Skip to content

The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove ~ Susan Gregg Gilmore

December 4, 2010

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Crown
272 pages
ISBN: 9780307395030
Source: Bookstore

When “they” say that the lifestyles of the rich and famous are not as glorious as we simple lay people imagine, the infamous “they” are probably referring to something along the lines of pretty little, poor little, rich girl, Bezellia Grove.

Born in a stately southern mansion on the outskirts of Nashville, baby Bezellia has, not shoes, but a legacy and a name to fill. Wearing her full name (unabridged as her predecessors chose before her, opting for Zee, Bea, and others) like a blessing a curse, the most recent descendant of the prominent family is determined to break away from her lineage, once and for all.

Weaving period-appropriate strands of rebellion (inter racial courtship, the rise of feminism and exploration of sexual freedom) through a more solid tapestry of teenage angst as old as time, Bezellia’s story is one of heartbreak and headache, impossible choices and potential silver linings.

In June of 2009, I was a reader but not yet a blogger. I was seriously considering it but hadn’t made my final steps in the direction of publication. Then, one evening, while at the wonderful Blue Elephant book store in Decatur, I almost literally bumped into a woman named Susan Gregg Gilmore. She was at the store to discuss her, then new book Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen. It was a small group but a lively one. We ended up discussing more of the ins and outs of writing and publishing than southern living. This was fine since, at that point, I hadn’t heard of, never mind picked up or read her first book.

It was after that night that I decided I would move forward with my blog. I enjoyed Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen but I need to say this: I’ve fallen out of love. Yes, it’s tragic but true. Unfortunately (for the book) or, rather, fortunately (for me) I have a new love.

She is an amazing new love and her name is Bezellia Grove.

What a sophomore offering! What power! What emotion! The book is not terribly hefty but it packs quite a punch. Bezellia’s voice is clear and strong, even when she is facing her deepest, darkest decisions. Race, class, war and peace are not so much touched on but, rather, lived. Each hurdle is put up as, not some, name dropping, Forrest Gumpesque, silliness but, instead, an organic experience of living life through a tumultuous time both locally and globally.

I came away from this novel with a sense of retroactive star-stuck awe. I am so proud of the depth put into Susan Gregg Gilmore’s second novel. I will definitely recommend the first but if you have to choose one, over the other (for some horrible reason) I have to put my bid in for the most recent story, the lovely and beautiful The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2010 10:29 am

    I thought this book was fantastic too and of course, I agree with you that Susan is an awesome woman!

  2. December 5, 2010 12:07 pm

    Both of these books are on my wish list! After reading your review I know I want to read them both. I will move these up my list. Great review and how lucky for you to meet the author. Great story!

  3. December 5, 2010 10:21 pm

    Susan Gregg Gilmore is indeed a wonderful woman. I had the pleasure of meeting her this September at SIBA and she was just so funny and warm and wonderful. I am looking forward to reading this book very shortly, and from what I’ve heard about it, I am really in for a treat. Thanks for the excellent and personal review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: