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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise


ISBN: 9780593200803

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 03/28/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars + (ARC)



A “wildly surprising, entertaining” (Jodi Picoult) novel featuring a college dropout and an eighty-four-year-old woman on the run from the law, full of tremendous heart, wit, and wisdom from the USA Today bestselling author of The Invisible Husband of Frick Island.


Twenty-one-year-old Tanner Quimby needs a place to live. Preferably one where she can continue sitting around in sweatpants and playing video games nineteen hours a day. Since she has no credit or money to speak of, her options are limited, so when an opportunity to work as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman falls into her lap, she takes it.

One slip on the rug. That’s all it took for Louise Wilt’s daughter to demand that Louise have a full-time nanny living with her. Never mind that she can still walk fine, finish her daily crossword puzzle, and pour the two fingers of vodka she drinks every afternoon. Bottom line: Louise wants a caretaker even less than Tanner wants to be one.

The two start off their living arrangement happily, ignoring each other until Tanner starts to notice things—weird things. Like, why does Louise keep her garden shed locked up tighter than a prison? And why is the local news fixated on the suspect of one of the biggest jewelry heists in American history who looks eerily like Louise? And why does Louise suddenly appear in her room with a packed bag at 1 a.m., insisting they leave town immediately?

Thus begins the story of a not-to-be-underestimated elderly woman and an aimless young woman who—if they can outrun the mistakes of their past—might just have the greatest adventure of their lives.







About the Author


Colleen Oakley is the USA Today bestselling author of five novels, including THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND and YOU WERE THERE TOO. Her books have been translated into over 20 languages worldwide, lauded by numerous outlets, including People Magazine, Us Weekly, Library Journal, and Real Simple, and won multiple awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. Her fifth novel, THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF TANNER & LOUISE, will be published by Berkley/Penguin in March 2023. A former magazine editor for Women's Health & Fitness and Marie Claire, Colleen lives in Atlanta with her husband, four children, three chickens, and a mutt named Baxter.



Connect with Colleen:








Exceptional Authors. Standout Books. Elevator Talk.


INTRIGUING QUESTIONS. INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW.


Behind the Book and the Author


Welcome to March 2023 #AuthorElevatorSeries —where we go behind the scenes of the book and the author. We are super excited to have with us, for the first time, a favorite author — the bestselling author Colleen Oakley with her fifth novel, the highly anticipated —THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF TANNER AND LOUISE.


Join us as Colleen shares some fascinating behind-the-scenes exclusives from the book and fun moments from this multi-talented author. I LOVED THIS BOOK!


Welcome, Colleen!



"Behind The Book"


Q. Give us your best ELEVATOR PITCH for The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise?


COLLEEN: Louise, an eighty-four-year-old woman with a lifetime of secrets and her twenty-one-year-old caretaker Tanner end up on the lam from the police on a cross country road trip, while Tanner tries to figure out who Louise actually is.



Q. DESCRIBE your novel in three words or less.


COLLEEN: Propulsive, funny, surprising



Q. INSPIRATION: The spark that ignited the novel? Where were you when the idea came to you?



COLLEEN: About five years before she died, my grandmother was diagnosed with late-onset Parkinson’s disease, which is a terrible illness that—among other things—can cause very intense hallucinations and make it difficult for people to tell what’s real and what’s not. My grandmother started saying some really wild things on our phone calls—like asking if I had paid her $10,000 of gambling debts to a man in New Jersey. Or asking if my aunt was out of jail yet (my aunt was never in jail).


My novelist brain started spinning and I wondered what if any of these bizarre things she was saying were actually true? What if my grandmother, who had lived an amazing life in her own right, had also lived another secret life we had no idea about where she was a professional gambler or that she travelled so much because she was actually an international jewel thief? And that’s when the character of Louise Constance Wilt was born.



Q. ADAPTATION: For fun, do you have any cast of stars in mind for any of your leading roles for movie or TV series?



COLLEEN: I would love Shirley McClaine or Maggie Smith for Louise and Kaitlyn Dever or Millie Bobby Brown for Tanner.



