A novel featuring several ladies living in or near the small town of Avalon, Ill.
The tale opens with an interesting and comedic scene of a young woman, Connie, trying to rescue a lost goat she guesses might have been abused. In this scene, we are also introduced to Madeline, who runs the town’s popular teahouse, above which Madeline and Connie live. The scene then moves quickly to Isabel, who is not recovering from the trauma of her husband leaving her before he died; then to Yvonne, a plumber; then to Ava (the “other woman”); then to Frances; and so on. Perhaps these transitions from one character to another in such rapid succession comprise the author’s way of recreating the ambiance of the teahouse at its busiest or the feeling of flipping through a lot of scrapbooks with portraits of a multitude of faces quickly glimpsed. The women become members of a scrapbooking club started by Bettie, who likes to sell her scrapbook decorations at the teahouse. This is a long, crowded book, and a reader who cares about these ladies with their significant problems might feel bogged down with too many details, some over-the-top strange and some completely mundane.
This scrapbook of interesting, comic and tragic vignettes needs some nip and tuck to realize its full potential for passing along life lessons.