An interesting story about a young woman finding her way through life. She grows up with a passion her mother thinks is pish-posh and useless but that her father secretly supports. She "runs away" from home after school to pursue her passion. Her mother holds a grudge about this for years. Her brother turns from wildlife lover to bitter activist.....until one day he simply disappears. No one knows if he got caught sabotaging poachers, fell down a cliff, or simply wandered away.
Eventually Teddi finds romance, comes home to make peace with her mother, and perhaps gather additional clues about her brother and where he might be or what happened to him.
Nothing earth-shattering, nothing outstanding. A gentle read about Teddi "Looking for herself" and coming to terms with what life is, what she wants out of it, and her way forward.
Beth Hoffman's Spring/Summer 2014 Tour:
NAPERVILLE, IL, Anderson's Bookshop, May 1
WICHITA, KS, Watermark Books, May 6
KANSAS CITY, MO, Unity Temple (with Rainy Day Books), May 8
WOODSTOCK, GA, Foxtale Book Shoppe, May 13
FAIRHOPE, AL, Page & Palette, May 15
EVANSVILLE, IN, Vanderburgh Public Library, June 15
Looking For Me
Author: Beth Hoffman
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books (Penguin)
(May 28, 2013)
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.
A chat with New York Times bestselling author Beth Hoffman
How did you come up with the idea for LOOKING FOR ME?
I was sitting at my desk going through stacks of old photographs. The more I sorted, the more I thought about my family and my childhood on the farm—how simple and uncomplicated life was, how much I missed the old barn and the fields that backed up to woodlands. I stared out the window and relived those days, and while I was caught up in the nostalgia, something flashed in my periphery. I turned to see a red-tailed hawk land on a tree branch. The morning light glaze across his pale chest, and just before he settled, he spread his rusty-red tail feathers. And then …WHAM! I had the beginning of my story.
Your book has dual settings of Charleston and Kentucky. What was it about those two settings that inspired you?
The atmosphere of the story I want to create determines the setting. I need to feel connected to a location’s history and culture, and I love to explore opposites. The juxtaposition of Charleston’s refinement to Slade, Kentucky’s rugged wilderness intrigued me. Red River Gorge is wild and mysterious while Charleston is known for its gorgeous architecture and gentility. Historic downtown Charleston was the perfect place for Teddi to reach for her dream while Kentucky was ideal to hold her roots.
LOOKING FOR ME touches on the power of objects—through them we remember our past and face our future—what are some objects that have held meaning for you in your own life??
I treasure photographs, letters, and the old jewelry that’s been passed down from the women in my life. By nature I’m a neat-nut and about as opposite to a hoarder as anyone could be, so I’m not inclined to keep things unless they truly have strong meaning to me. I do think it’s important to keep things that hold memories like family heirlooms, books, photographs and letters, but there’s a fine line between keeping what is precious or sentimental, and overloading my basement and attic with stuff.
My greatest joys are simple—spending time with my husband and our four-legged fur-kids, studying nature, working in the gardens, and reading. I also love to go antiquing with girlfriends, and just recently I’ve taken up photography.
You can visit Beth’s website at: www.BethHoffman.net
What is it About Southern Writers
by bestselling author Beth Hoffman
“What is it about Southern writers?” That question, asked by a gal with smiling eyes and pinkish-red hair, was posed to me following a luncheon where I spoke to ninety-three women and four men.
I looked at the line of people waiting to have their books signed and voiced the first thought that came to mind: “Southerners are born and raised surrounded by storytellers, it’s in their blood.” Then I signed her book and she was gently nudged aside by the next person in line. When I got back to the hotel, I thought about her question and wished I’d answered by saying this:
No matter where we live or temporarily hang our hats, our lives are shaped and re-shaped by the art of story. Whether told by those who were present when we entered the world or those who bid us farewell upon our exit, our individual and collective stories live on.
I believe the art of storytelling, and embellishing, is as Southern as sweet tea and tidal marshes. Most Southerners hold a bone-deep nostalgia for their kin, and it doesn’t matter one iota if they were benevolent folks or ruthless scoundrels. Nowhere in America has there been more glory, ruin, pride, shame, grace, and ancestral fascination. And Lord knows there certainly seems to be an abundance of ghosts. Even after they abandon their earthly bodies, some Southerners just can’t bring themselves to leave their homes and heirloom sterling behind. And I get it. I love my home so much that I named her Mamie, and truth be told, I suspect I’ll have difficulty leaving her when the time comes.
These are the things I wish I’d said to the woman who asked about Southern writers. Yes, even the bit about ghosts. Upon my demise if you pass by Mamie and happen to see a fleeting shadow of a woman tending her garden or sitting on the porch with a cat curled up in her lap and a little black-and-white dog at her feet, that woman will surely be me. And should you look up high to the angled windows, you just might see me there, too. It’s the room where I crafted (and embellished) my stories—Southern style.