Title: Leaving Carolina
Author: Tamara Leigh
Publisher’s Synopsis: Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.
Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.
Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.
First, I want to say that in my opinion, the publisher’s synopsis does nothing for this story. Had I read the back of this book in the bookstore, I’d never have bought it. So, if the synopsis doesn’t grab you, don’t let that stop you!
As for the book, other than a few minor warts, I loved it. It had all the escape of a fluff book with just enough ‘punch’ to make you want more. I was really challenged in my Christian walk by some of the things addressed in this book. She deals with very difficult and deep topics with an ease that is almost unfair (speaking as a writer anyway). Piper spends much of the book coming to grips with admitting an embarrassing secret from her past (and the negative effects it had on others), the protective walls she’s put up around her, and you even see her defense mechanisms in the choice of career she made.
The humor was perfectly timed and of ‘my kind’ of variety. I loved a few one liners that I’d give anything to quote but I doubt you’d appreciate out of context. The self pep talks were so similar to what I’ve done all my life that I could almost predict what she’d say and when. Expertly written in that regard.
My only real complaint (aside from that synopsis of course) is that the book is written in the first person present tense. I found it tedious to read that way. Why it couldn’t have been first person past I don’t know, but it made what was otherwise a delightful escape frustrating at times. Some sections were easier to lose myself in than others (mostly her jaunts into the past) but coming back out of them jarred. This isn’t necessarily a real problem. I just really don’t like first person present point of view in writing.
I am giving away this copy provided by Waterbrook/Multnomah so do comment so I can enter you into the drawing. To make your entry tell me if you enjoy first person present tense in writing. I’m very curious!