Home to Cedar Branch: A Quaker Café Novel
About the Book:
After a betrayal ends in tragedy, Katy seeks refuge from her abusive husband, Hank, in her quiet hometown of Cedar Branch, North Carolina. Taking up residence on the old family farm and landing a job at the local Quaker Café, she hopes to leave her troubled past behind.
At the café, Katy finds allies, kind people willing to protect her and offer advice. There’s the gracious owner who insists that manners prevail, the no-nonsense cook who tackles life with a cast iron frying pan, a Yankee transplant who doesn’t bow to convention, and a shrewd Southern lawyer who sees a chance for Katy to profit from her predicament. But when Hank discovers her whereabouts, Katy’s newfound peace is broken. As a heated standoff involving Hank, local and federal law enforcement, and the media ensues, how far will the Cedar Branch community go to avert violence and save lives?
The story starts in a humorous fashion--two boys climb a tree and and get on the roof of the doctor's office, hoping for a view of naked patients. They fall through a skylight and catch the doctor with his pants down with a patient, a patient who happens to be the victim of domestic violence. It is a small town and of course everyone is talking about it. When the woman's truck-driver husband gets home he kills the doctor. Katy leaves their town and returns to her brother's farm. While her husband sits in jail, Katy and her children get to know the Quaker neighbors and try to start their lives again.
Much of the story is set in the Quaker Cafe, the small town Main Street cafe where "everyone" gathers. The sense of community is in stark contrast to the relatively isolated life Katy led during her marriage. Eventually there is an armed stand-off between Katy's husband and the police and in the middle of that stand-off are the Quakers, who, if you remember your history, are pacifists who do not believe in violence as the solution to problems. It was interesting to see how these people lived up to their ideals in a situation that seemed to call for them to be abandoned.
The book is the second in a series and it stood well on its own. There were a few characters who seemed to have little point in the story, but perhaps they will have their moments in other books.
I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley. Grade: B.