Bird of Paradise by Vicki Covington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Honey Shuggart (now, there's a sweet name) is a Southern woman of a certain age, who has never had it easy. Her husband, whom she loved passionately, was a drunk who died young. She's never owned her own home, and lives sparely, as if to pick up at a moment's notice. She has waitressed and done what needed doing, always getting by.
Now, late in life, she has just a few things. She's always had the gift of voice, and sings in the senior choir at the Baptist Church. She has a grown son and a group of loyal friends, all as long on the tooth as she is. Honey's idea of cosmopolitan sophistication is Birmingham, Alabama, not that she ever strays that far. Her life is local.
So, when her sister Dinah keels over dead from a heart attack, while visiting the cemetery with Honey, it sets in motion a series of unexpected events. Turns out, Dinah had some money, something Honey has never had, and she leaves it, along with three fourths ownership of the family homestead, to Honey. The other one fourth goes to Dinah's late husband's grown daughter by a previous marriage. That would be Neva Joy, who wants to sell it.
Honey Shuggart is a woman who senses angels and believes in the Lord, so imagine her surprise when, at a zoning board meeting (to change the homestead from residential to commercial, to increase its value) she meets Judson, a retired attorney and avowed atheist, who has returned home after many years, to take up residence on Nectar Hill.
What do you suppose a woman who has stopped expecting anything from life except a comfortable routine of delivering meals on wheels, attending Wednesday night covered dish prayer meeting, and quilting on Fridays, does when life suddenly serves up all sorts of bounty? She might make it wait out on the porch like an untrustworthy stranger, or she might invite it in for casserole. Hon, you'll just have to read the book to find out.
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