"My mother's peach cobbler was so good, it made God himself cheat on his wife"
A great first line in a terrific little collection of stories (Deesha Philyaw) dealing with Black women, church-going, and life in a patriarchal world. God, in this case, is Pastor Troy Neely, who Olivia at first believes to actually be God. Certainly his sonorous voice at church is God-like and his hold over Olivia's mother is too. He has the big car, the big house, the expensively dressed wife so often found in ministers in Black churches.
Her mother and Neely are engaged in a ten-year affair, which the peach cobbler is part of. (She makes it every Monday the day that he comes, throwing it out if he doesn't turn up) Over time Olivia can't help but wonder if other women are baking peach cobbler for him the other days of the week.
As Olivia grows older, she learns how to make cobber. Her mother won't even let her taste the ones she makes for the pastor so it's experiment after experiment. Eventually Olivia is hired to tutor the Pastor's son and she begins a relationship of sorts with him. She brings he and his mother a peach cobbler when a death in the family occurs. But then she learns that, like her mother, her role in the son's life will be as the "woman on the side" when he takes a more acceptable girl to the prom.
A lot of this story concerns the relationship between Olivia and her mother. Her mother is terribly hard and withholding, thinking that will make Olivia a righteous woman. She is punishing her daughter for her own mistakes. The writing is excellent in this and in all the stories in this collection. It is a debut collection and it was nominated for the National Book Award.