Written by Laurie Rothrock Dick
Set in the small, Southern town of Simpsonville, Alabama in the 1950s, Secrets of the Ladies Mission Society, will appeal to lovers of The Help and Fried Green Tomatoes. When the town doctor, Lester Seabrook, passes away, many in the community mourn but none pay much attention to his grieving widow, Adie. The ladies in town have never invited her into their close circle despite the fact that she stood by their beloved doctor’s side as his nurse for decades, seeing them each through many joys and heartaches. As a poor farm girl, Adie snagged up one of the most eligible bachelors in their small town, and the ladies have never forgotten it. But when word gets out that Miss Adie is writing a book about the history of the town and its people, members of the local Ladies Mission Society begin clutching their pearls. Determined to find out what exactly Adie plans to include in her book, the ladies begin to descend on her home with their most-prized casseroles and cakes. Miss Adie’s caretaker, Eula, escorts each of the ladies to Miss Adie’s bedside and then fills their refrigerator with the guests’ offerings, (while the women try to peak in kitchen to see who has already visited based on their signature dishes.) Determined to keep their secrets safe, the ladies each assess Adie’s health and question whether she will expose their secrets as revenge for never being invited into the Ladies Mission Society. On a good day, Adie recognizes each woman and makes round-about acknowledgements regarding their pasts. On a bad day, she simply looks out the window at the barren land that was once her and Doc’s thriving garden. While each woman relives their darkest secrets, they come to their own realizations after their visits. They know that if not for the prospect of a published account of their buried secret, they never would not have faced their pasts and continued to carry their burdens alone. As each of the women’s stories of abuse, teen pregnancy, affairs, and suicide unravel, so does their perception of Adie, and in turn others in their close circle and community. They learn that they can change their own and the town’s future and unite in an effort to show Adie Doc’s love as well as respect Doc’s wishes for the future. This southern story touches on the darkest secrets in every community but focuses on the love and forgiveness that makes it thrive.
Laurie Rothrock Dick is a former magazine editor, public relations/marketing manager, newspaper feature writer and copywriter. Secrets of the Ladies Mission Society is her first novel.