Country girl Teddi Overman has a penchant for antiques. When her mother wants her to take up a “dependable” profession instead, Teddi leaves home for Charleston, with nothing more than hope and the address of a potential employer. She builds an independent life for herself in Charleston returning home in fits and spurts to meet family. While Teddi is in Charleston her younger brother Josh, whom she is very attached to, goes missing, and she is forever haunted by this, hoping in her heart of hearts that he is alive and will be found someday.
That’s pretty much the summary of the book. There is no real villain in this story, although there are numerous challenges in Teddi’s life, from her refusal to follow the straight and narrow path laid out before her to dealing with the death and disappearance of family. This novel can be described as a “coming-to-terms” or “finding closure” book. The author gives us a good look-see into Southern life, and a feel for Teddi’s life at home with her family and in Charleston pursuing her heart’s desire. Teddi does seem to have a lot of gumption and guts. She is also a good decent person, caring for family and friends.
The author’s descriptions are well done, but I had problems getting into the story. The book has no resounding climax, just a series of gentle knocks. When you think about it, Teddi has not led an easy life – she’s had to fight for everything she’s got, establish herself and make new connections and friends everywhere she goes, but the book does not describe her challenges in enough visceral detail for the reader to actually feel for her. I felt that the entire narration was in an emotionally detached tone, and the problems either glossed over or made short shrift of.
There are times when Teddi is down and despairing but we get to hear of them through a gauzy curtain of Southern gentility, which essentially trivializes them, and hides from us important details of her character. Since this book is told in first person, from Teddi’s point of view, the emotionally detached tone might have been what the author was going for – Teddi might indeed be a stoic, pragmatic sort of person who does not tell of her troubles. But this “stoicism” leaves the readers very little to chew on. For readers who are from the South and have met such women (very Steel Magnolias minus the emotion) this might ring true, but for the rest of us, it left much to be desired.
This book is easy chick-lit reading, and might be a good pick for a day at the beach.