Release date: August 21, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Set in modern day Oxford, Mississippi, on the Ole Miss campus, bestselling author Lisa Patton’s RUSH is a story about women—from both ends of the social ladder—discovering their voices, courage and empowerment.
When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid—no matter what.
Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.
For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl—as her “babies” like to call her—has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta—and maybe the entire Greek system—forever.
Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all.
I was never in a sorority but Greek life has always fascinated me so when I read the description of Rush I was all in. It had the added bonus of being set in the South and I’m a sucker for southern fiction as well and this one was oozing good old fashioned southern charm with a side of, oh bless her heart sass. It was witty, fun and I felt like I got a secret look behind the scenes of sorority life.
There are three points of view here, Miss Pearl the longtime housekeeper at Alpha Delt, Wilda who’s daughter Ellie is rushing for the first time as a freshman and then Cali another hopeful freshman who becomes fast friends with Ellie. My favorite of the three was easily Miss Pearl though everyone was enjoyable and fun to hear from. Pearl just stole the show for me with her heart that’s bigger than Mississippi and her love and affection for all of the Alpha Delt girls, she was a true gem.
While this was a light and fun read it definitely still explored some important issues pertaining to race relations and old, outdated traditions that are really just a disguise for casual racism. The only people of color involved in the sorority are the staff with the exception of just one member and the antiquated rules are finally questioned and challenged. There was a quiet power to this book with some relevant themes that make you think and contemplate which I always appreciate, definitely some substance beside sweet southern charm.
Rush in three words: Charming, Topical and Fun.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.