By Mindy Friddle
Picador USA, Paperback, 9780312429799, 296pp.
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
List Price: $20.00*
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At age seventy-two, Emma Hanley has finally made a plan to get out of small-town Palmetto, South Carolina, and travel the globe with her husband. But when he dies suddenly, just before their departure, she's taken up with the problems of her grown children. Her once free-spirited daughter, Dora, turns to compulsive shopping and a controlling husband, hoping to blot out her wayward past. Her son, Bobby, still lives with her, struggling with the illness that robbed him of his childhood promise.
But then Dora's old flame Jake Carey returns to Palmetto with a broken heart and a gift for gardening, and soon the town is filled with mysterious, potent botanicals and resurgent memories. Before long, Jake and his group of helpers begin to unearth the secrets that have divided the Hanleys for decades.
"Beguiling . . . A poignant and reassuring tale of regret and redemption."--Booklist "With fluid prose and telling details, Friddle deftly captures the downward pull of the past and the Southern penchant for mythmaking."--Publishers Weekly "A beguiling debut novel. Friddle . . . handles the juxtaposition of two highly eccentric cultures--small-town Southern society and small-college English department--with a light, quirky touch that keeps the story moving along and steadily entertaining."--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A comic delight . . . Winning characters and piquant wit, with an underpinning of graciousness: a standout."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)