Local author and UGA alumna Julie Cannon has written the third book of her “Homegrown Series” with Those Pearly Gates, the follow-up to ‘Mater Biscuit and Truelove & Homegrown -Tomatoes.
As with those stories, Cannon’s new novel follows the lives of Imogene Lavender, her new husband, the Rev. Lemuel Peddigrew, her daughter Jeanette and niece Loutishie.
Their own individual struggles —Imo trying to be the perfect reverend’s wife while witnessing her elderly husband fight the trappings of old age; Jeanette’s exotic dancing temptations that fly in the face of her own reverend husband; and Loutishie’s teenaged angst —always find solace in two things: a deep abiding faith and the extensive family garden.
A devastating event forces Jeanette to see that beauty is not just skin deep, and when Imo’s neighbors suffer a great tragedy, she learns what it really means to be a reverend’s wife.
The book alternates between Imo’s and Lou’s points of view, offering a refreshing contrast of life experiences, including Imo’s mature marriage and Lou’s first high school love.
Vivid depictions of eccentric community characters and the colorful hangouts they frequent—like the Kuntry Kut ‘n’ Kurl salon—bring the small town of Eurharlee, Ga., springing to life.
With gentle humor and -moments of real poignancy, -Cannon continues to bring Southern authenticity and real warmth to her landscapes and characters.