Shaken and Stirred by Joan Opyr

I honestly had no idea what to expect from this book. It was picked by the members of the Mostly Lesfic group on Goodreads so, as one of the leaders of the group, I needed to read it. I’d never read any of Ms. Opyr’s work but we both belonged to a Yahoo! group for a long while where she was, and I assume still is, active and I mostly lurked so I was familiar with her. I had been curious about her books, mostly because I lived in Idaho for more than a decade and she lives there, but not enough to buy one. There are so many choices and so few dollars! You know what I’m saying. Right?

Shaken and Stirred isn’t your typical romance novel. This book, told from Poppy (short for Popeye) Koslowski’s point of view, is about dysfunctional families and lost chances. When Poppy is called home to Raleigh NC for her grandfather’s imminent death, she leaves Portland OR with her best friend, Abby. Once back to where she and Abby went to high school together, the reader is taken back and forth between the early 1980’s and what’s happening at present. We learn about Poppy’s parents, grandparents, and her small group of high school friends. The author’s voice and writing style is entertaining and engaging and I read the book in about a day. There aren’t many happy aspects to the tales that Poppy shares with us but there is a lot of humor. I laughed out loud several times but that humor didn’t take away from the seriousness of some of the scenes. Opyr has a way with telling a tale and I moved with her easily from one place to the next. I genuinely cared about the characters and often felt like I was right there with them, watching over Poppy’s shoulder.

I know at least one of my friends would cringe at the constant back and forth in time but, for the most part, this didn’t bother me. There was only one time, about two-thirds through that I felt a twinge of annoyance at going back in time again but I was quickly drawn back into the story.

Overall, I very much recommend this book.

Shaken and Stirred by Joan Opyr

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