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The Biscuit Witch (A Crossroads Café Novella, Book One of the MacBrides) [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Smith
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This time, the MacBrides are home to stay.

The Biscuit Witch
A Crossroads Café Novella
Book One of The MacBrides

Dear Dr. Firth:
I know you are in your cups at this time, drinking and sleeping under trees, but I have some experience rehabilitating lost souls in that regard, and so I am enclosing a box of my biscuits and a cold-wrapped container of cream gravy for dessert. Please eat and write back.
We need a veterinarian of your gumption here in the Crossroads Cove of Jefferson County.
—Delta Whittlespoon, proprietress of The Crossroads Café

Biscuit witches, Mama called them. She’d heard the term as a girl. She’d inherited that talent. My mother could cast spells on total strangers simply by setting a plate of her biscuits in front of them. –Tal MacBride

Welcome back to the Crossroads Cove where new loves, old feuds, and poignant mysteries will challenge siblings Tal, Gabby, and Gus MacBride to fight for the home they lost and to discover just how important their family once was, and still is, to the proud people of the Appalachian highlands.

Tallulah MacBride hasn’t been back to North Carolina since their parents’ tragic deaths, twenty years ago. But now, Tal heads to cousin Delta Whittlespoon’s famous Crossroads Café in the mountains above Asheville, hoping to find a safe hiding place for her young daughter, Eve.

What she finds is Cousin Delta gone, the café in a biscuit crisis, and a Scotsman, who refuses to believe she’s passing through instead of “running from.” He believes she needs a knight in shining flannel.

When a pair of sinister private eyes show up, Tal’s troubles are just beginning.

For Tal’s brother and sister—Gabby, the Pickle Queen, and Gus, the Kitchen Charmer—the next part of the journey will lead down forgotten roads and into beautiful but haunted legacies.


Product Details

  • File Size: 379 KB
  • Print Length: 122 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1611944007
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (April 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CJD3U1W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,644 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical story! May 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This was My first book I had read by Deborah Smith, but it will not be the last. I truly enjoyed the storyline and found every character in this book interesting. I felt as though I was back home in the Appalachian Mountains as the story unfolded the more engrossed I became with each characters viewpoint. And what an amazing story it is.

The only thing I wished we're different is that I read the Crossroads Cafe, first. As another reader suggested.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good storyline, who loves life, who believes in laughing and who enjoys stories that have a wonderful place to call home. I cannot wait till the next book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deborah Smith Is Pure Magic! May 9, 2013
By Jean B
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Deborah Smith is a born storyteller with a graduate degree in magic! There is not another writer like her, and it's with immense gratitude to the universe that I bought this story the first second I knew it existed. No one writes eccentric characters like her, no one creates such a rich tapestry where the setting is a character itself. If you want a story guaranteed to make your heart sing, there's nobody better. She's a rich cake of a writer - treat yourself!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book May 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I would highly recommend that you read Crossroads Cafe before reading The Biscuit Witch, that way you can really understand the characters better....I loved the story and the way Deborah pulls everything together. I have read all of her books and so enjoy her style of writing. I look forward to the next book in this series. Thank you for writing another very entertaining book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deborah Smith Hits Another One Out of the Park June 21, 2013
By Laura
Format:Kindle Edition
Deborah Smith has a rare talent as a story teller: one that can bring any character to life and make the reader feel they know that character personally. She is able to connect with all types of personalities and make the character real.

She's done it again in The Biscuit Witch. Her characters are real, flawed, funny, and very human. Ms. Smith draws the reader in without the reader even realizing how caught up she is until it's time to put the book down and she doesn't want to. Plus, I suspect after read this book, there will be many people wanting to be a biscuit witch...I know I do!

The character Delta, whom we met in "Cross Roads Cafe" opens the story with a letter written in typical Delta style. In my mind I picture her as a Paula Dean type, only more outspoken. Her letter is to one Douglas Firth, a Scotsman destine to be our hero. A flawed hero, yes, but a true hero.

