The Goddess of Fried Okra

The Goddess of Fried Okra

by Jean Brashear

Hardcover(Library Binding - Large Print Edition)

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Grief. Hope. Love. Sword fights. And the crisp glory of fried okra.

Ex-cocktail waitress and "convenience story professional" Eudora "Pea" O'Brien is filled with grief and regret, low on cash and all alone. Headed down the hot, dusty back roads of central Texas, Pea is convinced she'll find a sign leading her to the reincarnated soul of the sister who raised her. A sign that she's found her place in the world of the living again.

At least that's what the psychic promised.

In an unforgettably funny and poignant journey, Pea collects an unlikely family of strays-a starving kitten, a pregnant teenager, a sexy con man trying to go straight, and a ferocious gun dealer named Glory, who introduces Pea to the amazing, sword-wielding warrior goddesses of Texas author Robert E. Howard-creator of the Conan the Barbarian novels-and celebrated in festival every year. Six foot tall, red-headed Pea looks good with a sword in her hand.

Glory, the goddesses, and a grandmotherly café owner become Pea's unlikely gurus as she struggles to learn swordplay and the art of perfect fried okra. She'll have to master both if she's going to find what matters most-her own lost soul.

"Jean Brashear writes with warmth and emotion truth. The depth of her understanding of human nature marks her as a writer to watch, a writer to read and a writer to enjoy." --Debbie Macomber, #1 NY Times Bestselling Author

"THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA is a fabulous read. Riveting. Original.
Those characters grabbed my imagination and didn't let go." --Cathy Maxwell, NY Times Bestselling Author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611730142
Publisher: Center Point Large Print
Publication date: 03/28/2011
Edition description: Large Print Edition
Pages: 381
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.30(d)

