• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 28, 2016)
In Henry Adams, Kansas, you can’t start over without stirring things up . . .
Many a good woman has had to leave a no-good man, but how many of them took a backseat to his six-hundred-pound hog? On her own for the first time, Genevieve Gibbs is ecstatic, even if certain people preferred the doormat version of Ms. Gibbs. Finding someone who appreciates the “new” her has only just hit Gen’s to-do list when T. C. Barbour appears in her life.
A tiny Kansas town is a far cry from his native Oakland, California, but it’s just the change T. C. needs. While helping his divorced nephew acclimate to single fatherhood, T. C. lands a gig driving a limo for the most powerful woman in Henry Adams. It’s a great way to meet people—and one in particular has already made the job worthwhile. All it takes is a short trip from the airport for Genevieve to snag T. C.’s attention for good.
But it wouldn’t be Henry Adams without adding more drama to the mix. When Gen’s ex Riley returns with his hog in tow, it sets off a chain of events that can ruin everything—unless the residents pull together once again to save the day.
Henry Adams, KS, is a different kind of a town. The name struck me as odd, but then what do I know. I live in a rural area called Dog Walk, 5 miles south of the town of Crab Orchard, and about 4 miles north of an area called Bee Lick.
The optimist in me would like to bask in the real caring that town members seem to have for each other, regardless of their differences - gender, wealth, race - whatever. And the cynic in me (no wonder I'm stressed all the time, with those two characters inside me) thinks sarcastically that it can't be real, that someone (or people in general) are nice only to get something.
In the small Maryland town in which I spent the first half of my childhood in the 1960's, there was one African-American family. Perhaps because of my age, there did not seem to be racial tension. Or maybe it was because the tense social dynamic was between Protestants and Catholics. I still remember seeing a 'No Catholics Allowed' sign on a nearby swimming pool clubhouse, when I was about 6 and wondered what was up with that.
But getting to the actual story, Genevieve is one of my top story heroines for the year. She is 'of a certain age'. She had a bad first marriage (the guy cared more for his 600 lb pig than he did for his wife) - and he dipped into her bank accounts. She left her husband and got a divorce because she decided to make a change, to make her life better. But old habits die hard and the next man who is interested in her doesn't like her 'new attitude' - probably because it takes away from her adoration of him. Even her roommate leaves something to be desired, as the woman not only cannot see the sunny side of life, she refuses to do so.
It's hard to make-over your life, but Genevieve does a superb job. She buys a new house, she finds a new man (TC), and becomes a stronger woman.
And TC? Chivalry is not dead, ladies, certainly not in Henry Adams. And not only is he a charming, respectful man, he has amazing strength of character. You see, TC is what they call a 'functional illiterate'. When he finds out that Genevieve is helping an older woman learn to read, he works up the gumption to ask her to teach him as well. It takes a strong adult to admit what could be seen as a 'deficiency' and to seek help in making a change.
Then Riley (Genevieve's ex) returns to town, thinking he'll worm his way back into her life (and her accounts). Wrong! Riley has his 'come to Jesus' moment and the aftermath is not a drop short of astonishing.
There are several 'side stories' which dive into a couple of the other characters in the book, and they all add to the rich tapestry of life in Henry Adams. It would be a money maker for the town if there was a spring from which they could bottle and sell the water, because this is one heart-warming town. And it is not saccharine, H.A. is redemptive.
And to find out there are more books set in Henry Adams? Now that's some 'Good News'!
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. This post may contain affiliate links.)