Set in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, this books introduces us to Tal and Eve, mother and daughter, heroes in their own right, and the events in our lives that can set in motion a series of moments that spin out of control until we learn from deep within ourselves how to put our lives back on the track they should have been on all along.

Food, love, family, guns, good and evil, fun animals, healing spirits, and biscuits. Sit down at the table for a bit to walk through the pages of the Biscuit Witch. You'll find yourself charmed, bewitched, and anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading: The Biscuit Witch May 28, 2013
By Linda W
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At every age, there is an author and her book to be savored. For me, at age thirteen, it was Margaret Mtchell's Gone With the Wind; in my twenties, it was Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; and for the past two decades, it has been Deborah Smith. Her writing is witty and charming and inciteful. I first "met" her in A Place to Call Home. More recently, it was Crossroads Cafe which made me laugh and cry and introduced me to a world in which I would love to live. It was an immensely satisfying read....but I wanted more...And here it is with The Biscuit Witch A must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute but December 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
it's just not as satisfying a read as Crossroad Cafe. Since I've read this and The Pickle Queen I will read the final novella when it becomes available but I think a novel including all 3 stories ( The Biscuit Witch, The Pickle Queen and whatever the future one is named) would be my choice for the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to go and live there. August 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I needed something light and cozy to read after some James Lee Burke and lisa Gardner. This was it. I fell in love with this magical place. Talk is on the run from eve 's father. She goes to her cousin's home. It is a magical place. There are twist and turns that give an extra bonus to the book. I will definitely be reading more of this author.l
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read July 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you just want to relax and get away from it all and just veg this is it! It's a fun read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
great reading, I just love all her stories
Published 8 days ago by mary fava
4.0 out of 5 stars Very engaging novella. I wanted more and didn't realize ...
Very engaging novella. I wanted more and didn't realize it was a novella, till I came to the end! I am looking forward to the Part 2 McBrides.
Published 28 days ago by Robin M
3.0 out of 5 stars Another big disappointment. This one started better than the Pickle...
Another big disappointment. This one started better than the Pickle Queen, but by the middle it went sharply downhill.
Published 1 month ago by Pat West
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
i really loved the crossroads cafe and couldn't wait to read this story-it didn't disappoint. a really good series! can't wait for the kitchen charmer...
Published 1 month ago by Mari-Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars BISCUIT WITCH
I loved the BISCUIT WITCH, I read Cross Roads Café and THE PICKLE QUEEN. Now I'm waiting for KITCHEN CHARMER
Published 2 months ago by Lucinda Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding
This one had everyting. Love, loss, mystery, and suspense. I could not put it down.,I would love to see more like this one.
Published 3 months ago by Fred Senseman
5.0 out of 5 stars Always good to enjoy a story!!
I had never read anything by Deborah Smith before but will read more from now on.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and will be reading the next book, "The Pickle... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Colleen
1.0 out of 5 stars The Biscuit Witch
Ths is the first book of the MacBrides. I read it last in the series of MacBrides books and put it down after reading the first two chapters. I didnt care to put anymore time i
Published 4 months ago by Bev Beauvais
5.0 out of 5 stars Book 1 of the MacBrides
The MacBrides are 3: Tallulah Bankhead MacBride, (Tal), Greta Garbo MacBride,(Gabby), and Groucho Marx MacBride, (Gus). (Their father was a movie fan! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Isabelle Jolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely series start
Deborah Smith is a wonderful writer. Each book is better than the last. This start to the MacBride series sets the stage for the rest of the family's stories. I cannot wait.
Published 5 months ago by Christine Conley
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More About the Author

Love is about family, romance, and finding a place to call home . . .

Update: July 19, 2014

Hey! The following short works are now available in Kindle Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited: Forever Yesterday, Saving Jonquils, and Hearing Wings. (whispering) Where the Foxgloves Bloom is available in the subscription lending program at Oyster and Scribd but not here at Amazon because of Amazon's rules about books being ineligible if they're sold through other stores.

