Read The Tea-Olive Bird-Watching Society by Augusta Trobaugh Online


The women of a small town’s bird watching society secretly plan to “eliminate” the husband of one of their members in this new novel—a modern spin on the classic film Arsenic and Old Lace—written by the beloved author of Sophie and the Rising Sun. In a story replete with coconut cake, grits, and poisoned turtle stew, it’s easy to see why Augusta Trobaugh has been heraldedThe women of a small town’s bird watching society secretly plan to “eliminate” the husband of one of their members in this new novel—a modern spin on the classic film Arsenic and Old Lace—written by the beloved author of Sophie and the Rising Sun. In a story replete with coconut cake, grits, and poisoned turtle stew, it’s easy to see why Augusta Trobaugh has been heralded as having “a voice from and for the South, as complex and resonant as the region itself”(Anne Rivers Siddons). With her latest novel, Trobaugh displays that distinctly Southern charm and beckons new readers to her work. Founding members of the Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society in tiny Tea-Olive, Georgia, are Beulah, Sweet, Wildwood, and Zion, each named after a hymn. Pillars of the community, seemingly beyond reproach, two of these ladies are nonetheless conspiring to murder retired Judge L. Hyson Breed, a newcomer to Tea-Olive. It all begins when the judge tricks Sweet into marriage, steals her land for a development project, and sweet- talks his way right onto the town council. By the time Beulah and Zion discover his evil plans—and realize that Sweet has endured personal harm, with more to come—the judge is already a permanent fixture in town. Or is he? When Beulah and Zion attempt to do away with the judge—while always remaining unfailingly polite—the novel takes a wild turn. The result is a delightful black comedy from a novelist at the peak of her powers....

Title : The Tea-Olive Bird-Watching Society
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780525948797
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Tea-Olive Bird-Watching Society Reviews

  •  Olivermagnus
    2019-05-27 03:19

    I thought this was a charming little story. Sort of a combination of Golden Girls meet Agatha Christie, combined with elements of Arsenic and Old Lace. The main characters of the story are Beulah, Sweet, Wildwood and Zion, four genteel southern ladies in Tea-Olive, Georgia who attend church together and like to go birdwatching. Their old friend Love-Divine has died and left them a parcel of land for their bird watching activities. She's also left money to the local library and the Homework Helpers Group that helps local kids with their school work. The only caveat is, if the club breaks up, the town obtains the land to do what they want with it.We learn how the ladies met, meet their families, and hear about their careers. None have children and a couple have never been married. They follow traditions where every girl is named for a church hymn, and they love their small town lives in Tea-Olive. Soon, retired New York Judge Hyson Breed moves to Tea-Olive where he courts Sweet. They marry and he immediately gains control of her family estate, which he plans to develop. In just a short time Hyson isolates Sweet from her friends. Beulah and Zion worry about Sweet and when they sneak over to see her they notice bruises and other signs of abuse. Once they realize Hyson is planning to exploit the town they decide the only way to save Tea-Olive and Sweet would be his death. This book was witty and well written. The events and location of the story were interesting, and I loved the way it showed the ladies' friendship. The ending was really wonderful. It's not a story for anyone wanting a complex plot but is more of a cozy type of novel.

  • Judy
    2019-06-12 03:16

    I couldn't finish it -- just skimmed the last third or so! It had some promise, but the villain was a cardboard cartoon, and therefore the entire novel suffered. I suppose it was supposed to be an ultimately "feel good" read -- after all, good triumphs over evil! But getting there was a drag. There wasn't enough humor to make it feel like "Arsenic and Old Lace" (a wonderful romp!), nor enough drama to make it a good suspense novel. Just maddening fluff. And ultimately, a waste of good reading time! Too bad. The setting -- small southern town -- was good. But not enough detail on the female characters, who could have been interesting!

  • Emma
    2019-06-07 04:53

    I don't necessarily think is this is a bad book, I'm just perhaps 50 years younger than the target audience. Also being from Australia, I couldn't quite relate to all the quirks and charms of life and people in the American South, though I do generally love reading books set in that area.

  • Shirley Schwartz
    2019-05-29 02:54

    This book was a fun little read and highlights the unique form of women's friendships in the south. The book was set in little Tea Olive Georgia and we meet some fun and whimsical ladies of the Tea Olive Bird Watching Society. These are women that grew up together, and whose ancestors settled and farmed in the area around Tea Olive. They are all busy with volunteer work, board meetings and of course bird watching. Then a new man arrives in town, and a retired judge from the north no less. The whole community is all in a twitter. Then they begin to realize that this judge doesn't necessarily have their best interests at heart and has his own hidden agenda. When one of the club's ladies marries the judge, it brings all the troubles ever closer. Reading as these ladies plan ways to help their friend is hilarious. This author does a good job of character development, and the setting is portrayed realaistically too. Lots of fun and quite delightful.

