For Lucy Hatch and Ash Farrell, life in Mooney, Texas, is slow, simple and quiet. After three months, they are solidly, passionately in love. Lucy has a job at a flower shop; Ash works as a handyman during the day and a country-western singer at night. They are exploring their new life together, confident that everything will stay fresh and wonderful. How are they supposed to know that their lives will undergo a drastic upheaval in only one morning?
That upheaval arrives in the form of Ash’s fourteen-year-old daughter Denny, a lonely, insecure, and uniquely gifted child he has not seen since she was little. After being abandoned by her shrewish mother, Denny is left in a small town with a father she barely knows and the stranger he lives with. She struggles to reconnect with a man she only has vague memories of, and who she finds she has more in common with than either of them expect.
In this character-driven coming-of-age story, it's quickly apparent that everyone has a secret in small-town Texas, and that the seemingly tranquil burg has a dark side that we all like to pretend doesn’t exist. Marsha Moyer’s follow-up to her debut novel, The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch, is quiet and poignant, and has a strong tie to real-life that made me forget I was reading a piece of fiction. I grew up in a small town and know many of the characters, even if they go by different names, and while it may sound boring to cityfolk, the depth of character development and the style of writing make this book both captivating and memorable. The entire work is told in first-person, but the voice switches, with obvious clarity, between Lucy and Denny.
The first three chapters are a tad slow and I had to plod through them, and the ending wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for, but everything in between was very much worth my time. It kept my attention, caught my emotions, and forced me outside to find the first book. I can’t wait to read it; if it’s half as good as The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels, it will be money well spent.