Since Rubyfruit Jungle, her debut novel in 1974, the prolific Rita Mae Brown has written 13 novels, numerous anthropomorphic mysteries, five nonfiction titles, three poetry collections and a novella. Cakewalk marks her delightful return to her charming Runnymede series featuring the boisterous, feisty and ever-battling Hunsenmeir sisters, Louise and Julia (aka Wheezie and Juts). The Runnymede novels don't need to be read in any specific order because they were not written in chronological order. The duo was introduced in Six of One, a 1978 novel that spanned eight decades and included a bevy of characters living in Runnymede, a city straddling Maryland and Pennsylvania on the Mason-Dixon line. The sisters returned as octogenarians in Bingo, and Loose Lips was set in 1941 when the sisters were in their 30s. The novella The Sand Castle is set during a single day in 1952.

Cakewalk spans six months in 1920, when Wheezie and Juts are teenagers and their mother, Cora, works as a housekeeper for the town's beautiful and aristocratic lesbian Celeste Chalfonte. Although Brown warns, "This is not a plot-driven book," readers will have no complaints with the fast-paced action of bed-hopping as Celeste's longtime lover Ramelle becomes pregnant and decides to marry the father--Celeste's brother, Curtis. An agreeable arrangement is met after a couple more lovers are added to the mix.

Cakewalk is both nostalgic and outrageous; a feel-good novel told by an expert storyteller who delights in creating colorful and quirky characters and subverting readers' expectations. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

Powered by: Xtenit