Q. TAKEAWAY: What important message, theme, or takeaway would you like readers to be left with when reading your book?



COLLEEN: First, I hope they just have fun reading the book. And then I hope it makes them look at the older people in their lives in a new light. Who knows? Maybe your grandmother was a jewel thief wanted by the FBI, too!



Q. FAVORITE THING: What is your favorite thing about your new book?


COLLEEN: That I was able to include so many Easter eggs from my family lore—inside jokes, sayings, things that actually happened, characteristics, etc. Only the people in my family know what’s true and what’s not and I’ve been threatened to keep it that way!




Now, more from Colleen, below—up close and personal!


"Behind The Author"



BIRTH STATE? or (Country)

Indiana


CURRENT STATE?

Georgia


ZODIAC SIGN?

Gemini


FAVORITE FLOWER?

Peony


FAVORITE COLOR?

University of Georgia Red


MORNING/NIGHT PERSON?

Morning


DOG/CAT LOVER?

Dog


FAVORITE HOBBY?

Crossword puzzles


YOUR FAVORITE LIFE LESSON QUOTE?

You can have it all—just not all at the same time.


IF YOU WERE STUCK IN AN ELEVATOR ALONE WITH ONE CELEBRITY, AUTHOR, OR CHARACTER— WHO WOULD IT BE? (Male or Female)

MacGyver! He would be able to get us out in five seconds with like, a piece of gum and a shoestring.


WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WISH READERS KNEW ABOUT YOU?

That I have four kids and would like to send them to college so please buy my books.


FAVORITE TV SERIES? (Or Movie/Video) binge-watch, series, etc.?

Schitt’s Creek


MOST MEMORABLE PLACE YOU HAVE TRAVELED TO?

Italy!


A CHARACTER YOU HAVE WRITTEN THAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

Louise! She was inspired by my grandmother, who was my very favorite person in the world. My grandmother died in Feb. 2020, and writing Louise made me feel like I was spending a little more time with her each day.


NAME A BOOK TITLE ON YOUR BOOKSHELF OR NIGHTSTAND THAT WOULD SURPRISE YOUR READERS.

Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator


IF YOU COULD ELIMINATE ONE THING FROM YOUR DAILY LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Social Media. It’s such a time suck, I’m addicted to the scrolling and I wish it didn’t exist!


DESCRIBE ONE THING ON YOUR DESK, CURRENTLY.

Clutter. Lots and lot of clutter.


NAME SOMETHING YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE VERY GOOD AT.

Cooking


NAME ONE THING YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE BAD AT.

Baking


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HORROR MOVIE (OR LOVE STORY)?

Shaun of the Dead


INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT?

Both (See: Gemini)


NAME A TRAIT YOU INHERITED FROM YOUR DAD OR MOM. (Good or bad)

My love of reading (mom); my love of making people laugh (dad)


THE LAST BOOK YOU RAVED ABOUT?

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka




Thank you, Colleen, for spending time with us today!


COLLEEN: Thank you for having me.


Readers, you must pick up THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF TANNER & LOUISE! A perfect beach read. You will fall in love with Tanner, Louise, and August. So much FUN—One of my top books of the year. ENJOY!



Praise


One of Southern Living's Most Anticipated 2023 Releases

One of Today's Most Anticipated 2023 Releases


"[This] page-turner will inspire you to think about the secret histories we all carry." —Today.com

“Oakley (The Invisible Husband of Frick Island) draws on Thelma and Louise for this delightful story of an elderly woman and her caregiver who go on the run...The antics of this unlikely duo make for an entertaining buddy drama.”

—Publishers Weekly


“Oakley spins a clever intergenerational story about two mismatched women who have more in common than they expected. Louise is a delight, an earthy, honest older woman, and the story is full of clever surprises. This lively odd-couple caper will appeal to fans of Fredrik Backman and Rachel Joyce.”

