"Ms. Allen's books combine reality with fantasy in a whimsical story which will captivate readers."
Reviewed by Leanne Davis
Posted February 21, 2011
Fiction Women's Fiction
Emily Benedict grew up with a mother who dedicated her life
to doing good. She founded a school for young woman and was
known to participate in many good causes. When her mother
dies unexpectedly, Emily learns that she has a grandfather
in North Carolina. A grandfather she had never heard of
before; a man she knows nothing about. Emily comes to North
Carolina looking for answers... answers as to why her mother
kept her past such a secret and answers about why her mother
was so driven to achieve.
Vance Shelby stands 8 feet tall and has an intimidating
appearance. He lets Emily into his home but not into his
life. His arthritis keeps him on the ground floor of his
family home and he seems to have nothing to say to Emily.
As Emily meets people in town, she is stunned to learn that
her mother is considered by many to be spiteful and
responsible for the death of the son of the most prominent
family in town. Win Coffey lets his curiosity get the
better of him and seeks Emily out. His family is outraged
while the town watches in fascination. The only person who
is friendly is Julia.
Another misfit in their small town, Julia has returned to
settle her father's affairs. Julia was poorly treated by
Emily's mother but she knows how it feels to be ignored by
the cool crowd. She makes an effort to befriend Emily; to
be a friend.
As Emily searches for the truth about her family, she learns
other secrets about the Coffey family. She and Win will
become friends as his parents seek to keep them apart.
Ms. Allen has successfully combined small amounts of magic
with the intricacies of navigating life in a small town in
the Southern US. Her books are interesting and rewarding to
read. Her characters are intriguing. Combine them with
small doses of magic and you have a winning combination.
Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping
to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her
mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where
her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew,
she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby,
they’re a way of life:
Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your
mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight.
And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of
cakes, not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth
but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be
Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is
there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The
answers are never what you expect. But in this town of
lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.
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