the Kentucky farm country to the center of Charleston and back again,
Teddi Overman has spent a lifetime balancing her passions for high-end
art and antiques with her rural roots. Despite success and a solid
professional reputation, won through hard work boosted by helping hands,
Teddi is haunted by her past, especially by the sudden disappearance of
her younger brother, more than a dozen years earlier.
Beth Hoffman's second novel, Looking for Me, explores the sorrows and joys of traveling the path toward one's truest self. For Teddi and her brother, Josh, the journey stretched the bonds of family love to their limits. But were their choices really more painful and destructive than that of their mother, Franny, who gave up her dreams to tend to her husband?
Who we become as adults is shaped by our past and the gifts we are given by those who love us. Teddi looks deep beneath the rust and tarnish, the burns and nicks to see the beauty of an abused chair. She pauses to listen to the heirlooms tell their stories and takes the responsibility of restoring each antique to its pride and glory. Josh turned these same instincts to nature, preserving, protecting, and healing the plants and animals of his beloved wilderness.
Although Franny was never able to become a nurse and was far from a nurturing mother, her children inherited her desire to heal. If only Franny could recognize herself in Teddi and build on their similarities, she might find a way to help them both live with the uncertainty of Josh's fate. At what point do you move on? Do you ever stop looking and hoping?
Looking for Me is about the connections between people, within families, to nature, with the past. It's about a head-strong girl who loves her family and farm but who knows she can't stay. It's about how we never forget our loved ones and about how near impossible it is to live fully when our grief is mixed with hope and faith.
In fact, such dichotomous combinations color the novel. The writing is beautiful yet homey; the plot is simple yet complex; and we are in turns both smiling and teary. In a word, Beth Hoffman has written about real life. One of Hoffman's greatest strengths is in how easy it is to become emotionally involved with her characters. She writes from the heart and with such an authentic voice, we come by our love for her work as naturally as if we were reading about our own kin.
We are the authors of our lives, and, through choice or circumstance, some of us leave our stories unfinished or untold. Though it's taken me a long while to get here, I've come to accept that life, like the vast woodlands that surround my childhood home, is layered with mysteries. (p. 354; uncorrected proof)Buy Looking for Me at an indie or other bookstore near you.
Published by Viking / Pamela Dorman Books, May 2013
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