—Booklist


"Well-structured elements of mystery and suspense infuse this enjoyable friendship story about lives--however burdened by challenges and questionable choices--well-lived. A lively plot, oddball characters and surprising twists bring levity to darker themes that probe issues of feminism and aging. Oakley's storytelling is first-rate. Readers will eagerly hop aboard this wildly fun, greatly entertaining ride."

—Shelf Awareness (starred review)


“Ambitionless 21-year-old Tanner needs a place to live but gets a lot more than she bargained for when she agrees to work as a live-in caregiver for Louise, a vodka-swilling, sharp-as-a-tack elderly woman. The little old lady might not be as innocent as she seems, though, especially when she tells Tanner they need to make a quick getaway. Is Louise the culprit behind a legendary jewel heist? With a wild road trip, a classic car and a love interest reminiscent of a young Brad Pitt, The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise is tailor-made for fans of Thelma and Louise.”

—Reader's Digest


"[A] fun new novel."

—Southern Living


“A humorous, multigenerational tale of adventure and suspense.”

—Atlanta Journal-Constitution


“Tanner and Louise’s growing bond is funny and heartwarming and gives heart to Oakley’s (The Invisible Husband of Frick Island) latest, but the sharp, witty dialogue and plotting keep the story from becoming too saccharine. A great read-alike for fans of the television show Hacks.”

—Library Journal


“You’ll never be able to see what’s coming in this wildly surprising, entertaining ride of a novel—which is a coming-of-age story, a contending-with-age story, and a surprising exploration of how womanhood is a matter of surprising others…and oneself.”

—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here


“Colleen Oakley is in a world of her own when it comes to creating lovable, quirky characters—and those in The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise are her best yet. With an abundance of charm and wit, a dose of adventure, and surprises around each corner, you’ll be rooting for Tanner and Louise with every turn of the page. An absolute blast.”

—Taylor Jenkins Reid, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Malibu Rising


"The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise is pure joy on paper. With wit, sass, and real emotion, Tanner and Louise, two unlikely fugitives, find connection, common ground, and true friendship across generations. A delightful reminder that there are meaningful second, third, and even fourth acts in life."

—Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Network





“Colleen Oakley’s The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise is the ultimate road trip, featuring a pair of quirky, original characters on the lam from the law. A funny, fresh take on unlikely friendships and family, I’d ride shotgun with Tanner and Louise in a heartbeat!”

—Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of The Newcomer


"An absolute delight. A twenty-first-century version of Bonnie and Clyde…if Bonnie were an octogenarian jewel thief on the run and Clyde her bitter 20-something caretaker. It’s also a story of lifelong friendships, the (often) extra work women are saddled with, and the value of second chances. You will laugh out loud, maybe cry, but you will definitely root for these strong, powerful women. Tanner and Louise will live forever in your heart and (likely) whisper for you to take that chance and risk it all."

—Julie Clark, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Flight and The Lies I Tell


“Deliciously entertaining, this feminist caper of a novel has a little of everything, from a wild road trip to quirky and lovable characters to a “keep you on your toes” mystery. With great charm and wit, The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise offers a dazzling cornucopia of truths: the might of female friendship, that women only get better with age, and that the journey to self-discovery is a path worth taking. Colleen Oakley has done it again—I loved Tanner and Louise!”

—Karma Brown, USA Today bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife


"Absolutely delightful! I would follow Tanner and Louise anywhere."

—Elle Cosimano, USA Today bestselling author of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

"I adored everything about this book. Sparkling writing, characters you root for, an unlikely partnership who may or may not be on the lam from the authorities, and twists you didn’t see coming. Move over Thelma and Louise and make room for Louise and Tanner!”

—Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of The Rewind






My Review


Bestselling Atlanta author Colleen Oakley delivers an exciting road trip adventure with two unlikely multi-generational characters for a suspenseful, heartwarming, witty, and highly entertaining read—THE MOSTLY TRUE STORY OF TANNER AND LOUISE. One road trip you do not want to miss!


A rip-roaring fun caper—two zany road trip companions form an unexpected bond in an uplifting novel about the past—lost and found.


Set in Atlanta, Meet 21-year-old Tanner Quimby, who had an injury and lost her college soccer scholarship and destroyed her dreams of playing professionally is out of a job and career.


