about the hat or the pretty curls.

The illustrations, and the cover, were done by Kathleen, and they are charming. She is quite a talented primitive artist.  Together with the stories, they make for an enjoyable visit to Kathleen's home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Linda Swain Bethea grew up in a family with a strong story-telling tradition, and she always knew she had stories that needed to be told. Writing called to her, even while working for thirty years as a Registered Nurse. Now retired from nursing, she blogs almost daily at

She lives in Greenwood, Louisiana, with her husband and dog. When she isn't at her computer tapping away, either at home or while camping, Linda gardens and volunteers at her local libraries.

Reviewed by Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mystery,  Doubletake, was named the 2015 Best Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors. She has a number of other books published, including the critically-acclaimed Season Mystery Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. 


  1. Excellent review, Maryann. You just sold a book for author Linda Swain Bethea. :-)

    1. Linda Bethea will be pleased to hear that, Linda. :-) Glad you liked the review.

    2. Hot dog! I hope you like it!

  2. It's a wild green eaten by people in the South. Had to be pretty hungry to try it.

    1. There's a song called Poke Salad Annie, by Tony Joe White. (I had to look up his name, but I remember the song.)

  3. There's something about southern stories. I'm from New England, and I don't recall anyone telling stories about family the way southerners do. The book sounds delightful.

    1. You would enjoy it, Polly. It has a real flavor of the South.


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