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Friday, October 8, 2010

One True Place by Margaret P. Cunningham

One True Place by Margaret P. Cunningham
Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (255 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

The path to True's love ...
Never did run smooth

When True Cowley’s golf-obsessed husband drops dead and his duplicity comes to light, she’s left emotionally and financially drained. True takes advantage of a free burial plot in her birthplace—a southern coastal town she’s spent a lifetime avoiding. She’s soon immersed in a riddle of secrets and memories of the antebellum house known as Oak View.

The very mysterious, very handsome Jackson Bean knows a funeral certainly isn’t the best place to notice a beautiful woman—particularly when that woman is the widow. When True becomes a tenant in his rental home, the two join forces in shedding light on those shadowy secrets—and find there’s a lot more to their relationship than partners-in-crime-solving.

Beguiling, winsome, and refreshing One True Place begins in a somber place but quickly moves to a place full of eccentric and secretive characters loaded with flaws and foibles that make the third phase of True Cowley’s life an eye-opening adventure. Her endeavors to make a living while grieving for a dead husband that left almost as many debts as he left assets gets disrupted by all sorts of entertaining and intriguing happenings in the Alabama town of Belle Hill where she has lived until she was four years old. After having lived the life of a rich man’s wife for almost three decades in a ritzy community of Florida, True experiences some culture shock but finds herself acclimating with remarkable ease in the unique Belle Hill.

Courtesy of Maisy Downey a longtime friend of True’s family, True has a job as events coordinator at Oak View the magnificent old antebellum home where she had lived as a small child. There she finds herself in the middle of a “secret” search, by many of the locals, for a will and a journal both connected to her and a possible inheritance.

Jackson Bean, True’s landlord is kin to Maisy Downey. They watch over True as she finds her way into the workings of a society with deep roots in Belle Hill — a somewhat insular society. Jackson has far more income than he has job, which is one of the town’s long-running gossip subjects, even though he is an intricate part of the doings in the community. While True labels him the Marlboro man, for he is handsome, she declares him not-for-her. His secretiveness reminds her of the secrets her husband had kept from her.

Margaret P. Cunningham’s descriptions of places and feelings are exquisite. Her character development makes them vibrant and so life-like. Many of the secondary characters make One True Place simmer, sizzle, and boil with action.

The pompous Dr. Bertram Wallace Ph.D. and his obsession with Oak View and his place of power is a pain in the neck, while Jane E., a cousin of Jackson’s who does most of the catering for Oak View events, is an invaluable friend to True. Jane E.’s unvarnished truths about some of the characters make chuckles and giggles bubble up. She says Jackson is a wild card that is messed and for a very good reason. She adds that he has personality plus, he understands women and likes them, but he also likes to hunt and fish with his buddies down on the delta.

The “old-maid” Honeychurch sisters are eccentrics with ulterior motives. They invite Jackson and True to dinner and serve mojitos made with 150 proof rum along with soggy leftovers filched from an Oak View party. However, the black man Carver and the eccentric, fortune-telling, rich Maisy Downey influence the unfolding of True’s life story in tantalizing style.

Margaret P. Cunningham weaves many attention-getting characters into One True Place as she creates a story that is super entertaining while she unravels True’s past and nudges her into a future full of love that promises to protect and fulfill her deepest longings. A GREAT STORY!