Update: July 1, 2014

The Kitchen Charmer is set for a fall publishing date. Coming in July is a lead-in story, The Apple Pie Knights. Look for more news soon on that! *And* I've added the first part of a short novel called Forever Yesterday, now available in ebook for 1.99. I'm working to build the world of my Crossroads Cove characters primarily, while adding some of my other projects in the mix as often as possible.

Update: January 26, 2014: Thanks for the questions about the release date on THE KITCHEN CHARMER. I'm predicting April 1. The original dream was for Feb. 1 but my day job decided otherwise.

Bell Bridge Books is an exciting and more-than-fulltime career, and I love working with our growing list of authors plus a staff that now includes former Harlequin editor Brenda Chin. We've got an amazing line-up of books for 2014--romances, women's fiction, mysteries, suspense, fantasy, and more. I'd editing new mystery series by Joann Ferguson and Arlene Kay, dark suspense by John Flynn, and the next book in Virginia Brown's bestselling Dixie Diva mystery series. I'm crazy-proud over the successful launch of Nicki Salcedo's debut romantic suspense novel, ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS, plus looking forward to the launch of Suzan Colon's BEACH GLASS and Bonnie D. Tharp's PATCHWORK FAMILY, which just got a great endorsement from Dorothea Benton Franks.

I do miss being able to write fulltime, which I gave up several years ago, but the kind of novels I love never found an easy fit in the marketplace, and depending on them as a way to make a living was like riding a roller-coaster that regularly crashes with no warning. Yikes.

Anyhoo, more news soon on a possible short story to pair with THE YARN SPINNER. I may be able to get that ready for March. Tentative title: THE YARN LOVER. If it happens, it will feature Gus MacBride and be set in Afghanistan immediately before THE KITCHEN CHARMER. Readers will learn more about the poignant penpal correspondence between Gus and Lucy and see what Gus is dealing with that puts him in danger.

Update: January 17, 2014: publishing today: THE YARN SPINNER, a Crossroads Cafe short story, part of The MacBrides Trilogy, 99 cents ebook. This prequel to the upcoming THE KITCHEN CHARMER tells readers a bit more about Lucy Parmenter, the fragile young woman who has become Capt. Gus MacBride's long-distance text buddy while hiding her history as a rape victim and her on-going struggles as an agoraphobic recluse.

THE YARN SPINNER takes place two years before THE KITCHEN CHARMER. Cathy Deen, the scarred actress from THE CROSSROADS CAFE, meets Lucy on Lucy's first night at Rainbow Goddess Farm, a live-in counseling center for abused woman, high the North Carolina mountains. Cathy is determined to help her, and enlists Delta Whittlespoon's wisdom and biscuit magic. But the emotionally paralyzed and near-suicidal newcomer needs to find a lifeline in a hurry.



Publishing November 15, 2013: THE PICKLE QUEEN, Book 2 of The MacBrides Trilogy, a Crossroads Cafe Novella.

Excerpt:

Pickles are mentioned in the Bible. Cleopatra ate them as a beauty regimen. Shakespeare put them in his plays. Mason designed jars for bottling them. So did Ball. Did Mason and Ball fight over the King of the Pickle Jars title? I don't know. I did know this much: I used pickles to keep fear, pride, and my love of Jay Wakefield behind a door I would not risk opening again. Even now.

Wakefields take what they want. MacBrides never surrender. For nearly a hundred years, a battle of wills between these two deeply-rooted Appalachian families has ended in defeat and heartache--most often, for MacBrides. Now the MacBride name is barely more than a legend, and it's up to Gabby MacBride to deal with the pain of her childhood memories and also the challenge of a MacBride legacy she's only beginning to understand.

That will mean coming to terms with her bittersweet love for Jay Wakefield, the lonely rich boy who became her soul mate when they were kids, before the dark demands of his own legacy forced him to betray her.

