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USA Today called Jo-Ann Mapson's national bestseller, Bad Girl Creek, "a valentine to oceans of good women who survive bad beginnings and worse men." Now the author, hailed as "one of the most gifted writers of the contemporary urban West" (Los Angeles Times), brings back the hard-luck women of her acclaimed previous novel -- and introduces another indelible character into their midst. "Me, I need a map to tell which town I'm in. I feel like ten miles of bad road, wondering how I got to where I am...." After finally wising up to her drunken rodeo-crooner lover ("Imagine Kevin Costner with an overbite"), Mary Madigan saddles up her twin Border collies and takes her act on the road, leaving miles of heartache and highway behind. Maddy's journey takes her across the South -- singing in and winning one karaoke contest after another -- and inexorably closer to a dreaded showdown with her past. In Oklahoma City, she meets Rick, a journalist haunted by his own ghosts. After he loses his job, he travels to his childhood home to set up camp. When he first runs into Maddy, she gives him the cold shoulder. But he's charming, and persistent, and before Maddy knows it she's got a travel companion and a new lover (with an all-too-familiar set of tricks). Their travels will ultimately bring them to Bad Girl Creek, where the ladies know him as "Rotten Rick" -- because he broke Nance's heart -- and where the waters have already been troubled. Phoebe's pregnancy is life-threatening, Nance's breakup diet has turned dangerously successful, Beryl is still struggling to adjust to life after prison, and HIV-positive Ness is distancing herself from the "healthy" world -- if you can call it that. But these are the Bad Girl Creek ladies: they are resilient. They have character. And, above all, they love each other. The ways they all pull together, cheer each other on through good times and bad, and cope with every curveball life throws at them make up the heart and soul of this powerful new novel, a bighearted book certain to win this exceptional author a new legion of devoted readers.
From the acclaimed author of The Wilder Sisters comes this bittersweet, deeply moving story of four displaced women who unite to run a flower farm, heal their hearts, and realize the depth and necessity of friendship. Phoebe Thomas has lived life as a spectator, confined to a wheelchair, in awe of her beloved Aunt Sadie and overshadowed by her financial wizard brother, James. But when Sadie dies, leaving her a flower farm, the world opens up to Phoebe in ways she could never have imagined. Taking in three roommates to help get the farm running, she finds herself, for the first time in her life, part of a close circle of woman friends. Each displaced from her home, these four women form an invaluable bond as they help one another learn to change their lives. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of California's central coast, Bad Girl Creek is the inspiring story of how friendship and purpose can transform even the most compromised of women, as well as situations. With her rich, melodic prose and charming wit, Jo-Ann Mapson enchantingly chronicles female strength, family complexities, life crises, the use of humor as a curative power, and love in all its many aspects. Bad Girl Creek is a breathless and pitch-perfect tragicomedy of female friendship in the new American West.
Those who do not remember family history are condemned to repeat it... Haunted by a failed marriage, a resentful son left deaf by a bout of meningitis, and the slow death of her artistic aspirations, Margaret Yearwood takes refuge in Blue Dog, New Mexico. There, in the shadow of Shiprock Mountain, and in the unlikely arms of Owen Garrett, she finds the courage to love again, and to be loved. And she comes to realize that even the most primal wounds scar over and that there's nothing so renewable or so healing as passion. This is a bittersweet story of ordinary people who must learn to heal family bonds before they are permanently severed.
Five challenging years have passed in the lives of the ladies of Bad Girl Creek. Beryl, Nance, Ness, and Phoebe have experienced their share of hardship and heartache, but also much happiness. Beryl now lives with Earl in Alaska, where the fissures in their relationship have started to spread. When Earl disappears one wintry night, some dark and desperate memories surface, forcing Beryl to take inventory and withdraw from her friends while she works things out. Nance, on the heels of a string of devastating miscarriages, has been advised to stop trying for a baby. Phoebe finds herself overwhelmed by her own daughter, Sally, who is five-years-old-going-on-thirty; meanwhile she is being romanced by an enigmatic Southern charmer named Andrew. And Ness tenderly nurses David Snow as he gradually succumbs to AIDS. The farm's successes have brought profits, but when a nursery opens across the road, the bar is set higher yet again. As Beryl wonders at Earl's fate, she is isolated by more than geography. Even as her friends in California are wondering what happened to Beryl, Beryl wonders the very same thing. But life rolls on, and in the midst of myriad misfortunes come explosive surprises. The old friends are challenged to reunite once again, to rediscover with fresh eyes the powerful words in Aunt Sadie's journal: Live life to the fullest. Love as often as you can. Regret nothing. Eat hearty. Laugh often. Plant flowers. And don't forget to dance.
Chloe Morgan is a thirty-three-year-old part-time waitress, small-time horse trainer, and full-time thoroughly toughened Western woman living in a corner of the dwindling canyonlands of Southern California. Calloused and wary, Chloe allows herself to love with total abandon and complete faith only her horse and her dog. That is, until a quirk in the weather and a sunrise funeral service cause her to cross the path of Henry Oliver, a sedate professor of folklore at the local college, who, like Chloe, has his reasons for holding back. But once Hank steps inside Chloe's makeshift cabin in the hills, Chloe realizes she must come to terms with her losses and decide between the life of solitude she had always thought was her fate and the love of a man who seems--at first--all wrong.
When thirty-four-year-old Chloe Morgan appears on Hank Oliver's doorstep in Cameron, Arizona, she arrives with more than her old white German shepherd, Hannah, and a rambunctious young horse in tow. Chloe is pregnant with Hank's child, and she's as tough-talking and vulnerable, skittish and tender as when last we saw her in Jo-Ann Mapson's acclaimed first novel, Hank & Chloe. As Chloe and Hank settle somewhat uneasily into domesticity, a local Navajo legend named Junior Whitebear returns home to collect his father's ashes and renew his own spirit after years spent in the art-world fast lane. When Junior arrives at the reservation, he doesn't expect to find a son he fathered unwittingly nine years ago; nor is he looking to fall in love with Chloe and to deliver her baby girl. Both events change his life, and the lives of those around him, forever. A passionate love story, Loving Chloe explores the emotional complexity of a love triangle with sympathy, humor, and compassion.
After losing her teaching position at the local university, Mariah Moon will do anything to keep her gifted twelve-year-old daughter, Lindsay, in a prestigious private school -- which means moving in with her mother and grandmother in an apartment above The Owl & Moon Café. When her mother, Allegra, is diagnosed with leukemia, Mariah rises to the challenge of running the café: mastering her mother's famous fudge and chatting up customers -- including a man who might just reawaken her heart. Meanwhile, Lindsay's controversial entry in a major national science contest creates a minor maelstrom in the cosseted Monterey Bay community. And Allegra, with one last great love affair in her, will revisit a man she loved so many years ago, and disclose the biggest secret of the Moon family: the identity of Mariah's father. Will the Moon women recognize this as the moment to do away with their family history of dubiously fathered children, and learn to forgive others and themselves in order to move forward? In her poignant new novel, bestselling author Jo-Ann Mapson explores the complexities of love and family with the keen eye and stylistic grace that have made her books perennial favorites.
The impact of four-year-old Spencer's death has rocked the Carpenter family. For Lainie, the loss of her son is unbearable, and now both her marriage and her very sanity are threatened. Her guitar-obsessed, slacker brother Russell isn't doing very well either, and his own love relationship is rapidly coming undone. Then there's Bop, her fierce and crusty 80-year-old grandfather. When he falls in love with a retired stripper, their earthy romance touches each of the Carpenters' lives in unexpected ways.
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