5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Literary Fiction, Nick Wilgus, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Shaking the Sugar Tree by Nick Wilgus – Narrated by Wayne Messmer

Title: Shaking the Sugar Tree

Author: Nick Wilgus

Narrator:: Wayne Messmer

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 hours, 52 minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Wise-cracking Wiley Cantrell is loud and roaringly outrageous—and he needs to be to keep his deeply religious neighbors and family in the Deep South at bay. A failed writer on food stamps, Wiley works a minimum wage job and barely manages to keep himself and his deaf son, Noah, more than a stone’s throw away from Dumpster-diving.

Noah was a meth baby and has the birth defects to prove it. He sees how lonely his father is and tries to help him find a boyfriend while Wiley struggles to help Noah have a relationship with his incarcerated mother, who believes the best way to feed a child is with a slingshot. No wonder Noah becomes Wiley’s biggest supporter when Boston nurse Jackson Ledbetter walks past Wiley’s cash register and sets his sugar tree on fire.

Jackson falls like a wet mule wearing concrete boots for Wiley’s sense of humor. And while Wiley represents much of the best of the South, Jackson is hiding a secret that could threaten this new family in the making.

When North meets South, the cultural misunderstandings are many, but so are the laughs, and the tears, but, as they say down in Dixie, it’s all good.


Review: I have to give thanks to my friend Tina for writing such an awesome review of Shaking the Sugar Tree. If it hadn’t been for her review, I would have missed out on a damn good story! I tried to read and listen to both versions of the book but found that I really enjoyed the audible version more, thanks to the talents and voice of Wayne Messmer. Wiley, with his southern accent, became more real as a person than what my imagination could have come up with. I felt Wiley’s strength and insecurities as his POV was interpreted by Mr. Messmer. His entire performance was outstanding, and it was nice to find out this guy could sing too!

As for Noah, I fell instantly in love with this child. I was impressed by Wiley’s parenting skills and that he managed all the problems he had with Noah, that he was able to bring out this child’s strengths instead of his weaknesses. It broke my heart that Noah’s mother missed out on raising her wonderful child, but, then again, I know Noah ended up with the best parent because there are just some people who are not cut out for the job of parenting, and I’ve learned not to judge a person who walks out on their child. Sometimes it’s for the best, especially if that parent is toxic.

There was one part in the story I felt a little uncomfortable with—it happened when Wiley and Jackson went skinny dipping while camping—something I wouldn’t have minded so much were it not for the fact that Noah joined in the fun. I guess I’m an old fuddy duddy when it comes to exposing children to stranger’s genitals, even if it was all innocent fun. But that’s just me and my opinion. There were also a few other situations that raised my eyebrows, such as the one with Juan. Wiley, you dirty dog, you!

I’ve known a few curmudgeons in my time, and I don’t think it’s all a Southern thing, so Papaw hasn’t cornered the market on trying to rile a person with his shock talk! There are just some people who make life more interesting, and I love it when I see someone able to dish back what these feisty ones dish out. Very funny!

Shaking the Sugar Tree is a great story to listen to, guaranteed to bring out opinions and emotions. It’s more than just a romance, though. It’s about the unconditional love a parent feels for his child, very different from the romances I usually read or listen too. This book is very well written, and the sexual content is more innuendo than graphic.
I’m giving the audible version of Shaking the Sugar Tree a high 5 Star rating and a highly recommended listen.

You can buy Shaking the Sugar Tree here:


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