• Paperback: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 11, 2016)
From the author of Sit! Stay! Speak! comes a tender, terrific novel complete with long-buried secrets, a three-legged pot belly pig, and an irresistible dog—an unforgettable story about love, friendship, and community. Perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe.
Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.
As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.
Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.
The story really involves a lot of drama based on family secrets. (Though Ava Dawn provides a lot of drama on her own with very little secrets) She's running from an abusive husband and it seems like she might be hooking up with a married minister, Brother Crow.
But when Caroline becomes friends and then a little bit more with newcomer Noah Cranwell, well there's a can of worms that opens that causes all sorts of problems. (And the pun is intended).
I loved Noah. I wish we could have really gotten to know him better at least in a way to understand why there is was an attraction between him and Caroline. I hate when people fall in love with nothing in common. I guess for them, it's the family secrets.
Noah though was really a guy you feel for. He's had a rough life, just as his granddad did. You want good things for him.
Caroline runs her family's bait shop. (So you can get the pun). Although she doesn't do a whole lot of work. In fact she does more fishing and drinking than anything else.
I really liked Caroline at that beginning of the book. She's loyal and loving. She cares about people and what happens to them. However when the secrets start to unravel and she finds out something unpleasant in her family's past, she isn't quite so nice about things.
Her treatment of Noah near the end of the story really made me want to give her a slap to get some sense into her, because the events were in the past, way before she was born and everyone had dealt with what happened.
Rating: 4 flowers
Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.
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