BIRD OF PARADISE by Vicki Covington

BIRD OF PARADISE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An Alabama widow inherits three quarters of an estate and then finds her once-steady world spinning too fast--in a solid yet ethereal second novel from Covington (Gathering Home, 1988). Honey Shugart and her younger sister, Dinah, are visiting the cemetary on Veterans Day, placing flowers on their father's grave, when, suddenly, Dinah sends Honey a startled glance and proceeds to drop dead. Honey is a ""believer"" and death doesn't faze her much. She senses the presence of angels all around her and knows that Dinah will join their ranks. What does faze Honey, however, is the discovery that she's an heiress. She and Dinah's stepdaughter, Neva Joy, have been left a fair amount of money as well as Dinah's house, the homestead where Honey was raised. Things begin to happen too quickly for Honey when Neva Joy convinces her to have the property rezoned for commercial use and then a bus tour company makes an offer that will affect the entire neighborhood. In the process of making her decisions, Honey meets a retired lawyer, Judson Carmichael, who shakes up her life in a whole new way but never shakes her faith. Covington has all the right details here--the prayer groups and pimiento-cheese sandwiches, the gossip, good will, and gentle quirkiness of neighbors who've lived side by side for generations in a small southern town. If the racial themes she inserts seem somewhat beside the point and Honey's final choice of tenant for the homestead makes her seem a trifle too saintly, her story still holds sway. Old ways meet new ways here and stand triumphant--it's sweet and deceptively simple, not unlike an angel's song.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1990
ISBN: 0807123862
Publisher: Simon & Schuster