Book Review of Bad Girl Creek : A Novel

Bad Girl Creek : A Novel
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From Publishers Weekly
The bestselling author of such hits as Hank & Chloe and Blue Rodeo launches a trilogy with this sentimental novel of communal life and reinvented family, centering on four women who come together, tending to each other and healing old wounds. Phoebe DeThomas has lived carefully all her life. Thirty-eight years old and in a wheelchair because of a bad heart, she's always felt dwarfed by her flamboyant aunt Sadie and her successful brother James. Now Sadie has died, bequeathing her a flower farm on California's Central Coast. In order to make a go of it, Phoebe takes in three women as boarder/farmhands. Each of the three is "homeless," having recently undergone traumatic life changes: Ness, a black cowgirl with a horse and a secret fear that she has AIDS, has lost her job; Nance, a down-on-her-luck Southern belle, has broken up with her boyfriend; and Beryl, a former kindergarten aide with a prison record, has been evicted from her apartment. All have families that are less than perfect and, living under the same roof, they soon become like blood relatives as they share their secrets and learn to trust again. Mapson combines poignancy with the good-natured banter of girlfriends in her tale of women in transition, waiting to be reborn. Short on conflict but long on comfort and characterization, this is neither the author's best nor her deepest work. Still, there are enough of the quiet charms that fans have come to expect for them to tune into the second installment when it is released.