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Ain't She Sweet? Mass Market Paperback – January 25, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 247 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A small town's prodigal daughter returns to face her past in bestseller Phillips's latest cheeky, diverting fairy tale. Sugar Beth Carey, "the wild child of Parrish, Mississippi," was once the queen of all she surveyed, but after 15 years and three marriages, she's a broken (and broke) husk of her former self. Who's loving the schadenfreude? The Seawillows, for starters-the gaggle of Southern belles Sugar dumped years ago, plus Winnie Davis, the half-sister she treated like dirt. And there's more: not only did Sugar stomp on gorgeous Ryan Galantine's heart (luckily, Winnie caught him on the rebound), she also got Colin Byrne, the sexy British high school teacher, fired for ostensibly coming on to her. Colin now owns her family's manse, and she's inherited the carriage house on his property-along with a highly valuable painting, location unknown (might it be hiding in Colin's attic? Or is it right under her nose?). Phillips keeps the tension high, with Colin (now a successful writer and member of the town's "in" crowd) and all of the rest of Parrish looking to make Sugar pay for past misdeeds. Colin hires her to be his housekeeper, and soon their days are filled with bickering, backstabbing and lots of orgasmic sex. A subplot involving Gigi, Winnie and Ryan's rebellious teenage daughter, who somewhat improbably turns to Sugar Beth for advice, detracts from the primary drama. The novel is at its best when Phillips sticks with what she does best-fast-paced romps featuring two headstrong people who finally realize that they're soul mates.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Fifteen years ago, Sugar Beth Carey reigned supreme over the small Mississippi town of Parrish, but now she's returning home a little bit shabby around the edges to claim a valuable painting left to her by her disapproving aunt. Fifteen years ago, Colin Byrne arrived in Parrish from England as a new teacher only to have his career destroyed by a spiteful young Sugar Beth. Fifteen years ago, Sugar Beth had everything Winnie Davis ever wanted, but because Winnie had the one thing Sugar Beth could never have, she turned Winnie's life into a perpetual hell. So now Colin, a best-selling author, and Winnie, Parrish's richest citizen, are determined to exact revenge for Sugar Beth's past sins, but much to their surprise, neither one finds revenge to taste quite as sweet as they expected once they get to know the new Sugar Beth. A hero who wouldn't be out of place in the pages of a Regency romance, a heroine who is equal parts grit and class, and a basset hound with a personality disorder are just a few of the memorable characters in Phillips' sassy, sexy contemporary romance. The simple perfection of her writing in this splendid tale will charm readers. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (January 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061032085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061032080
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was given to me for review and my first reaction was, "Not my kind of book!" The book's opening didn't help: -- a disheveled down-and-out southern woman returns to her hometown, driving a beat-up old car, accompanied by her late husband's only legacy: a basset hound she loves to hate.
But after a few pages, I began to care about the story line. Why did Sugar Beth dread returning home? Why did so man people hate her so much? And how can we care about a heroine who's done such despicable things in the past?
This book is a model of a book that's a crossover between romance and women's fiction. The author takes us to the edge of the cliff with a worst case scenario. Sugar Beth, high school prom queen, the girl everybody envied, has become a woman who's lost everything.
Meanwhile, Sugar Beth's former victims have all grown up and become wildly successful. They vividly remember Sugar Beth and they're perfectly positioned to take revenge.
So why doesn't Sugar Beth just go to, say, Los Angeles and get an anonymous job? Turns out she needs to find a painting she inherited. She can sell this unique art work for millions of dollars. And while she hunts for this painting, she needs a job. And who has the power to give her a job? You guessed it: Those she once scorned.
In one climactic scene, Sugar Beth is pitted against these vengeful people and she's in a one-down position. She's backed into a corner.
But Sugar Beth rises to the challenge. She handles herself with dignity and we soon learn her secret reasons for needing the money from the sale of the painting. She's different yet she's held on to the strongest parts of herself. She triumphs by her own grit and we're mostly satisfied with the ending.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a big SEP fan because she writes funny, quirky characters who aren't your run-of-the-mill romance novel characters and she writes the absolute best dialogue I've ever read.
This book is phenomenal. I could not put it down. Some parts had me laughing out loud and others just made me want to cry. Sugar Beth was a spiteful, mean-spirited girl in her youth, most especially to Winnie, but SEP delves so deeply into Sugar Beth's psyche that you understand why she acted the way she did. Her motivations are very clear. The Sugar Beth we meet at the beginning of the book has grown up and taken her fair share of lumps and she ends up taking several more before the book is through. But she doesn't let any of it break her spirit.
I'm a sucker for a heroine who's a wise ass and a hero who can throw it right back at her and that's Sugar Beth and Colin. They are just so funny together, yet touching at the same time. The kind hero and heroine that stay with you long after you've finished reading the book.
This is a wonderful story. I wish I could have given it more stars.
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Format: Hardcover
Thrice married Sugar Beth Carey was once the town golden girl of Parrish, Mississippi, but all her past misdeeds have caught up with her as she returns to her hometown for the first time in 15 years, in the role of town pariah. Disinherited by the father whose love she always sought but never achieved, she returns to collect an inheritance from her aunt. Instead of the family estate, she's relegated to the carriage house where she searches for a hidden valuable work of art.

Just about everyone in town is looking forward to her return to even old scores. No one is happier to see her squirm than her former teacher, Colin. Fifteen years earlier, Sugar Beth accused Colin of making a pass at her in order to deflect blame for an embarrassing incident she instigated against her arch nemesis, Winnie Davis. Colin, now a successful writer, resides in her former estate. With no one willing to give her a job, she's stuck working as Colin's maid (which makes for some of the most humorous passages in the novel, particularly when she calls him a prissy Brit and questions his sexuality), and in a turn of events, it's Winnie who is the belle of the town. While Colin entertains revenge fantasies as payback, she disappoints him by rising above it all and swallowing her pride, thereby taking the joy from him. Colin finds himself smitten with this new Sugar Beth, and her former home town finally realizes that she actually may have grown up and deserves to be forgiven for her past sins.

SEP cannot be beaten in creating endearing, flawed, and charismatic characters. Her realistic dialogue and gift for plotting make her a standout among her peers. She left the comfort zone of her Chicago Stars series, and yet has created endearing characters that for the most part, you'd want to know. I never expected to like this book as much as I did, which makes it all the more refreshing. I found it to be captivating and was glued to the final page.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has great female characters--especially Sugar Beth, Winnie, and Gigi--and a wonderful sense of community. Top that off with a trademark SEP romance and it's just flat-out fun. She gets extra points with me for trying a very different kind of heroine and pulling it off beautifully. Susan truly is the queen of romantic comedy.
(Note: I posted a review of this two weeks ago and it still hasn't appeared so I'm trying it again. If two reviews from me show up, it's not because I'm padding Susan's rating, it's because the other one wandered around in the ether for awhile, although this book is worth ten stars, so it's all good.)
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