Sharon Sala’s The Curl Up and Dye

Once upon a time, LilyAnn Bronte was the high school queen of Blessings, Georgia.  But when her almost-fiance was killed in The Curl Up and DyeAfghanistan, Lily retreated into grief and what-might-have-been.  Now, eleven years later, she’s pulling herself out of her funk and getting her life back together.  There’s a new man in town to pique her interest.  Unfortunately, she’s unaware that Mike Dalton, her life-long neighbor and friend, has spent those eleven long years waiting for her to wake up and notice that he loves her.  In fact, Lily is unaware of quite a few things as the story begins.

There’s a lot more going on in Sharon Sala’s The Curl Up and Dye than potential romance.  Ruby Dye’s beauty salon is not just a place where the ladies of Blessing go once a week for a shampoo and style, it’s the gossip hub of the town, and the source of much neighborly help (and not a little meddling).

There’s no lack of plot in Sala’s novel, including some turns that I did not see coming, but the true strength of The Curl Up and Dye is in its characters.  Beside Lily and Mike, we meet the ladies who work at the salon, owner Ruby, twin stylists Vera and Vesta Conklin, and manicurist Mabel Jean Doolittle, along with their customers, including Rachel Goodhope, who is a little too bored with her husband for her own good; Patty June Clymer, back from a recent tour of Italy; and Willa Dean Miller, who runs the local travel agency but does all her own traveling on the Internet.  Even Lily and Mike’s parents, in town for the holidays, can see what Lily doesn’t.  What it takes to wake Lily up and soothe Mike’s wounded ego will surprise you.

When I got to the (completely satisfying) end of the novel, I found a twelve-page teaser for the prequel novella, Color Me Bad, Color Me Badand I couldn’t stop with twelve pages, continuing on my Kindle until I’d found out exactly what caused Patty June to take such a colorful revenge on Bobbette Paulson, what Willa Dean discovered about her own husband (and what she did about it), and how the ladies of Blessing rose in support.

I hope Sharon Sala is planning more stories from Ruby’s Curl Up and Dye salon.  There are surely many more characters with tales to be told.  In the meantime, if you haven’t visited the Curl Up and Dye, what are you waiting for?  Both stories are available for your e-reader, and The Curl Up and Dye is on the shelf at your local bookstore.


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