Louette's Wake

Fiction - Southern
250 Pages
Reviewed on 10/20/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I wanted people to remember how life used to be in a small town, when everyone knew each other’s secrets, and cared. I love the Wiregrass area deep in the south of Alabama, Florida and Georgia, named for a grass wild cattle ate, where they speak an unusual language. The character came with a mystery, a long-time rift with her daughter, a quirky suiter, wacky neighbors, a beloved grandson, and a deputy sheriff who drops by to check on her and eat chocolate fudge cake. Chapter headings highlight gospel songs which lends rhythm to daily life.
My writing has been described as a cross between Fannie Flagg and Bailey White. After years as a journalist, editor, and researcher, it became time for me to create fiction—boisterous, rollicking, humbling, courageous, hilarious words, to delight readers, who fall in love with Louette. She is a composite of the many strong women I grew up with, starring in a mystery, a love story, a struggle, and triumph, rooted in a real place, suspended in a real time.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

For years after her husband’s disappearance, Louette has been filled with grief. In Louette's Wake (Wiregrass Series) by Sue Riddle Cronkite, readers are pulled into a story filled with love, mystery, and the struggles of one woman and her daughter to find acceptance, understanding, and closure after a tragedy. Louette does a lot of activities so she can get over blaming herself for her husband’s desertion. When she remembers her mother’s wake, she decides to organize hers (humorous and crazy as it sounds) so she can spend time with the people who matter to her. While some think she is losing it, the wake turns out to be a critical moment that gives her clarity and helps her determine what she really wants. It ushers her onto the path towards healing.

Louette is a character that is genuine, well-fleshed out and emotionally and psychologically rich. She loves gospel music, wants to spend more time with her grandson, and serves fudge cake for the local deputy sheriff. She is loved by a quirky neighbor. That is what her portrait looks like, but it has deeper layers and it is interesting for readers to understand the sophistication in this character and her psychological depth. The author creates a setting that brings to life the cultural and community elements of the Deep South in the 1980s, allowing readers a strong feel of the soul of the “wiregrass” region. The narrative is done in the third person and it features dialogues that capture the manner of speaking of the people.

This is a story with a sophisticated protagonist, but it is also a story of a place, and Sue Riddle Cronkite shares colorful images of the place and gives readers a vivid picture of life in a small community. The themes of family, love, loss, and friendship are ingeniously developed in this novel. The humor fills every page and from the very first paragraph, the reader is greeted by the strong, humorous voice of the narrator. Louette's Wake (Wiregrass Series) is as delightful as it is transporting.

Jerry Hurley

'Louette's Wake' a patchwork quilt of love
Review by: Jerry L. Hurley
Author of "Wildcrafting and Other Stories I Share Only With My Friends".
The best books are those that you can wrap yourself up in like grandmother’s quilt. Carefully pieced together from scraps of thought, people known and lives lived with a generous dose of laughter and tears. Like precious pieces from a faded wedding dress to scraps of fabric from a work-worn shirt the author carefully stitches everything together into a patchwork of love for the written word.

Louette’s Wake by Sue Riddle Cronkite is one of those “best books”.

The rich language of the wiregrass country of Southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle gives voice to Louette’s tale of love and loss, joy and tragedy. And, always hope. Not a fragile southern belle, Louette is a strong woman who decides to plan her own wake. Why not? What’s the use of everyone coming to see you after you’re dead? Where’s the fun in that?

Louette’s Wake is filled with characters that you know. Eccentric, humorous, some sad and others happy. Nevertheless, all are very real. These people are your next-door neighbors. Perhaps they live down the street or are talked about after Wednesday evening prayer service. You might have to admit to one or two of them being nuts in your family tree. While you might think one or another is lower than an egg-suckin’ dog you can always be forgiven your comments as long as you close with bless their little heart.

From the opening pages when grandson Bucky is saved from the wrath of a sow protecting her piglets to a twenty year old mystery solved on the day of the party, author Sue Riddle Cronkite takes us on a rollicking journey into Louette’s world. Pages can’t be turned fast enough as her story unfolds. A tragedy on the eve of the wake - you’ll feel the heat creeping up your backside. Mason jars filled with Mama’s treasure – you’ll join our cast of characters with your shovel in hand in case it’s buried in the backyard.

With the style and storytelling skill of Fannie Flagg in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café or Bailey White in Mama Makes Up Her Mind you will enjoy your trip into the pages of Louette’s Wake and be a little bit sad when the journey ends.

So, make yourself a cup of coffee and cut a piece of Louette’s six-layer cake with hot fudge frosting, grab a quilt and curl up with your copy of Louette’s Wake by Sue Riddle Cronkite. Pure joy!