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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Best Bet by Laura Pedersen

Best Bet by Laura Pedersen
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (299 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Since Hallie's father died and left behind ten children, money at the Palmer household is tighter than ever. And just when Hallie thought she was graduating from college, it turns out she's four credits short. A professor needs one more student for a project that will take her around the world, only longtime boyfriend Craig has another proposition for Hallie.

Thus begins Hallie's great odyssey, for the first time she ventures outside the safety of Cosgrove County and the sixty-mile radius in which she's functioned for her entire life. But somehow, escaping home doesn’t translate into leaving behind all of her problems, and, unfortunately, not all can be solved by putting her superior gambling skills to work.

Eventually, it’s time to return home to all the good people who are great at driving each other crazy. Hallie must finally face the biggest decision of her life.

Humorous and heartfelt, Best Bet underscores the importance of friends, family, and a sense of belonging. The characters in this modest, but neighborly, small town prove that an ordinary existence made up of small but genuine moments can satisfy a soul that’s hungry for life in all of its glories and disappointments.

Humor and acceptance of each other’s eccentricities make the characters in Best Betsparkle as they whet the reader’s interest in what they will do next.

Stereotypes are knocked askew as male and female roles are reversed. Hallie Palmer believes Craig will wait for her when she decides to see if “the grass is greener” in places away from Cosgrove County.

That uncertainty that comes between finishing college and joining the adult world of work and permanent commitments has Hallie questioning her own judgment, making her feel vulnerable. As she finds her way, with the help of some zany, delightful characters, the reader gets to enjoy her journey that is filled with experiences that help her find what she truly values in life. She learns what Pastor Costello meant when he said, “You have to be yourself, because everyone else is taken”.

She measures “the extraordinary” against the “ordinary” and comes to realize that, “It is only with the heart one can see right, what is essential is invisible to the eye”.

The secondary characters give the reader a glimpse into life-styles that run the gamut with love and enthusiasm for life shining forth in every one of them. Craig and Bernard are exceptional in their outlook on life.

Laura Pedersen has a way with humor and timing that make the actions of the characters throb with living life to the fullest. She creates characters that accept, support, and even love each other—each in his or her unique way. The imagery in Best Bet makes it a delight to read. I loved the black night sky full of stars referred to as “heaven’s screensaver”. I definitely recommend this book and give it 4.5 books.