Synopses & Reviews
In self-deprecating and hilarious fashion, Mud Season
chronicles Stimson’s transition from comfy suburb to rickety Vermont farmhouse. When she decides she wants to own and operate the old-fashioned village store in idyllic Dorset, pop. 2,036, one of the oldest continually operating country stores in the country, she learns the hard way that “improvements” are not always welcomed warmly by folks who like things just fine the way they’d always been. She dreams of patrons streaming in for fresh-made sandwiches and an old-timey candy counter, but she learns they’re boycotting the store. Why? “The bread,” they tell her, “you moved the bread from where it used to be.” Can the citified newcomer turn the tide of mistrust before she ruins the business altogether?
Follow the author to her wit’s end and back, through her full immersion into rural life — swapping high heels for muck boots; raising chickens and sheep; fighting off skunks, foxes, and bears; and making a few friends and allies in a tiny town steeped in history, local tradition, and that dyed-in-the-wool Vermont “character.”
"Stimson's predictable tale of uprooting to Vermont after an idyllic fall vacation has its fun moments, including 'choosing the cheese' and experiencing Mud Season, the time in early spring when 'the snow opens up the hard, bare ground beneath it,' but never enough of them to outweigh the plodding narrative. Initial visions of a picturesque small-town life are immediately sidetracked by the day-to-day of historic home renovations and management troubles at the 'Horrible Quaint Country Store' that Stimson and her husband decide to open. Natural descriptions provide moments of serenity: 'There seems to be a whole, separate world just below the snowy, melty surface.' Such instances, unfortunately, are often bogged down by repetitive footnoting. Stimson's story, which concludes with bankruptcy negotiations and a promise never to buy a store again, is fraught with anxiety and missteps. More than thirty appended pages of recipes, including three pet memoriam, supply cheerier resolutions than the story commands. Such additions detract from what would otherwise be a bittersweet story, making this book far more complicated, and less enjoyable, than it should be. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Anyone who has ever dreamed of leaving the city and taking their lives back to nature (and who hasn't?) will find much to contemplate in this warm and hilarious tale of rural misadventure and small town quirk, even if they have never chased a goat in a bathing suit or called 911 because there were cows in the road. Stimson's voice is endearing: both in its self deprecation and its rapture, as she sings an only slightly conflicted love song to Vermont." Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted
"Taking a plunge that wimpier sorts (i.e. most of us) only fantasize about, Ellen Stimson and her family packed up their house in St. Louis and threw themselves into a wildly different life in small-town Vermont. Armed with the passion — and haplessness — of wide-eyed newcomers they rescue goats and adopt chickens, do battle with skunks and bats and falling ice, and, most disastrously, buy a black hole of a general store. Through it all they manage to retain their love for their adopted home as well as one another....This is a tale to which all the cliché words absolutely apply: hilarious, heartwarming, rollicking, and, most of all, rich in the real stuff of life." Julia Reed, author of But Mama Always Put Vodka In Her Sangria!
After a getaway in gorgeous rural Vermont — its mountains ablaze in autumnal glory, its Main Streets quaint and welcoming — Ellen Stimson and her family make up their minds even before they get back to St. Louis: “We’re moving to Vermont!” The reality, they quickly learn, is not quite as glorious, often far too quaint, but, happily, worth all the trouble.
About the Author
Ellen Stimson lives in a beautiful old farmhouse nestled in a high valley in the mountains of Vermont with her wild pack of children, not-so-wild husband, and completely civilized group of chickens, sheep, dogs, and cats. She has a not-at-all-fashionable collection of muck boots. This is her first book.