  • Pam
    2019-06-07 00:59

    The story was about a group of southern women in a small town called Tea-Olive. Sweet, one of the women in the group, falls for an ex judge who moved from New York to Tea-Olive. There is something really wrong about him and Sweet doesn't see it until she marries him and is abused. Her friends plan ways to do away with him. The plots are funny and the characters are really characters. It's a good book but nothing spectacular. It was a pleasant change and I would recommend it if you need something light.

  • Barbara
    2019-06-10 00:18

    Something off about this book, not just the fact that two older women are trying to bump off the new abusive and controlling husband of their childhood friend. I can't really put my finger on what seems off though. I keep wondering what interested me in this book originally and why I kept reading it. I think there were elements of cliche characters but that wasn't entirely what seemed to be throwing me off. The story was okay. I didn't ultimately dislike it - is just couldn't embrace it.

  • Kathy
    2019-06-12 06:09

    If this was not a Book Club selection for October....I would have stopped reading after the first chapter. I am being a snob when I say that this book is written for readers who like something "simple" and not complex. Trying to be kind..... Even the bad books offer something for discussion. I believe that this one will lead to discussions of victims of domestic abuse. All will discuss friendships. How do we assist a friend who is clearly being abused?

  • Carol Kean
    2019-06-08 06:18

    We know from the cover blurb that two ladies plot the murder of their friend's abusive husband. We don't know if they'll succeed, and that's what kept me turning pages to the end. Lots of humor, horror and heart-wrenching good intentions here. The law-abiding citizen in me wishes the ladies would find legal ways to get their friend out of her unfortunate marriage, but the realist in me knows that abused wives all too often feel escape is impossible. It staggers the imagination--we can't imagine an intelligent woman allowing herself to be owned and controlled by her husband, but it does happen, and libraries are full of psychology books explaining the how and why and what to do to break the cycle of abuse. All too often, it seems death is the only thing that will stop an abuser, but how does an ordinary citizen, "my word against his," gather evidence to get a man arrested, tried and sentenced? It's a good thing capital punishment is administered only by the courts, or too many people would be killed by spouses, family members and neighbors. Then again, when evil men know how to elude the legal system, vigilante justice is the only way to stop them. But.... can two church-going, respectable, small town ladies get away with murder? Can they even accomplish murder in the first place?Some of the situations in this novel struck me as contrived or cliche - e.g., the obvious awfulness of a man who'd cut funds to libraries and children - what a villain! Crucify him! Kill him! Somehow, this aspect of the plot left me wanting to drop the rating to two stars. Then again, such men do exist in real life. They're the kind who see a turtle crossing the road and swerve, not to avoid hitting it, but to crush it. (Just saw this in today's news.) So the judge who kills a bird in front of a bird-watcher is all too believable. Most animal lovers would feel driven to murder such a man on the spot. Wanting to kill is one thing, but actually plotting to kill is a an act of human will that would make this novel a great choice for book club discussions. It sounds awful for two elderly women to judge and condemn a man without fair trial and a jury. If they could get away with this in real life, it's horrifying to imagine how many people might end up dead at the hands of judgmental neighbors. BUT - the way this novel is written, we share their outrage and see the urgency of stopping this man. I kept turning pages. Yes, the pace is slow, if you were expecting a thriller. This novel is more character driven, which to me can only be a good thing. The gradual build-up of evidence against the judge is logical. The flat tire on Sweet's car, the caged bird, the bull, the red robe - so many images are memorable and evocative, it hardly matters if other scenes seem a little contrived (such as Tobia giving a speech about the benefits of the after-school library program).I like this book so much, I bought a paper copy for my cousin in Arizona. I'm curious to see how she'll react. Raised in the Midwest, widowed at last from her own abusive husband, living like a recluse now in the desert, how will she like the Tea-Olive bird watchers? She'll either hate the book or love it. I'm as eager to learn her response to this novel as I was to reach the end of the novel.

