Authors: Alice Wisler
Praise for Alice J. Wisler’s debut novel,
“Ms. Wisler balances small-town North Carolina, eccentric southern relatives, and barbecued chicken with the serene culture of Japan and Harrison Michaels’ Japanese cuisine and koi garden. Her graceful writing had me sighing and reading certain passages over again with pure delight.”
“You will come to love Nicole’s eclectic family and you will cheer her as she makes her very cautious discoveries. I look forward to more beautiful stories from this very talented writer!”
“Wisler paints her characters with sure, vivid brush stokes. We instantly recognize them even as we recognize their uniqueness. Wisler lets us believe that finding romance can be magical, if we only take the time to look and have the heart to experience that great adventure.”
My Romance Story
“Alice’s slow, Southern style, filled with Grandma Ducee’s Southern Truths, will carefully unwind the burial clothes that enshroud us and set us free…. Alice is an author to watch, and to fall in love with.”
A Peek at My Bookshelf
“The style of writing just pulls the reader in and connects you with the characters. This was a wonderful debut by Alice Wisler… I am looking forward to reading any future books by her.”
Books, Movies, and Chinese Food
is a truly wondrous book, funny and wistful and wise and brave at the same time. It’s full of tiny exquisite moments, marvelous descriptions and astute insights…. It’s a book about ties that bind and traditions that truly make a family. It’s a book about true beauty that sometimes lies deep within…. More than anything, it’s a book about love in its many incarnations.”
“In Wisler’s likable debut, a young woman is offered a chance to find romance and make peace with her past…. Faith fiction fans will appreciate the strong faith of Nicole’s influential grandmother, Ducee Dubois, who helps Nicole face her fears.”
“A worthy first novel with a Southern flair, this title addresses dealing with a painful childhood in a realistic way.”
“Alice is both a talented and gifted writer.”
—Eugene H. Peterson, author of
“… a fresh narrative that will be appreciated most by those who enjoy a story with characters real enough to be a neighbor next door, or your own family members.
breathes hope into our troubled world.”
—Nancy Leigh Harless, author of
is like eating a delicious Southern meal— well-balanced in tastes of family, love, and life.”
Books by Alice J. Wisler
How Sweet It Is
How Sweet It Is
Copyright © 2009
Alice J. Wisler
Cover design by Paul Higdon
Photography © Courtney Weittenhiller
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Wisler, Alice J.
How sweet it is / Alice J. Wisler.
ISBN 978-0-7642-0478-4 (pbk.)
1. North Carolina—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3623.I846 H69 2009
For all who wish to expand their horizons,
this is for you.
When one door of happiness closes, another opens;
but often we look so long at the closed door that
we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
Jonas’s Favorite White Velvet Cake
hen single people pack up to relocate, they often have a dog. With deliberate caution, they load cardboard boxes into the car, along with a few framed wall pictures, a blender, one or two trusty saucepans, and a tightly rolled sleeping bag. The dog jumps onto the passenger seat, the driver lowers the window a few inches, and as the car slowly backs out of the driveway, the canine shoves his twitching nose over the glass. When the car picks up speed, the wind ruffles the dog’s fur and he opens his mouth as if to lap up the fresh air with his tongue. This animal is as carefree as the day he was born. All he has to do is tilt his head, breathe deeply, and enjoy the ride. No tedious job of consulting the creased road map. No watching road signs. No making conversation. He didn’t earn the title “man’s best friend” due to any special skills in flattery.
I, however, do not have a dog. I’m allergic to dog fur and men who break hearts. I do own a blender—all chefs should, according to Chef Santiago Bordeaux. Chef B claims that a blender is the most versatile cooking apparatus. “Cooking apparatus” is what he calls any kitchen device, including a saucepan. My KitchenAid blender is packed in a box along with my cake-decorating supplies—all carefully wrapped in T-shirts to protect them during the trip.
Today I’m leaving Atlanta and all the cooking apparatuses I have grown to love in the kitchen at Palacio del Rey. I’m headed to the green area on the map, right there in the fold—the mountains of North Carolina. But I’m still a Georgia girl, born and bred.
As I carry a box of faded dish towels topped with oven mitts to my Jeep, my Peruvian neighbor, Yolanda, dabs at her glistening brown eyes and reminds me, “You are Georgia girl, Deena. What will you do in Carolina?” To herself she mutters, “No, no sabe. Ay, ay.”
I’ve been over this with her before. I’ve already told her the same thing I told my parents who live in Tifton, my pastor at First Decatur Presbyterian, and my boss, Chef Bordeaux: “I’m going to live.”
“What do you mean?” they have all asked in some form or another. When he questioned me, Chef B had a ladle in his fist that he waved wildly, as though he wanted to use it to knock some sense into my head.
I’ve replied, “I’m going to live. I’m going to North Carolina to live!” I wanted to tell them that just because it’s called North Carolina doesn’t mean it’s a Yankee state. Some consider it as southern as Georgia. I’ve even seen North Carolinians drink sweet tea.
I’m going to live. That’s all.
Chef B placed his ladle on the counter next to the restaurant’s stove as the large pot of French onion soup simmered on the front burner. A puzzled expression came over his face. Not since his asparagus soufflé fell the previous October had I seen him so bewildered. He said, “And you tell to me, why can’t you live here?”
I almost died here, I thought. But that’s not something I would say out loud to anyone. People don’t like to talk about death. If you want to see how quickly a person can change the subject, just bring up the topic of death.
I’ve no idea what life will be like for me in North Carolina. All I know is I’m ready to say good-bye to Atlanta.
Say good-bye to Atlanta
—that sounds like a line from a country song. I consider singing as I wave one last time to Yolanda, who is now biting her lower lip and shaking her head in a way that makes her long ponytail swing like a beagle’s tail. However, everyone knows I can’t carry a tune in a double-boiler. And I think in order to be a true country singer, there is one important criterion: You have to own a dog.