Sarah Addison Allen’s first book, “The Girl Who Chased The Moon,” (reviewed on April 24, 2010), didn’t break new ground. In fact, it was formulaic and predictable.
I should have learned my lesson.
Welcome to Walls of Water, North Carolina, home of 30-year-old Willa Jackson, who runs a coffee shop and Au Naturel Sporting Goods store. Jackson is the great-granddaughter of one of Walls of Water’s oldest families. The family lost its logging fortune and hill-top mansion, The Blue Ridge Madam, when the timber industry took a nosedive.
The Blue Ridge Madam is undergoing a facelift, thanks to Paxton Osgood, a socialite with nothing much in her life but real estate, club meetings and an ill-fated crush on dentist Sebastian Rogers.
Her brother, Colin, has taken a break from his career as a landscape architect to help arrange the gardens on the hilltop.
A skeleton is found when Colin and his crew are replanting a tree. Who died at the Blue Ridge Madam? Could it have been con man Tucker Devlin, who “worked his dark charms on the citizens of Walls of Water 75 years ago”? If the remains belong to Devlin, then who killed him? Could it have been Paxton’s grandmother? Or Willa’s grandmother? The two vied for Devlin’s attention.
Allen answers all the questions but one: Who cares?
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