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Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen    by Susan Gregg Gilmore order for
Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen
by Susan Gregg Gilmore
Order:  USA  Can
Three Rivers, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Catherine Grace Cline feels stuck in Ringgold, Georgia, where she doesn't want to be. It is the early 70's, and for Catherine the town is too small and too quiet. Everyone knows your business, right down to the colour of your underwear. She craves excitement and all a big city can offer. She spends her Saturday nights at the local Dairy Queen dreaming of the day she will turn eighteen and make the big move to Atlanta, one hundred miles North.

Catherine Grace is the daughter of a third generation Baptist minister. Her father is a well respected member of the community who leads his parishioners through the trials and tribulations of everyday life and death. Catherine lost her mother, Lena Mae, to a drowning accident, when she was only six years old. Catherine Grace and her younger sister Martha Ann, have been raised by their father but have always wondered why God would take a mother from her two young children.

Gloria Jean lives next door to the Clines and was best friend to Lena Mae. She has taken the girls under her guidance and is trying to be a good role model for them even though the talk around town says otherwise. A colourful character, she is the only exciting person Catherine Grace knows. Gloria Jean was married five times and is not ashamed of the fact. She is trying to help Catherine Grace make the transition from awkward teenager to young woman.

At eighteen Catherine Grace heads to Atlanta to persue a career in retail. She says goodbye to family and friends, and her current boyfriend. She soon makes new friends in the city and settles into a job at a large department store. She lives in an upscale neighbourhood of Atlanta and finally feels like she has accomplished something in her life. Fate has other plans for Catherine Grace however, and she is called home when a tragedy strikes. Soon a series of revelations shows Catherine Grace that nothing is as it seemed to be. She now has to rethink everything she was taught to believe and make the biggest decision of her life.

Looking For Salvation At The Dairy Queen is a very enjoyable read. It is a story of the South, filled with strong, quirky characters, that will leave you feeling they are your friends. A great debut novel for Gilmore.

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