  • Emily Crow
    2019-05-21 23:14

    In this one, several middle aged ladies in a small town in Georgia find their world shaken up when their friend dies. The founding member of their small "bird watching society," Love-Divine Brockett King's will bequeaths a small patch of woods to the society as a bird sanctuary, and the rest of her house and land is to be sold and the proceeds given in support of the public library. One of the bird ladies, Wildwood, is the town librarian.A retired judge from New York State soon buys their late friend's property, and charms his way onto several important town committees, as well as into the heart of another bird watcher, Sweet. (The women are all either widowed, divorced, or in Sweet's case, never married.) Her friends warn her against a whirlwind courtship, but in vain, for Sweet marries the judge almost immediately.Alas, he is a thoroughly evil man, having descended upon the town only to manipulate the residents for his own gain, like a carpetbagger from the days of yore. (The author does not come right out with the comparison, but it was hard not to think of it.) He weasels his way onto the town council and library board, trying to find ways to shut the library down, so Love-Divine's money will go to the town instead, where he can better shunt some of it off for himself.As if this weren't bad enough, he immediately begins to abuse Sweet and keep her caged in the house, threatening to get a restraining order when her friends try to visit. Really, this man was so dastardly, I pictured him like a silent movie villain, twirling his mustache. Or like Oil Can Harry from Mighty Mouse.Since no one will believe them and Sweet is too downtrodden to stand up for herself, two of the bird watchers, Beulah and Zion, decide that they have to take matters into their own hands, and begin plotting the judge's murder. Of course, it doesn't go right, and they have to keep plotting.I found the first two-thirds of the book to be rather entertaining. It was like going back in time forty years, where everyone is naive and proper, and neither cell phones nor the Internet have been invented. Actually, that part was a bit weird, since it seems to take place in the present day (more or less), and yet the women were always going to pay phones or having to get Wildwood, the librarian, to find common information for them. And I wasn't sure how old the ladies were supposed to be--in their 50s? 60s? Zion runs a dairy business single-handed, so they couldn't be that old, but in many ways, they acted like old ladies. But still, it was fun.And then... Why does this always happen? Is it my fault? Am I too picky for my own good? Because by the end, the story got pretty stupid. The judge began to act like a psychopath. Sweet went from being naive to being completely dumb and spineless.I know a book like this is just for fun. The characters are more caricatures than well-drawn personalities. It's not meant to be serious. And I'm OK with that. I want fun! Unfortunately, for me, towards the end the plot just fell apart.

  • Ronna
    2019-05-30 06:00

    Augusta Barough has deftly written about the 'proper' southern lady with a group of friends who live in Tea-Olive. Their oldest friend has died and left them a beautiful parcel of land for their bird watching activities. She's also left money to the local library and the 'Homework Helpers Group' that helps local kids with their school work.We learn how all the ladies met, their families make up, and their livelihoods. None have children, and a couple might be called 'spinsters', but they enjoy their lives together in Tea-Olive. They follow traditions---like every girl being named for a church hymn---and they thoroughly enjoy their small town lives. When a retired judge moves to town and too quickly woos one of their own into marriage, all 'hell' tries to break out. He's abusing their friend and seems to want to take over her property and turn their happy small town into a money making, larger city. The ladies are trying to do everything possible to save their friend from this evil man, but their good-hearted, Bible believing ways are getting in their way as they try to think of means to 'exterminate this vermin'. Imagination and some hilarity drive this story of real spousal abuse.I very much enjoyed the 'ladies of the town', and this author definitely knows spousal abuse, but the 'real' refusal of their friend to do anything to help herself, within a 'fun' type story did not necessarily make for a truly enjoyable book. It did have a very satisfying conclusion, but I would have preferred a more light hearted plot for these very interesting and enjoyable 'southern galls'!

  • C.C. Thomas
    2019-05-27 02:05

    This book had the feeling of "Aresenic and Old Lace"; therefore, I loved it! Who knew little old ladies from church were so mercenary and vengeful? The Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society is made up of four gentle Southern women who like to drink tea and watch birds. Whatever you do, do not fu$! with them. They will mess you up!The Society is made up of Zion, Wildwood, Beluah and Sweet, all named for Bible hymns and life-long friends. They have grown up together in Tea-Olive, GA, but they couldn't be more different. When Sweet marries for the first time at the age of 60+, the ladies are thrilled for her.....until her personality starts to change from 'sweet' to fearful. When Sweet's happiness and health are threatened, the others go into full-on Ninja mode. Beware when you mess with a Southern lady! Friends and family will eviscerate you. Usually, just figuratively. But, in this book, more literally. Beulah and Zion aren't going to just hand over Sweet without a fight to her new abusive husband. They come up with a plan to murder him. The plan in ingenious-and hilarious-and fails in such an epic way. But these ladies aren't quitters and they'll do whatever it takes to get their main--in a coffin!I really loved this book. It had moments of sweetness and sadness and just pure fun, both good-natured and the naughty kind. It was a rare book that transcends age and one I whole-heartedly recommended to my very Southern Baptist mother.

