She extended a hand toward Frieda. “I’m Tuesday Love.”
Frieda’s arm halted in the act of rising, but she recovered quickly. “Tuesday Love. What an interesting name. I’m Frieda Devall.”
“And I’m Millie Richadson.” Mille stepped forward to shake the woman’s hand next. “Were you born on a Tuesday, dear?”
Tuesday squeezed her fingers with a grip firmer than most men’s. “No.” She winked behind her bangs. “Tuesday was my parents’ day off.”
During a moment of shocked silence, Millie’s cheeks warmed. “I see. Um. Well, welcome to Goose Creek.”
In the acknowledgements at the end of this novel, Virginia Smith says she always approaches second (and third, and fourth) books in a series with apprehension, wondering whether the characters she fell in love with in the first book will be as appealing in their continuing roles. I am here to give a resounding ‘Yes’. If anything, I enjoyed this second novel in the Goose Creek series more than the first.
You do not necessarily need to have read the first book in the series to read this one, but it is a continuation of the story in many ways, picking up about a month after the previous book finishes. All the people you grew to love in “The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade” are back again with the addition of Tuesday Love, a massage therapist who has arrived in town to set up a massage parlour, boldly claiming “All I have do is get my hands on a person once and they’ll come back.”
In addition to the painting of the local water tower and the renovation of the Richardson’s newly purchased (but dilapidated) Victorian manor (two issues which were resolved upon in the previous novel), Goose Creek is preparing for the inner-county softball match. For Goose Creek’smayor, Jerry Selbo, this has become more than a friendly game between towns. This is an opportunity to wipe the arrogant smirk off Morleyville Mayor Theo Fitzgerald’s face. However they have a few obstacles to overcome if they are going to be any kind of a force to be reckoned with, such as Susan’s tendency to shut her eyes as soon as the ball heads in her direction and Franklin Thacker’s tendency to offend the players with his enthusiastic suggestions for the betterment of the team based on a program he has devised in order to analyse each of the players. Not to mention actually having enough players for a team.
Tuesday Love is a delightful addition to the cast of characters, even if many of the people of Goose Creek don’t exactly agree. She is a gently quirky character and it seems that her claim of only needing to get her hands on someone once may just be true if her lone unexpected client is anything to go by. As for the rest of Goose Creek, well, she just needs to think of some way to get that first contact.
With all the different things going on in Goose Creek, this novel becomes a delightful portrayal of small town dynamics and human relationships. It is fairly uncommon to find a happily married sixty-something couple as the central characters in a novel, but Virginia Smith portrays the Richardsons, their marriage, and their life and place in Goose Creek beautifully. At times we also get to view things through the point of view of Susan Jeffries, her father Thomas Jeffries, and mayor Jerry Selbo. While too many point of view characters can sometimes clutter the reading experience, I thought their scenes rounded out this novel nicely. I particularly enjoyed the way in which Susan’s relationship with her father developed over the course of the novel, and that we were able to sympathise with Thomas Jeffries as he gradually gains the strength to face some bittersweet truths.
Renovating the Richardsons takes everyday life in a small town and turn it into a truly engaging read. If you love people, if you love community, if you love the quirks of human nature, this is a book for you. And I, for one, hope there is more to come from Goose Creek.
Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for providing an advance reader’s copy in return for my honest review.
Renovating the Richarsons releases on 1 February 2016 and is available for pre-order now.
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