Friday, 4 November 2011

Restless in Carolina - Tamara Leigh

It's been four years since Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan lost her husband in an accident and her family believe it's time she uprooted her "widow weeds" and started living again. A true environmentalist, Bridget understands their concerns but it's brought home when her twin niece and nephew make comments. So, she starts down that road of moving on, but she's also been tasked with selling the family's estate. Easier said than done as Bridget doesn't want some industrialist to come in and bulldoze the beautiful land to make way for a non-environmentally friendly development.

In her mission to find an eco-developer, she meets J.C. Dirk, a developer from Atlanta whose company raised high acclaim with green developments. Choosing him was one thing, convincing him to see her is another. Once she has her foot in the door it turns out the J.C. may be the one to help her in more ways than one.

A great love story as well as one of spiritual recovery. Written in first person, Leigh captures the inner turmoil brilliantly; the turmoil of a person still trying to cope with being a young widow, her need to move on and her 'battle' with forgiving God for what wrong she thinks He did.

At first I found the character of Bridget a little too "environmental" but as the story progressed it just showed her as a deeply passionate person, as someone who loves deeply. And as her struggles are explained with touches of humor and excellent insight into how someone may struggle with the loss of a loved one, I grew to really like and sympathize with her. The tale certainly kept me glued as her interaction with J.C. became more complex and as skeletons were slowly uncovered.

I did find that this book being part of the Pickwick family of stories, made me feel that I didn't know the whole story. So anyone picking this up as their first Leigh book, best to head to Leaving Carolina and Nowhere Carolina to understand the entire family. Leigh makes references to cousins etc that I believe that if I had read the previous novels I would have reacted with an "oh yeah" rather than "er, I'm missing something." But it certainly is a very good book to read as a stand alone.

Overall, this is a funny, poignant story with a myriad of rich characters. Bridget is a southern belle but as Virginia Smith, author of Third Time's a Charm says " no Scarlett O'Hara." It's an absorbing novel and I highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multonomah to review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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