  • Pam
    2019-06-15 01:10

    08/24/05 #148TITLE/AUTHOR: The Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society by Augusta TrobaughRATING: 4.5/B+GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PAGES: Fiction, 2005, 228 PgsTIME/PLACE: Present (?)/Tea-Olive, GACHARACTERS: Sweet, Beaulah, Zion, Memphis, Wildwood --members of the birdwatching societyCOMMENTS: Another lovely story by Trobaugh. In the small town of Tea-Olive, the ladies w/ the names derived from hymns from the bible, are going about life after the death of their dear older friend Love-Divine. A retired judge moves to the area and Sweet sets her cap for him. His former occupation has the town fooled into thinking he is a respectable gentleman. Sweet & he marry and things take a turn for the worse. Sweet is basicallya prisoner of her new home and Beaulah and Zion do everything they can to help her.

  • Bobbye Hudspeth
    2019-06-16 23:55

    A very interesting read. A bit slow to start, but interesting all the way to the end. Characters are very well-written and very easy to relate to as the author intended. It is always a joy for me to read books that are set in my corner of the world, and these ladies live just a hop, skip and a jump away from my home. I have always wished to belong to just such a group as they have joined together. And if it were so, I would wish that all of the members could be as interesting and intriguing as the ladies of the Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society. PS: I'm very curious as to why so many covers are available for this book. All of them quite good, but I think there are 7 and that seems a bit unusual.

  • Cynthia Thomason
    2019-06-15 02:10

    When I started this book I found it totally refreshing. Having older heroines was delightful though I wasn't particularly taken with their names and how they came about. A little too "old southern religion" for me. But I adored the characters. And then the judge came into the mix and seemed to spoil the flow of the story. Miss Sweet became unrealistically timid. I can't imagine anyone with the support she had turning into such a doormat. And there were just too many tears! I kept wanting these gals to buck up and take charge and quit crying. Also didn't see anything redeeming about the judge at all. Yes, he was the villain, but most villains have a soft side that peeks out once in a while. But I would read more of this author's works, in fact, I think I have!

  • Connie
    2019-06-10 01:06

    I enjoyed this quick little book about Southern friendship and murder. Reviewed to be in the style of Arsenic and Old Lace, the book follows the lives of five ladies of a small Georgian town who have connections to the town's history and ancestoral lands. As a smooth talking, good looking Judge from New York moves into the area and sweeps one of the friends off her feet, turmoil begins as Beulah suspects that he is an abusive man with monetary motives for marrying and watches the honeymooners home with binoculars from the adjoining Birdwatching Society sanctuary. She and Zion conspire to rescue newly married Sweet from the Judge by murdering him.

  • Rosemarie Donzanti
    2019-06-06 22:10

    A simple, sweet story of the true love and respect often found between besties. It reminded me of Mayberry R.FD., Miss Helen, and Aunt Bee. Not a whole lot I could relate to as the perspectives were so 1950-ish, however it would be fun to discuss at a senior the older gals would find it saucy and adventurous. Looking forward to discussing at our book club retreat in Lake Geneva this weekend. Can't imagine the discussion will last longer than the first bottle of wine, however we are pairing it with the classic, Arsenic and Old Lace. As a note: I love my fellow bibliophiles, so their husbands better always behave...wink.

  • Carly Kirk
    2019-06-06 04:59

    This one was odd...This one was odd for me. I had just decided I wasn't going to finish it when I read that the ladies were about to start planning a murder for the good of one of their friends. Well, that got me interested again and so on I soldiered . Only the ladies weren't all that good at murder and the lady they were trying to help was beyond wimpy in standing up for herself. There was a great deal of wishy-washyness and then things just ended. Which left me feeling like what the crap? I definitely won't be reading anything else by this author... not something I'm used to saying

  • Joy
    2019-05-24 22:05

    The key to enjoying this book is to get through the first few chapters. They are basically the back-story for the main events in the book. The women in this book are all natives of Tea Olive, GA, a small farming community. The first few chapters introduces them and goes through a bit of their history. Then the real story begins. A retired judge moves to town and lures the residents into a false sense of security. He marries Sweet but soon it becomes apparent that he isn't at all what he seems. And it's up to Beluah and Zion to try to help their friend. I warn you, once the pace picks up, you won't be able to put the book down.

  • Sherri
    2019-06-11 02:53

    This was little hard to get into. I couldn't tell what era this took place in until subtle hints were dropped half way through and still couldn't tell if it was current day~It finally picked up into a mystery half way through. Little irritating that the "arsenic & old lace" concept was dragged out and just when I thinking enough already it moved onto soemthing else. There were typos that should not have made it through a good editing process.It leaves you with a strong impression of what does happen in the end though.

