Book Beat - Stardust by Carla Stewart

An eclectic cast of characters, a setting as rich as any character, the fascinating historical backdrop of the polio epidemics in the early 1950s, and Carla Stewart's lyrical writing make Stardust a winner of a novel.

Georgia Peyton has just lost her husband - first to another woman, and then to death. When a distant family member bequeathes the rundown Stardust tourist court to Georgia, she's determined to turn the place around. At first glance, Georgia seems to be another determined red-headed spitfire of a heroine, but her true strength is her enormous heart. She cares for her alcoholic former mother-in-law, who still believes her son walked on water. She gives a job to a mysterious drifter. She befriends an African-American family - something simply not done in 1952 Texas. And when her husband's mistress shows up at the Stardust, pregnant with his child, Georgia shows compassion in heartbreakingly generous ways. Georgia has the amazing ability to put aside her personal hurts and treat people as they should be treated - the essence of forgiveness.

The subtle and beautiful spiritual message elevates Stardust beyond mere story - but the story itself is excellent. The polio epidemic makes a dramatic and poignant backdrop. Most people nowadays have forgotten what a horrifying disease it was - be very thankful for the polio vaccine! The fascinating characters will please the reader of women's fiction, a sweet love story rewards the romantic's heart, and Carla Stewart's writing will delight any fan of the written word. I highly recommend this novel.

Just for fun, Carla is holding a Stardust Retro Giveaway on her blog through May 28! She's giving away a cute retro apron, a retro mixing bowl filled with Southern cooking ingredients, Mayhaw jelly, pralines, and a signed copy of Stardust!

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