*

The modern outlaws, preppers and recluses of the Little Finn Valley called this cozy cavern beneath the mountain the Wolf's Den--a cross between a sports bar, a frat-house TV room, and a co-op, family-friendly pajama-party. There were dozing dogs, sly cats, a few pet raccoons, small monkeys wearing sweaters, and sleeping children among the audience sprawled in chairs around a stage in one corner. Another gaggle gathered near flat screens showing Christmas concerts, ESPN highlights of fall football games, and A Christmas Story.

Ralphie's dreams of gaming Santa for a BB gun was a hit.

There were couches, small tables, recliners and other assorted seating arrangements cobbled from a catch-all collection of furniture. About a hundred people occupied the Den that cold Christmas Eve night, most of them looking mellow--but when the Moon sisters shoved me out of the hallway into their presence the karaoke machine went silent. Eyes turned toward me. I saw a lot of military patches on rugged jackets, a lot of holstered pistols and sheathed hunting knives, and a lot of damp boots drying next to thickly socked feet.

The men were pretty tough-looking, too.

"Greta Garbo MacBride," one of the Moons announced.

A MacBride.

A MacBride had returned to the Little Finn Valley.

Just as before, when I was met on the road down from the ridge, there were looks of awe.

Behind an ornate, marble-topped bar sat some rough biker types in 'do rags and cracked leather lounged on tall stools and a blond woman in a denim jumper over black leggings mixed drinks and guided tall glasses under beer taps. On the wall behind her was a large framed poster with Little Finn River Whiskey in scrolling letters. On one side of it was a sepia photo of a vintage bottle with the caption 1915's Best beneath it; on the other half of the poster was a modern color photo of an updated whiskey bottle with 2012 beneath it.
TRADITION AND PRIDE ENDURE, a slogan said.

I called out, "Who wants potato salad and pre-Christmas turkey sandwiches on whole wheat with fresh dill relish and sliced mushrooms drizzled with balsamic vinagrette? Also, pickle-flavored martinis and a blueberry reduction on baked brie with a side of sugar cookies?"

After a startled moment, smiles broke out and hands went up.
One of the 'do rags rose like a bandana-wearing African lion, carrying the fresh double of Little Finn whiskey he'd just been handed by Blond Tats. He offered it to me, and smiled. "The nectar of the mountain gods," he said in a Boston accent straight out of Harvard. "Welcome, a great honor. A MacBride has come home."

*

Dawn was just three hours away. Christmas Eve was only a few hours old, and the Cavern couldn't shield us from the pit-of-the night mood, emptiness and regrets. The long day had scraped ruts in my throat. My hands hurt, and my attitude was testy; I felt a vise squeezing my temples.

"She's got them eating out of her hand, Jay," Pug told me. "And yeah, that's not a metaphor. She's feeding all the valley's late-nighters like they're baby birds she rescued out of a nest, and they're chirping and asking for more. You know the kind of after-midnight crowd that hangs out at the Den. The ones who've got no family to go home to and too many nightmares to fall asleep. And when the holidays come around their shit is stirred up, times ten. She's their holiday mama bird. It's the MacBride effect. I've read about that in old Caillin's journal but I never really believed in it, until now."

"Food is comfort," I said. "Gabs and her brother and sister understand that. It's that simple."

"Huh," she said, as we walked out of the cold into the warmly lit alcoves of the Den.

Laughter and applause accompanied a group singalong of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" as Pug and I rounded a bend in the wall lined with deer skins, old photos of the Little Finn Distillery and the Woolen Mill.

"Holy singalong, Batman. She's Lawrence Welk without the bubble machine."

Up on the small stage, barefoot, with a mustard-smeared apron over her bedraggled slacks and blouse, her towering height and extraordinary hair filling all the available show space, Gabs waved a glass of whiskey with one hand and led the chorus with a microphone in the other.

Platters of sandwich crumbs and nearly empty stainless serving bowls smeared with the residue of potato salad littered the bar top. Open jars of pickles sat on every mismatched table.

