This is one of my all time favorite books--it has a unique storyline and unique wonderful characters. I must have read it a half dozen times or more. The characters in the book are just so multidimensional, even the 'bad guys'. I love how the entire town gets hooked on Mrs. Millenbutter's book "A Ladies' Guide to Good Health, Fine Posture, and Spiritual Completeness"
I liked both Cora and Jedwin, two odd people with a ton of baggage who seem to fit. Jedwin grows from a nervous hen pecked youngster to a steady and sure man who throws off the trappings of his family and society and goes for what he wants helping Cora realize she can have more than her subsistence living at the edge of town.
Where I had problems were the group hug aspects of the ending. You have a town with people who have berated, gossiped, and shamed her for eight years. They leave her at poverty level not caring that she can't get work to buy food. She has a side deal with a shop keeper to sell her stuff anonymously but he cheats her and propositions her. So all of a sudden at the end everyone has a personality change, says they are sorry and it's all okay?
This has to be about the best book I've read this year; it's funny, full of quirky characters who haul around lots of baggage. The secret of Morsi's success is that she takes plain folks, puts them in odd situations and allows us to watch their efforts to work themselves out of the corner.
Jedwin Sparrow has inherited his father's mortuary but cannot overcome his illness around the work of embalming. Jedwin is a shy, inexperienced lover who decides to ask the local divorcee to help him become skilled in sexual matters! In exchange, he will make improvements on her (run-down) home and give her a small income.
Cora, who is practical but nearly destitute, is at first horrified by Jedwin's suggestion, then angry. However, she has been alone for 8 years and is charmed by Jedwin's honesty. So she offers to let him court her. It doesn't hurt that Jedwin's mother has made Cora's life miserable; this may be a chance to tweak Mama's nose.
Now this is uncomplicated until the town snoops join the mix â and they all seem to be busy-bodies. We learn that Jedwin is a hen-pecked son who just wants to sow a few wild oats. This is a charming story about two wonderful misfits who learn they fit together quite well.
Jedwin is an amazing, if unlikely, hero; his poetry is side-splitting. The author takes her time unrolling the twine of their earlier lives. The only thing I thought off-putting by this story was the quick change in the townspeople (in the end). Cora was a much stronger person than I gave her credit for being.
Overall, this story is so unique and special that I decided to ignore that part and savor the total tale. I could not put this book down.