Lynn Emery's description of the lushness of the Louisiana Bayou, had me visualizing the moss hanging from the trees and smelling the sweet fragrances. The title Gotta Get Next To You is really two stories in one.
The main character Andrea Noble, a Clinical Nurse is returning home to become the Director of the local health clinic. Since she is a woman of color, and this after all is a small town in the deep south, she is surprised she has been offered the job. Then Andrea finds out she has received this position, because her mother Charlene had approached her father John Mandeville about giving his estranged daughter a chance. She has mixed emotions but she still accepts the position.
The second story is really what generates the essence of this story. Years ago, Charlene, a sixteen year old black girl finds herself deeply involved with the son of one of the riches families in Louisiana. The result of this liaison produced a broken heart, a rebellious spirit and a baby girl with mixed parentage, now 30 years later, Andrea is back home. She was raised mostly by her grandmother and has never been close to her mother. She wants her mother to grow up and settle down, so they can bond as Mother and daughter.
The clinic has been losing money and equipment is being ordered but never seen. John Mandeville, who owns about half of the town, has hired a private detective and has planted him as a worker in the clinic. All is going well, he is gathering information and building his case, until he meets the new Director, Andrea Noble. Andrea was one of his primary suspects, but Mr. Detective, LeRoyce Matthews, is falling for her. How can he do his job without jeopardizing Andrea's position at the clinic? He wants someone other than Andrea to be the fall guy, and as the case progresses, LeRoyce is no longer sure who the culprit is.
This was a pleaurable read that painted a vivid picture of Southern rules, Southern politics and Southern family power. It reminded me of how life shows little mercy as it forces you to live with the consequences of your decisions. I applaud Ms Emery's ability to share some real truths in a such a special and tender way.
Reviewed by aNN