Friday, June 28, 2013

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

5 Star

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

Lydia - 5 Star

Only Beth Hoffman can make me shed tears within the first thirty pages or so of a novel. She did it with Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, and she’s done it again with Looking For Me. And the beginning wasn't the only time my eyes leaked during this fantastic, definitely top-5-of-the-year reads.

Hoffman is a word wizard. Her prose is truly simple, yet so lyrical. The end result is an effortless read, with an extraordinary impact. Many times I re-read sentences in utter wonder. Vivid and unforgettable in prose, plot and character, Looking For Me will not be easily forgotten.

"Never tie your happiness to the end of someone else's kite." I cannot tell you how much I adore this line. And it's just one of many incredible words Hoffman has strung together to weave this fabulous tale.

Looking For Me combines so much of what I love in life - and a novel - from nature, to antiques, to complicated family dynamics and a relatable, down-to-earth, woman who has some growth to do. I adored Teddi Overman. I wish she lived near me. I wish she was real. I wanted to walk into her shop. Yes, this book felt incredibly real. I felt present when I read this novel and wanted to wander into the lives of these characters and have a glass of wine.

This novel is not an explosive read, but rather bobs along gently with flashbacks and present day story. It is done so well that I barely noticed when we had flipped into a reverie. I loved the ‘leg up’ and ‘pay it forward’ theme and really appreciated that it is subtly done and not a knock you over the head kind of lesson.

I think what I loved most about this novel is that Teddi is mostly happy with her life, which is a refreshing change from the many main characters these days that are struggling, suffering or received some sort of life altering news. She has already followed her dreams – and is successful at it. She’s even fine with her singleton status. The only blips on Teddi’s happy-meter is a mother who is less than thrilled with her career path, and, more significantly, her brother’s mysterious disappearance years ago, something she still struggles with as it was never resolved.

I grinned from ear to ear during this book. I whooped out loud, gasped in shock, and laughed and cried. What more can you ask for in a novel? Slap down Looking for Me in your summer must-read pile. You won’t be disappointed.

Thank you to Viking for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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  1. What a surprise! Thank you so much for your beautiful review of my new novel. I'm delighted that you loved Teddi's story. It's an honor to have earned a 5-star review, and doubly so that you've chosen it as one of your top five reads of the year!

  2. Thank YOU, Beth, for the fabulous read! I hope there's another one soon!



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