20 May 2013

Review: Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

From 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
ISBN-13: 9780670025831
Rating: A+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).

20 comments:

Sandy Nawrot 5/20/13, 6:41 AM  

I have this one loaded and ready to go on the iPod. I just need to get to it!!!! Very excited about it, because Jenna Lamia narrates, and she is amazing.

Jenn's Bookshelves 5/20/13, 8:35 AM  

Oh, if only I had more time to read! This book is definitely on my must-read list!

rhapsodyinbooks 5/20/13, 8:55 AM  

Can you believe I have not yet read a book by Beth Hoffman? This year I intend to change that!

Laura Fabiani 5/20/13, 9:26 AM  

What a great review! I've never read Hoffman either but like rapsodyinbooks that's going to change.

Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader 5/20/13, 9:33 AM  

This sounds absolutely beautiful. I'll keep my eyes open for it :)

Beth Hoffman 5/20/13, 10:00 AM  

Oh my goodness ... Your review is gorgeous! I'm incredibly glad that you enjoyed Teddi's story and felt strongly for (and about) the characters.

Thank you so, so much!

Andi 5/20/13, 11:09 AM  

Looks and sounds amazing! Thanks for the heads up!

Carrie 5/20/13, 1:27 PM  

So glad to see another great review for this one - I loved it, too. :)

bermudaonion 5/20/13, 2:59 PM  

I cannot wait to read this! Your review is outstanding!

Charlie (The Worm Hole) 5/20/13, 3:18 PM  

I am so excited about this one, I loved CeeCee so much. I have to echo Kathy, your review is really good!

Sue Jackson 5/20/13, 6:21 PM  

I just heard earlier today that Beth Hoffman had a new book out...and here you are reviewing it!

I enjoyed Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt - didn't love it but enjoyed it.

This one sound interesting, too - will have to give it a try.

Sue

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Heather 5/20/13, 8:49 PM  

I'm almost finished with this! So I didn't read your review, but I'll be back! I just can't wait to finish. I love Teddi's story so much!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 5/20/13, 8:50 PM  

So happy this was with a hit with you as well. Loved it.

Nise' 5/20/13, 9:53 PM  

I am really looking forward to reading this book!

Lisa 5/20/13, 10:22 PM  

Now I can't wait to read this one!

drbethnolan 5/21/13, 7:24 AM  

I loved CeeCee, so I'm sure I'll love this one! I scored it through Net Galley and plan to read it on the train to NYC for BEA next week - yeah!! :) -Beth Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Christi 5/21/13, 9:35 PM  

What an excellent book review!

I've read LOOKING FOR ME, as well as Beth Hoffman's first novel--loved them both so much!

Julie P. 5/24/13, 2:35 PM  

Beth sure didn't disappoint!

Anita 5/24/13, 5:12 PM  

Your review is lovely. I'll be holding this in my hand this weekend..can't wait to fall in love with Beth's words again.

Jennifer 5/30/13, 9:51 PM  

Great review. This sounds like a wonderful read. I'm definitely going to be adding it to my TBR list.

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