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The Goddess Of Fried Okra 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
1967agoodyear More than 1 year ago
Brashear had me at the title. Every southern girl worth her grits should know how to cook or at least appreciate fried okra and there is probably a pageant somewhere that crowns an okra queen. But, ah to be a goddess moves us into a different realm. Although Pea put me off a little as she started her journey (a little too frantic in the exit), once this convenience store professional was in her familiar territory (in the cooler to be exact), I was on the trip with her. For what most will consider a light novel, I found the characters at the same time familiar, unique, and flawed in endearing ways. Although Pea did not make it far in miles, she traveled a lifetime and I, for one, found the closure at the end of the story very full circle and satisfying. It made me shut the book for a few minutes and think "what would I do?" and that to me is a book worth not only keeping but passing on. (I have already mailed two copies to old friends.)
JowellaC More than 1 year ago
I saw this review "Eudora Welty meets Sue Monk Kidd and they lunch with Fannie Flagg" ( and I couldn't agree more! The book is charming, funny and very touching. Pea O'Brien is a character you will never forget, and her band of misfits kept me up all night reading. I had to be sure Pea was okay. This book is going on my keeper shelf, and I'm telling everyone about it!
tloeffler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I started this book, I was sure that I wasn't going to like it. The first chapter made it sound like some crazy Southern girl was going to be chasing around, looking for the reincarnation of her sister.It got better.Eudora ("Pea") O'Brien sets off in her eleven year-old Toyota with her total stake of $607.83, heading across Texas towards New Mexico, where she believes her sister will show up. Along the way, she picks up a kitten, an abused and pregnant teenager, and a con man. Then the car breaks down just outside of Jewel, Texas, and the motley crew is forced to stay a while to work off the car repairs. But instead of getting all sappy, the rest of the story is mostly believable, and what isn't makes you want to believe it anyway. Each chapter begins with the text from a Texas road marker, which is fun. I enjoyed the way most of the characters matured, relationships were built slowly enough to make sense, and all of the stupid things the characters did were things I could see myself doing. This book would be great brain candy if you're looking for something about two steps above "chick lit." It worked for me!
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How I enjoyed watching Eudora find a new family in midst of her grief for the death of her sister. Like so many of us, she has an idea in her mind of what she needs to come to terms with her loss, but the solution comes in a very different form and it takes awhile for her to recognize. I loved the recurring images of strong women that Eudora recalls as she deals with difficult situations - and that in the end she recognizes herself as one of those strong women. I liked Eudora and was sad when her story came to a close.
tanya2009 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I won this book on librarything. Pea O'Brien starts her quest to find her sister and finds herself. She is a wacky and whimsical portrait of a woman who wants what most women want. To feel powerful amid powerlessness, to care for, and to be cared for. She has quite an adventure along the way.
erinclark on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reiewers program, and I'm so glad I did.A couple of my favorite authors for Southern Lit are Fannie Flagg and Billie Letts, and I am now happy to add a third - Jean Brashear. I truly enjoyed this story of Pea (Eudora) striking out on her own in search of the soul of her reincarnated sister, but of course finding much more than that along the way. It's a funny, touching tale of a young woman afraid to put down roots for fear of being hurt again and how she overcomes this fear with the love of friends and a new 'family' that she collects on her travels. I just love the authors sense of humor and the way she can turn a simple sentence into something that makes me laugh out loud. I really, really enjoyed this book and I can honestly give it a two thumbs up. Highly recommended.
sgcallaway1994 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Sometimes you just have to take the leap and see where the road leads." Summary: After the death of Eudora "Sweet Pea's" older sister, she is left feeling guilty, empty and lost. Her mother died when she was eight. She calls her father "Casper" for good reason. So, without any living family remaining in her life, longing for something more "Pea" sells everything, quits her job and decides to go searching for her sister who held a strong belief in reincarnation. Absent any real plan, "Pea" sets out alone, in a beat up old car all with only her last meager paycheck to live off, to travel across the state of Texas. In no time at all, she finds her car full of more than just her personal belongings, but when the old beater breaks down in the middle of the rural town of Jewel, Texas she's faced with some unexpected challenges. Slowly, its becoming evident there is a whole lot more here to "fix" than just her car.Insight: The story takes place mostly in the small town of Jewel, Texas. Using Texas Roadside Markers at the beginning of most chapters, the author ties them neatly to Eudora's journey. The heroine of the novel, Eudora or "Pea" as she was affectionately nicknamed by her older sister, is a very likable character with a kind heart. She holds the desire to help out whoever/whatever she comes in contact with: con-men, estranged sisters and even a pregnant "Goth" teenager. As "Pea" is taught how to manage a local cafe to earn money for the car repairs, she ultimately learns a whole lot more than just "home" cooking. The novel explores the strength/power of womanhood, family and the sense of belonging. Recommendation: I recommend this book to predominately female readers who enjoy "chick lit". Its a novel about women, friendships and finding courage to stand on your own. Young adults or children would not appreciate the mature themes this book explores. The story is a journey, as it unfolds it takes the reader on a quite a ride, so if your in the mood to be entertained do give it a try.
dulcibelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It reminds me some of Fannie Flagg's novels (Fried Green Tomatoes, et al.) It follows Pea (real name - Eudora) as she recovers from her sister's death. She feels guilty, but why isn't revealed until later in the book. She's running across Texas when her car breaks down in a small town. The rest of the book is about how she finds what she's looking for. The author uses real historical markers from the back roads of Texas to head each chapter - an interesting trait that adds to the sense of place.
jsprenger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book that will captivate you from the start. Pea's journey begins with a quest to find her reincarnated sister, and along the way she picks up a kitten,a pregnant teen and a con-artist. In each chapter, this wayward group becomes more connected, and ultimately forms a family. The antics of these wacky,quirky characters will have you laughing out loud! It's a great summer read.
BONS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Every life has signposts. Every traveler has a history. Sometimes a detour is the only way home."That's the line that got my attention that I might like this book. I read southern stories a good bit. I read time travel and stories on reincarnation. This book I just did not enjoy. The bad southern stero-type was all here. Pea doesn't know her daddy, he's ran off. Momma ran from boyfriend to boyfriend and from place to place escaping bill collectors, dragging along 2 daighters. Words like no-good daddy, mojo and government check had me second guessing this book and that was the first 2 pages. Then Pea, a young woman, thinks her sister might be coming back as a baby or a kitten. So as she starts her trip in her junker that might or might not have A/C, (singing Tanya Tucker) the first thing she picks up is a homeless kitten and a stops a guy from beating up his pregnant girlfriend at a truck stop no less, and takes the pregnant teen with her. That unborn baby might be her dead sister if the kitten isn't! Then she drives over a hustler, but luckily he doesn't get hurt. So they stay in a cheap hotel, Pea accidently shows her nude, wet body to the hustler, and they are on the road again until the pregnant teens decides she wants a gun. The crazy old lady who owns and happens to live behind the pawn shop is a sword fighter and owns a couple junk yard dogs. Can the story make the South sound any worse or could Pea's trip get any stranger? Well yes, keep reading.The story was just not interesting to me on any level.