Singing in loud unison, the crowd chorused,
Underneath the mistletoe last night . . .

"They're going to wake up in the daylight and hold their heads and regret this," Pug shouted in my ear.

No, they won't, I thought. They'll be in awe of the way Gabs soothed their hunger.

As the last beats of the song faded from the big amps beside each end of the stage, Gabs took a long swallow of Little Finn whiskey and, as if drugged by the essence of her ancestors, found me instantly. She stiffened, shoulders back, chin up.

She pointed at me in sly challenge. "That man, right there, can sing like a baritone angel." Everyone turned to stare.

She remembers. I nodded, bowing a little.

Her eyes flared. "He has a great singing voice," she continued.

"Sing, Wakefield," someone yelled. People began to clap in rhythm. "Sing, sing, sing."

"You don't have to give in," Pug said. "I'll break out the tequila and distract them."

"I can handle it." I wound my way through the assorted chairs and mismatched tables, the recliners filled with snuggling couples, the dogs curled up by their humans' feet on sheepskin pads, the aura of communal energy, the spirit of the tribe and the cave. Fire crackled on a hearth, and the scent of the stone and the earth reminded us all of this was real, and eternal, and essential.

The welcome and warning in Gabs' deep green MacBride eyes, tearing me apart with the challenge of our history and the promise of what we still might become.




Bell Bridge Books
Hey!

See the prequel to THE PICKLE QUEEN -- THE BISCUIT WITCH -- here:

http://www.amazon.com/Biscuit-Crossroads-Novella-MacBrides-ebook/dp/B00CJD3U1W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367446306&sr=8-1&keywords=the+biscuit+witches

The final novella in the trilogy, THE KITCHEN CHARMER, will be published in winter 2014.


Deborah Smith is the NYT and WSJ bestselling author of A PLACE TO CALL HOME, THE CROSSROADS CAFE, and many other novels. She's also a founding partner and VP of BelleBooks and its main division, Bell Bridge Books. Check here for news and updates on the titles she and her partners are publishing.

Deb writes almost exclusively about romance, family drama and "other," and many of her settings are the Appalachian mountain communities of Georgia and North Carolina. Her family heritage is based in those areas and, like many legacies of Appalachian kinfolk, is a mixture of Scots-Irish, Scots, Irish, English, Welsh and Native American, primarily Cherokee and Creek Indian. Her mother's family, the Powers, came from Donegal, Ireland in the late 1700s and by the early 1800s had settled in the wilderness near what would become known as Atlanta. The Powers were a founding family of Cobb County, Georgia, and ran a ferry on the Chattahoochee River. "Powers Ferry" continues to be a well-known place name in that community. Deb's mother, Dora Lee Powers Brown, grew up playing in cornfields on the banks of the river where apartment complexes, office buildings and restaurants now stand. (Precisely: Rays on the River, a popular restaurant in the Atlanta suburbs, is located where one of those cornfields existed.) She recalled playing in the remnants of Civil War trenches as a child, and, in the years before Buford Dam leashed the river, sitting with her brothers and sisters on the one-lane bridge at Powers Ferry where, during floods, the river rose so high that she and her siblings could dip their feet in it.

Asheville, North Carolina, is a favorite setting for Deborah's books. She fell in love with the city during visits to the local rivers (for rafting) in the early 1980s. Many many visits later, she and Hank consider the city and its amazing mountain region their home away from home. The Biltmore Estate inspired the mansion in BLUE WILLOW, the Cherokee and gem mining history inspired SILK AND STONE, and THE CROSSROADS CAFE resulted from a wandering day trip in the highlands above Asheville, where Deb, her mother and their friend Ceil Garrison discovered the best homecooking ever! at a tiny diner at an isolated crossroads near the Tennessee line.

Many of Deb's current and older titles are now also available in unabridged audiobooks here at Amazon and at iTunes also Audible.com. Check out Deb's fantasy romance, ALICE AT HEART, because Deb narrated that audio herself (hey, at least it's unique...)




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