Looking for Me

By Beth Hoffman

 

Book Blurb

Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me.

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first, she must decide what to let go of and what to keep. (Goodreads.com)

My Review

Beth Hoffman is an excellent storyteller.  From early in the book through the end she had me hooked on the story of Teddi Overman.  As a young girl, Teddi discovers her life’s passion when she finds an old chair left on the road near her home in rural Kentucky.  When she takes it home and fixes it up, her mother dismisses it as junk.  Teddi loved it and as an adult rescues old furniture, repairs it, and sells it in her own shop in Charleston, South Carolina.

There were sad stories of the disappearance of her brother Josh and the loss of her parents. The misunderstanding between Teddi and her mother that created a rocky relationship between the two is a story many can relate to. There were truly funny accounts of various characters such as Albert, her grumpy furniture restorer, the hilarity of sticky-fingered Tula Jane Poteet, and a bit of romance.  In all this story had a perfect balance of all these elements.

The characters, of which there were quite a few, were well drawn out and believable.  I especially liked Olivia and her loyalty to her best friend, Teddi.  Sam was a surprise, and you’ll see what I mean when you read the book.  Albert was quite the personality and won my heart from the time I met him. Teddi was a complex character with a lot of hurdles to overcome along life’s path. She eventually discovers where her heart really lies, but it takes a long while for her to realize this.

I will definitely read more by Beth Hoffman and would recommend LOOKING FOR ME to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction.

About the Author

Twelve days after Beth Hoffman’s first novel was published in 2010, she became a New York Times bestselling author with foreign rights selling to prestigious publishers in Italy, Germany, France, Poland, Norway, Hungary, Indonesia, Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

Following an extensive national tour, Beth returned home to Kentucky and the solace of her writing studio. Drawing from vivid memories of childhood on her grandparents’ farm and her love of animals, nature, and antiques, a surprising story quickly took form. When asked about her second novel, which is titled Looking for Me, Beth says: “This book encompasses my deepest passions—it’s the story that woke me in the night and demanded to be told.”

Before beginning her writing career, Beth was the president and co-owner of an interior design studio. An artist as well as an award-winning designer, her paintings are displayed in private and corporate collections in the United States, Canada, and the UK.

Beth lives, along with her husband and two very smart cats, in a restored Queen Anne home in a quaint historic district in Northern Kentucky. Her interests include the rescue of abandoned and abused animals, nature conservancy, birding, historic preservation, and antiquing. (Goodreads.com)

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Return to Tradd Street by Karen White

Return to Tradd StreetCharleston, South Carolina is one of my favorite cities. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been there. It is no wonder I fell in love with RETURN TO TRADD STREET.  The descriptions of Charleston are so vivid, I instantly recognized places I have been. I’ve stayed at the Charleston Place Hotel, and it’s every bit as elegant as Karen White portrays it. The Palmetto Café where the main character Melanie (Mellie) Middleton and her best friend meet for lunch is not to be outdone. I don’t think there is a museum I haven’t visited, and Tradd and Legare, East Bay Street, South Battery, and Broad are streets I have walked.

Mellie has inherited a beautiful stately old Charleston home, as well as a housekeeper, and a dog named General Lee from Nevin Vanderhorst after only meeting him once.  She is a realtor that specializes in old homes, and she met him to discuss putting his house on the market. She is pregnant and has told the father Jack Trenholm she won’t marry him.  Jack has a teenaged daughter, a talented musician, who has the typical teenage clashes with her dad. Nola and Mellie have bonded, and Mellie often finds herself in the role of “mother”.

The story was fantastic. I could hardly put it down. There are several conflicts in the story that Mellie needs to solve. Mysteriously, she hears a baby crying while in her house. Is she in love with Jack? Will she get to retain ownership of the house? Does she even want the house? How will she and Jack work out the details of parenthood after the baby is born?  There is a lot of action to keep you turning the pages.

The characters were fascinating. Do Mellie and her mother have psychic powers? Can anyone be as handsome as Jack? The Gilberts come into the story, and in the beginning I disliked them, but as Mellie learned more about them and came to like them herself, so did I.  Sophie, Mellie’s best friend, has a very colorful way of dressing, not at all stylish, but is what everyone wants in a friend. I could describe these characters and more in greater detail, but I don’t want to spoil the book for other readers.

This is the first book by Karen White that I’ve read, and it definitely won’t be the last.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance with a bit of a mystery as well.