Her parents told her she needed to get a job instead of sitting around playing video games in her sweatpants all day and night. They have kicked her out. She did not want to go to community college but wanted to return to Northwestern and live in her off-campus apartment with her friends. She is also good at working with cars.


Elderly Louise Wilt (widowed octogenarian) was married to Ken for 48 yrs. —she is eighty-four—eccentric, bright, and funny. Unfortunately, she fell and broke her hip, and her daughter Jules wants her to get live-in help to get her to the doctors and help around the house. Her children are Lucy, Jules, and Charlie. She wears Revlon Cherries in the snow pink lipstick, the same since 1972, with her orthopedic shoes, and loves her nightly cocktails.


The two meet and Tanner moves in as her caregiver. She plans on doing the least amount possible for this old lady and her bum hip, which smells of toilet water and something floral. She knows nothing about the internet or technology. How hard could it be driving her around to her appointments?


There is also a sexy, mysterious dude named August who helps Louise occasionally and is hot to look at, keeping Tanner interested.


However, there is more to Louise than meets the eye.


Ten days later, they are on the road, running from the law—this is when Tanner has a new respect for her fellow companion. She also has a gun and soon learns her new roomy may be a jewel thief.


Louise had a plan. She received a letter from George (the brains behind their operation). She must leave for California before it is too late.


Was she a jewel thief? Had she gotten away with her crime? A forty-eight-year cold case from Ohio led investigators to Atlanta. One of the most notorious and largest jewelry heists—in which more than $3 million of cash, jewels, and a 37-carat Kinsley diamond were stolen at a luxury hotel in Boston in 1975 and ended with no arrests.


Her daughter, Jules, reports her mom missing. Readers get updated with texts from Jules, Lucy, and brother Charlie with the police.


Louise continues to tell Tanner: "Enjoy your life of following the rules." Tanner had always followed the rules, and it had gotten her nowhere. This old woman lives on the edge; however, her children know nothing of her past. Tanner tries to figure out who Louise is.


In the meantime, Tanner feels ALIVE for the first time. She loves this escape and driving the (mint-green Jaguar XKE convertible model 1961-1975) across the country. Louise agrees to pay her and this will give her enough to go back to college. $10,694.00


Their banter is hilarious!


However, when she realizes they are in danger and Louise gives her an out, she wants all IN! This leads to an FBI hunt because Louise may be a suspect in a major jewel heist from 1975 and has lived under an alias since then. How was she connected to the mob?


What a wild ride! I loved Louise, Tanner, and August! A life changer for both Tanner and Louise. Loved the two together. Fast-paced, full of action, suspense, mystery, heart, and fun with well-developed characters.


Oakley's best yet! A total blast —I loved the satisfying conclusion. The testament to unlikely friends and the power of hidden strengths.


There is something about multi-generation characters together as they have so much to learn from one another. The elderly are wise and offer so much to the younger generation if willing to listen and get their face out of their phones, social media, and video games. I am always intrigued by grandparents and the elderly— and the secrets they keep. More grandchildren must quiz their grandparents about their mysterious secret pasts before they are gone.


From aging, unlikely friendships, being a woman during the 60s-70s, abusive relationships, love, crossing ethical lines, and making difficult choices.


For fans of Thelma and Louse and authors Mary Kay Andrews, Catherine Ryan Hyde's So Long, Chester Wheeler, and Mark de Castrique's Secret Lives. Louise Wilt (84 yrs old) and FBI agent-turned-boarding house landlady (75 yr old) Ethel Fiona Crestwater would make a great team with their sidekicks: nephew and Tanner.


Highly recommend! Get this gem on your spring/summer reading list!


INTERVIEW: Stay tuned for my #AuthorElevatorSeries QA with Colleen on March 28th, where we go behind the book and the author.


Thanks to Berkley and #Netgalley for a gifted ARC in exchange for an honest review. #CoverCrush I also pre-ordered the hardcover and the audiobook narrated by the fabulous Hilary Huber (it will be epic!)



@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: March 28, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars ++






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