I came across this book in the library and picked it for the Southern Reading challenge. I liked it more than I thought I would and whizzed through it in a couple of days without getting distracted by other books which is always a good sign. It’s a nice girly read without being fluffy, it has a plot that is pretty plausible and you just have to keep reading to see what happens.
Arlene (Lena), the main character is vulnerable yet gritty and isn’t afraid to say what she thinks:
This isn’t some sort of old-home week, Rose. I haven’t seen you in ten years. I didn’t even know if you were alive or dead, and quite frankly, I didn’t much care. And now you are standing in my stairwell, apparently eavesdropping on me and my boyfriend? It’s none of your business how my family is. If Aunt Florence didn’t send you as some sort of torture, then how the hell did you even find me? What are you doing here? What do you want from me?
How wonderful to have the courage to speak your mind like that if the situation warrants it! Most of the characters in the story are able to do this. I respected that about them and think this was one of the reasons that I really enjoyed it.
Lena has not been back to her hometown in Alabama for ten years. She tells us at the beginning of the book that she made a pact with God all those years ago that she would stop fornicating with every boy she met, never tell another lie and never, ever go back to her hometown. God’s part of the bargain was to make sure the body was never found…
And she has kept each of her promises until forces conspire to change things..
Those forces come in the form of her Aunt Florence, a strong, opinionated, loving mother figure, Lena’s boyfriend who doesn’t want to be kept hidden from the family and an old school nemesis Rose Mae, who comes searching for the one person she is never going to find.
Something needs to be done. The story is told in the present and also flicks back to the past as we gradually learn from Lena what happened to change her life back in high school.
There are some suprises in the present in store as well..
I haven’t read many books by Southern authors. This one got the challenge off to a great start.