irishiz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as a Librarything Early Reviewer; not sure if I would have tried it otherwise. The story of a woman "lost" because she has no family and is trying to get over the death of her sister and the circumstances surrounding her death. Premise is fine but the book didn't really grab me. The reincarnation theme was a little too constant and therefore distracting. The story got better when Eudora ("Pea") gets stuck in a small town waiting for her car to be repaired. There she finds the people and the strength to rebuild her life and form her own new, untraditional "family."
Jennisis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this book - I mean, what has better promise for a story than a kitten and a broadsword? The premise is intriguing, but the characters are hard to know. The heroine comes across as puerile, naive, obsessed and directionless. She does eventually find direction, and she overcomes some of her helplessness, but by the time she does, it is too late. She is certain that her sister's spirit will be reborn, and she is on a search for her - convinced that she is either a kitten or the unborn child of an abused teen. Valentine, a con man, really has no personality and has a predictable part to play in the story as a bad-boy-gone-straight. The later characters of the married couple that live together but don't speak and the broadsword-wielding gun shop owner are amusing caricatures, but too oddball to feel real. The chapter headings are all Texas historical markers, which is an interesting addition to the story, and I wonder if they are actual markers or just fabricated to help set the scene. The author had a great plot idea, but for me, the execution of the story just fell short. It felt a little like a Stephanie Plum novel without the mystery, the steamy love triangle or the hamster.I received a free review copy of this book from
thewalkinggirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm really not into chick-lit and the down-home, folksy narration this uses should make me really cranky, but every time I started to put this down and walk away I'd think "just a few more pages" until ... a few hours later I found myself at the end. Despite the fact that this is something I think I shouldn't have enjoyed at all, I found myself laughing and crying as I watched Eudora, aka Pea, leave Austin on her quest to find her sister's reincarnated self somewhere in Taos and get sidetracked by the menagerie of people she decides to rescue along the way. It's not so much a story of redemption as it is a story of dealing with grief and (self) forgiveness. I received a digital ARC of this through NetGalley.
ekoch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hard times and sorrow are overcome by the courage of Eudora (aka "Pea"); as she embarks on a roadtrip through Texas. She adopts a stray cat, a pregnant teenager and a con-artist on her journey as she searches for the reincarnated soul of her deceased sister. She learns to fry okra, sword fight like an Amazon warrior woman, and to love and be loved by the family she quilts together on her journey. The characters are quirky, eccentric and engaging. Great book for a summer beach read.
tammathau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really didn't know if I would like this book. But I have to say I really enjoyed it! Eudora is on a quest to find her reincarnated sister. Along the way, she picks up a young pregnant woman and a con man. They end up stranded in a small Texas town. Great story about losing a loved one, dealing with grief and moving on.
mojomomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as a Librarything Early Reviewer--probably wouldn't have tried it otherwise. This title reminds me of a Billie Letts novel--a woman down on her luck finds herself in a small Texas town where she builds her family from the people around her and just happens to find love and a grand purpose for her life. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this, but it is a bit light-weight and predictable--"chick lit" all the way. If you love chick lit, you'll love this book.
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Susanwords More than 1 year ago
This book is a mish mash of oddball ideas, unexpected characters, and historical road markers that somehow works. That a 32 year old woman with only six hundred bucks in her pocket should take off for New Mexico in search of her dead sister's reincarnated soul (here we are at oddball) is whacky enough. But then she takes up first with a stray kitten, then a pregnant teenager and finally a con man named Valentine (a few of the unexpected characters). Feeling somehow responsible for all three, Eudora"Pea" O'Brien, hauls them along with her (making regular stops to read markers) without a clue about how they might impact her journey - or her finances. But thank God (or the goddess) for the cranky old car she's driving. The poor thing breaks down just outside of Jewel, Texas, where more oddities, secrets, unexpected characters, and fried okra await this motley crew. I did enjoy the read but there are a couple of things I'm not quite sure I liked. One was the abrupt introduction of Valentine, in third person (with the rest of the book in first), and though brief, it kind of put a kink in the smooth reading of the story. The author does it again when this character departs Jewel for a while, then returns, again abruptly, at the wrap up. In addition, the goddess idea wastn't quite fleshed out especially since the fried okra angle was not a big part of the story. Be that as it may, I gobbled up the book and I think you will, too.
AndreasAttic More than 1 year ago
This is a delightful and heart warming story about a woman's journey from grief to hope. Pea O'Brien is an unlikely heroine, searching for her place in the world -- and for the sister she's lost. We like her, empathize with her grief, and wish her well as she gathers a group of lost souls -- heals them, heals herself, and creates a new family from strangers. Absolutely delightful!
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Years on the road with Mama and Sister running away from bill collectors led to six foot red haired Eudora "Pea" O'Brien swearing she would settle down in one place to root and die. When Mama died, Sister was sixteen and Pea eight. Sister ran off social services do-gooders and used her glaring mojo to send away her no good father Alvin. Instead she raised Pea. Now over two decades since mama died, Sister is dead too. Pea is filled with remorse with how she treated her Sister who sacrificed so much for her. She wants to tell her she is sorry and appreciative. Like Sister, Pea believes in reincarnation, but to reconnect she must find Sister's new host body. Pea begins a Texas Odyssey seeking the signs of Sister. Her trek with no money leads to other outsiders joining her quest as they seek to belong too. Soon she finds herself mentored in sword fighting by a reincarnation of Howard's Red Sonja and in the most critical element of southern living, creating fried okra fit for the Goddesses; while also raising a child as Pea has found the glory of a family. This is an intriguing character study that focuses on Pea who learns what life is all about with the death of beloved Sister and her Dorothy on the road to Oz trek as she picks up caring misfits in need. None of the support cast is fully developed as their sole purpose is support of Pea. Fans who enjoy a leisurely paced Texas Odyssey will want to accompany Pea and her companions as they journey in real terms just a few miles but metaphorically light-years. Harriet Klausner