I thought this book was pretty good overall, reminiscent of Mitford Series books in some ways. But I also thought the introduction of abuse and threats later in the book detracted from an otherwise upbeat story. I never quite got a handle on Charlotte's actual age either.
When Charlotte's husband suddenly dies, she decides it's time to make some changes and to take her life in a different direction. After inquiring on a double-wide trailer, she sells her house, packs up her car and heads out for her new home. But once she get's there she finds that neither the trailer nor the trailer park is not as immaculate as the brochure represented.
But Charlotte is determined to make the best of it and starts to renovate her trailer. As the days and weeks go by she begins to met her unusual neighbors and together they slowly begins to become a community.
I loved this book. I loved the characters because they could be people that everyone of us knows. And while this book did make me smile and laugh a lot of the way through it, there were some serious plot lines that keep the the book well grounded.
This was a new author for me and I'm happy to say that I will be looking forward to reading more from her.
Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise evokes a wide range of emotions. I found myself laughing one minute and crying the next. As Charlotte moves through all the quirky scenes in the book, readers are slowly offered glimpses into her past to show her motivation. I love the subtle inspirational message, "the hand," the quirky characters I can relate to, the softball team, the pies...and, well, all the extra little touches that make this book so enjoyable! Joyce Magnin is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
This book starts out fast and holds your attention until the last page, Joyce Magnin is a new to me author, with a writing style that reminds me of Fannie Flagg, its a story of a lady really becoming the person she was meant to be, all it took was the death of her husband, and a move to a trailer park!
Charlotte Figg's husband Herman was the top Fuller brush salesman in his area, basically a unhappy man, Charlotte seemed oppressed by him, but a few pages in he drops dead in the kitchen floor, and even though Charlotte doesn't realize it yet her life is about to change for the better.
When Charlotte finds a life insurance policy in the bottom of Herman's salesman's bag, she knows at least she wont have to worry about money for a while. One of the first changes Charlotte makes is allowing a stray dog, whom she calls Lucky into her life. When Lucky steals the neighbors mail, Charlotte starts looking thru one of their magazines called Road Tripper, a RV magazine. When she comes across an ad that says nice looking double wide for sale with the contact person being Fergus Wrinkel at Paradise Trailer Park, she gets a bit of wanderlust, the picture included in the ad shows an eye catching trailer with wide window and awnings hanging with pots of pink and purple verbena. So she calls and purchases the trailer site unseen. So after selling her home, she heads for Paradise, where she is shocked at what she finds, instead of the pretty trailer in the ad she has purchased a run down mobile home that has racoons living inside it, when she complains to Mr. Wrinkel he informs her she is stuck with the trailer. Charlotte feels like such a fool, but soon she meets some people from the trailer park and they assure her that they will help her get her trailer fixed up.
She meets a quirky bunch of people at the trailer park from Rose Tattoo, to Ginger Rodgers, the trailer park residents each have their own issues. When Rose realizes that Charlotte used to play softball, she convinces Charlotte that they should get a team going in the trailer park. While everyone at the park suspicions that Mr Wrinkel his hiding something, Charlotte believes he is abusing his wife Suzie. When Charlotte encourages Suzie to leave Fergus, she realizes it wont be an easy thing to do, and when Fergus threatens Charlotte will she back off or will she continue to try and help Suzie?
Taking a trip to Paradise with Charlotte was a real adventure. The trailer park was filled with such a cast of characters, and Charlotte fit in perfectly. After the death of her husband, whom she was married to for 26 years, she was able to start living her life the way she wanted, and even though she sometimes made mistakes it seemed as if she had friends that were there to help her, and friends was something she never really had while Herman was alive. This story had some very humorous moments, but also some very serious ones as well, the one thing that Charlotte tended to do when she was upset or worried was bake pies. I really enjoyed the way the author allowed Charlotte to grow from a frumpy oppressed housewife into a lady with courage strength and a sense of who God wants her to be.
The author does an amazing job weaving this story in a way that allows the characters to capture your heart, I felt like I was visiting old friends while reading this book.
If you enjoy a story with a quirky cast of characters, that deals with a few tough topics then pick up this book, you wont regret it.
Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for providing me a review copy of this book.