  • Elise
    2019-06-04 02:20

    Did he or didn't he...The Bird Watching Society (four Southern ladies, all named for hymns in the Baptist Hymnal) react in various ways to a retired judge who moves into Tea-Olive. He is very rich, very generous, very powerful; the town is smitten, as is Sweet, one of the four bird-watchers. Only Beulah and Zion are not, and as they discover that he has been abusing a hastily courted Sweet, they conspire to "exterminate" the judge. The book raises questions about the extent of friendship, of culpability, and leaves, at least in my mind, an open question: how did the judge die??

  • Judy
    2019-06-16 21:55

    This novel is full of genteel southern ladies of a certain age that you’d just love to meet. As we begin the story, one of their numbers is swept off her feet by the new man in town, a retired judge from up north. Before they realize what has happened, he had isolated her from her friends, and talked her into signing over some of her inherited land to him. And, although her friends know he is physically abusing her, no one will take their word over that of the distinguished judge. In desperation two of the members of the bird watching society begin plotting to get rid of the judge.

  • Katie
    2019-06-14 22:20

    I really enjoyed this book. It was a cute murder-mystery except that it wasn't so much of a mystery. The main plot line is that there is a small group of unmarried women in the small Georgia town of Tea-Olive. A judge from the North moves in and one woman immediately falls in love; however, he is an evil man taking advantage of her by marrying her and abusing her. Two of her friends decide that they need to get rid of the "vermin." This was a refreshing story of the power of friendship and it ends very happily.

  • Holly
    2019-05-26 22:09

    This is my third book written by Trobaugh and unfortunately my least favorite. There are some dark unexpected comedic moments when I laughed out loud and I really liked the idea of it but for some reason it just didn't flow like her other books. I didn't find as much beauty in her prose but I would still definitely recommend it. It is a statement of true friendship and makes you wonder how far you'd go to protect your own friends.

  • Claire
    2019-06-16 05:23

    I enjoyed this book, but I do feel that the story failed to deliver. The beginning wandered too deeply into descriptions of characters who hardly entered into the story. The main plot line was truly genius, but I think that it could have given more "oomph.". Still, I would recommend the book - but I would suggest that folks skim through the beginning until they get to the chapters about Sweet, Zion and Beulah's elementary school days.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-31 02:53

    People keep making comparisons to "Arsenic and Old Lace", "Steel Magnolias", and others. I just don't see it. The narrative style was unappealing (more tell than show), and the women-named-for-hymns gimmick seemed contrived. I discovered early on that I didn't really care one way or the other how the story turned out, but I am determined not to add any titles to my "Abandoned" shelf this year, so I pushed on.

  • Debra
    2019-06-10 23:13

    More of a 2.5 actually. I enjoyed it enough to see how others would like it more. There is some humor, friendship, and "southern charm" in this story of good friends trying to figure out how to help another friend married to a controlling abusive husband.But the first part is just excruciatingly slow.readjustment, the characters never developed, and just too long despite being only 200 some pages.

  • RebeccaS
    2019-05-26 04:19

    I did not like this one at all. The only reason I finished it was because it was short and a pretty fast read. The characters were shallow and very stereotypical. The whole thing was far-fetched, but so predictable at the same time. I didn't even really like the characters (even Sweet or Beulah). The dialogue was juvenile and the writing simple. Nothing to really keep me interested. There was potential for this book because of the intense subject matter, but it didn't work out that way.

  • georgia
    2019-06-02 22:56

    this was a free download for the kindle. 3 small town ladies find a sanctuary to watch birds, plus have picnics. a single man moves into the vacant house and hormones explode for one lady. loneliness over rides her common sense. friends see the actions in the marriage while using the binocs spying within the birds and trees. friend is saved. thin plot with real bullying issues portrayed

  • Patricia
    2019-06-09 23:18

    The Tea-olive Birdwatching Society is great fun to read. Filled with Trobaugh's uniquely styled southern characeters, all of whom you'll love, it is my understanding that the model for this story was a tea room in Woodstco, GA, and some of the characters gleaned from Friends of the Woodstock Library. Since Woodstock isma neighboring town, I keep hoping I'll meet up with Ms. Trobaugh someday

  • Kate Brady
    2019-06-09 23:55

    This was a kind of cute little book and sort of fun to read. I laughed a couple times, to be honest, but it certainly wasn't the type of read that draws you in or makes you think. It's just a simple book with a bit if cutesy southern charm. I wouldn't recommend it, but I don't hate myself for reading it.