Judith D Collins
Looking for Me
By Beth Hoffman
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication date: 4/29/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars +
The latest New York Times bestseller by the beloved author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettably quirky characters. Now her flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines again in her compelling second novel, Looking for Me.
Teddi Overman found her life’s passion in turning other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques. Leaving her hardscrabble Kentucky childhood behind, Teddi opens her own store in Charleston. She builds a life as unexpected and quirky as her many customers, but nothing alleviates the haunting uncertainty she’s felt since her brother Josh mysteriously disappeared. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi returns to Kentucky, embarking on a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and find herself.
Words cannot adequately describe this moving, captivating, incredible, and heartwarming story—“Looking for Me” is a winner!
Award- winning writing, this is the most moving story-- it captures you from the front cover, middle, to the ending, with meticulous plot planning and character development---Beth Hoffman carefully unfolds every page, offering you just enough to keep you engaged, full of suspense--holding your breath----as it builds (who is the person around the corner or the caller on the other end of the line, what did she see out the window) maybe several paragraphs or pages away before it is unveiled-- (Love it)!
The book goes from past to present seamlessly for an inspiring story and realistic characters, you will not soon forget. This was my first read by Beth and this author has me hooked for life! I can see early on, I will purchase and read everything she writes, and look forward to following this author for years to come- highly recommend.
I am a huge fan of southern authors, and have already purchased Beth’s first book, and cannot wait to get back to Palm Beach for some prime alone time reading (as currently in NC for the Thanksgiving holidays and was difficult to escape all the people to get back to my book)…On Friday, afternoon took off to a nearby Barnes and Noble for a comfy chair and cup of decaf coffee for several hours with my e-reader in peace, to get back to Terri/Josh.
I tend to read new releases and if I love the author, I go back and read all their previous books. I look forward to Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, as I have read and heard nothing but rave reviews! Be sure and check out the author’s Facebook, blog, and website as enjoyed reading about Mamie (restoration of her house), and more accolades and meaning behind Looking for Me.
Again, it is hard to describe the dynamic takeaway from this book. I loved everything about it – Terri was an amazing girl which I was connected with immediately --similar backgrounds and felt as though we were kindred spirits. I appreciated her independence and sense of adventure, to go after what she wanted in life. As an interior designer spending many weekends at estate sales and turning careful picked items into cherished treasurers, and later working hand in hand with wood craftsman restorations, I can so appreciate the author’s firsthand experience and her love of design shines through ---and the research with wildlife, and birds was exceptional. I also have had the opportunity of living and working with many historic bed and breakfast inns in the south, quaint shops, and meeting some of the many eccentric characters which reminds me of the ones in Looking for Me. They each bring meaning as the characters did for me in this book. As a lover of historic homes (reside in a 1920’s Spanish Mission carriage home in one of 13 historic districts in downtown West Palm Beach, FL), and within walking distance of Antique Row – I was all about this book….oh and did I mention a nature lover, lover of books and of course very true to my heart ----having a hotel client in Charleston, SC for years--have spent many days and hours in this charming, and magical town.. Will have to agree with the author – “it encompasses my deepest passions.”
Without giving away the book (as each character is so special you want to savor every part of this rare gem), it is a perfect holiday book. (Wow, did she have some strong men in her life). Each character brings special meaning and each person was placed in Terri’s life for a reason. Terri reminds me of myself ---parents who did not support or share their children's dreams (I could not wait to escape my NC rural home for the big city of Atlanta)—you will Terri, her dad and Josh- he will make you cry and laugh as a special angel on earth.
The quotes, poems, verses, and portions of this book are ones you will want to highlight on your e-reader or book. My favorite- “We are the authors of our lives, and through choice or circumstance, some of us leave our stores unfinished or untold.” Other great one - "Never tie your happiness to the end of someone else's kite."Have a box of Kleenex handy as very moving and thought provoking.
You will laugh and cry and continue smiling throughout. This book is about family, friends, love, pain, loss and forgiveness and takes you to deep soul searching places—to help connect with identity, value, purpose, and worth—true southern fiction at its finest! Giving back gives Terri her life back and makes her whole.I wanted to savor each moment of this precious read and did not want it to end.
Please, Beth—could you work on a sequel ---these characters are too good to end – we have to make them live on—possibly Josh, Terri/Sam, Gabe/Sally, Olivia/?....or any of her newfound friends.
I can envision Inez, Albert, and Terri at this quaint shop and so want to visit and join them for a cup of tea. 5 stars does not seem enough – I wish I could rate it 10 stars, as so deserving and one I highly recommend to men and women of all ages. It has been added to my favorite list-- A dynamic storyteller, this author is one to watch and follow for years to come!