Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books (June 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433679302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433679308

This book is also available as an e-book.

June 1, 2013 A Dear Daphne Novel

With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.

My take on this book:
Daphne Ballinger's left her small town life in Appleton with high hopes of having a writing career in the Big Apple. Thing is it's thirteen years later, and she is finds herself stuck in a job that is far from what she hoped for, sharing the same apartment, and still heartsore from a relationship from ten years ago when a boyfriend burned her bad. When she gets a call from her father that her rather eccentric ninety-one year old aunt Dee passed away she goes home. She is soon surprised that her aunt left her sole beneficiary of everything that she owned, including a beautiful old Victorian, a vintage Corvette and plenty of money, there is just a couple of snafu's her aunt left some pretty specific requirements and Daphne has a year to fulfill her aunt's wishes. If she doesn't the house will be given to the "Cat House" the shelter where she adopted her beloved kitties Lucy and Ethel. As several secrets come to light about Aunt Dee Daphne learns things that she would have never guessed. Will Daphne leave New York behind and move back to Appleton, and if she does will she be able to meet the requirements of Dee's will? 

Melody Carlson is one of my all time favorite writers, her versatile writing skills, has taken me on several adventures and "Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel" allows me to watch Daphne Ballinger go from someone who seemed unhappily stuck in her life to someone with choices if only she can embrace them. Daphne is a character that is so easy to relate to, she was someone that had hopes and dreams, but after years of the same old same old her life was in a rut!  I enjoyed seeing the changes that precipitated in her life once she returned to Appleton. Plenty of secondary characters really stood out for me including Daphne's dad, his life was in transition as well, and the secrets that he learned about Aunt Dee was something that he took in stride.Even though Aunt Dee has passed away, her character played such an integral role in the plot, she seemed like a fun loving someone, who did have a few regrets and hoped to keep Daphne from making some of the same mistakes. Ms. Carlson's descriptions easily allowed me to feel the small town setting of the story, and the advice column reminded me of Dear Abby! While there is an inspirational bent to the story, it isn't overwhelming, and seemed perfectly plausible  I will say the author certainly left me hanging with the ending, and I know I will keep wondering until the next installment how things will work out for Daphne!  If you have never read anything by Ms. Carlson this book is the perfect time to start, or if you're like me and are a long time fan, you're not going to want to miss this one. I only hope readers don't have to wait long for the next installment in the Dear Daphne series!

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