From the publisher: 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.
Why I liked it: This book is the reason why I LOVE Southern fiction. With a storyteller’s easy grace, Beth Hoffman whisked me away on Teddi’s emotional journey from a small town farmer’s daughter to a successful antique shop owner. Filled with messages of hope, kindness and tolerance, the story cuts to the very core of what is meant by “paying it forward.”
I especially love how Teddi’s journey of self-discovery revolves around antiques. There’s something very beautiful about breathing new life into an old, unwanted item. One of the reasons why I adore Teddi is that she sees the beauty in everything and refuses to give up hope. With each chapter, I rooted for her as she struggled to connect with her emotionally-detached mother, and when she relentlessly searched for her missing brother. But what I love most about Teddi is that she’s kind to others without expecting anything in return.
One of my most favorite moments happened toward the end of the book when Teddi took pity on an old, destitute man who appeared at her store with a truck load of old antiques to sell. She didn’t particularly want to purchase unsolicited goods, but she didn’t have the heart to turn him away. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say that her good deeds paid off big time in the end!
Favorite secondary character: Of all the wonderful characters in this book, it’s hard to choose a favorite. As Teddi begins to find her place in the world, she befriends an unforgettable cast of characters, including Tula Jane Poteet, an old, eccentric kleptomaniac ; Olivia, Teddi’s romantically-challenged best friend; and Albert, a gifted antiques restorer with a sour disposition and a heart of gold.
I guess if I had to choose, my favorite would be Mr. Palmer, the owner of a Charleston antiques store who gave Teddi her first big break into the business. He was the first to recognize her artistic talent and gave her the encouragement to pursue her passion. We should all be so lucky to have a Mr. Palmer in our lives.
The narrator: If there was an academy award for audiobooks, this narrator should win best actress! Jenna Lamia does a stellar job capturing each of the characters’ unique voices. With her authentic Southern accent and effortless storytelling skills, she delivers a top-notch performance for a truly great book. She also narrates Hoffman’s debut novel, Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, which by the way is one of my all-time most favorite books. You can read all about it here!
Summed up in three words: Heartwarming, poignant, memorable.