E is for Ethan Allen

Spare Change

Spare Change

Series: Wyattsville Series, Book 1
Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing
ISBN: 0983887918
FROM A USA TODAY AUTHOR OF WOMEN’S FICTION BEST SELLERS comes an Award-Winning 20th Century Historical Mystery!
About the Book

Buy the book now – CLICK HERE

FROM A USA TODAY AUTHOR OF WOMEN’S FICTION BEST SELLERS comes an Award-Winning 20th Century Historical Mystery!

In a family saga now available on Kindle, Spare Change has been compared to John Grisham’s The Client. Eleven year-old Ethan Allen Doyle has witnessed a brutal murder and now the boy is running for his life. In the time-tested tradition of Southern Fiction novels, Crosby unveils the darkest side of human nature and then rewards her readers with this beautiful tale of love, loss and unexpected gifts.

Olivia Westerly is the only person Ethan Allen can trust, and he’s not too sure he can trust her. She’s got no love of children and a truckload of superstitions—one of them is the belief that eleven is the unluckiest number on earth.

Psychological fiction that will keep you turning the pages.

Literary Awards for Spare Change –

USA Today Bestseller
Amazon Bestseller
Barnes & Noble Bestseller
Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner
FAPA President’s Book Award
Royal Palm Literary Award
Readers View Regional Fiction
Eadon Contemporary Fiction Award
Book Bundlz Finalist
Independent Author Network – First Place Winner for Outstanding General Fiction Novel

Praise for Spare Change –

Midwest Book Review
“Skillfully written, “Spare Change” clearly demonstrates Bette Lee Crosby’s ability to engage her readers rapt attention from beginning to end. A thoroughly entertaining work of immense literary merit and strongly recommended for community library literary fiction and mystery collections, “Spare Change” is especially recommended for fans of well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Julie Summers.

Seattle Post Intelligencer
Bette Lee Crosby’s Spare Change is a quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life, madcap adventures of a young boy and a late change of heart that made all the difference in the life of an unusually independent woman. More than anything, it is a heartwarming book, which is simultaneously intriguing and just plain fun.

Olivia Ann Westerly has always refused to conform. Instead of marrying and raising a family, as her father expected her to, she left home and found a job, rented a flat and had tons of fun. Oh, did I mention that she did that in 1923, when she was only 25-years-old? While today that would not have been anything extraordinary, she certainly was an exception back then. And then she decided not to marry and to continue her career, living in this manner quite happily all the way until 1956. It was then that she met Charlie Doyle and fell madly in love, agreeing to marry him without any hesitation when he asked her to.

But then Charlie had to go and die while they were on their honeymoon, and Olivia seemed to have lost all her will to do anything. Until Ethan Allen Doyle, Charlie’s grandson, showed up on her doorstep. Olivia never wanted children, so why would she change her mind now? And to make matters worse, Ethan Allen was 11-years-old and number 11 has always been a bad omen for Olivia. To top everything else, it was clear that Ethan Allen was hiding something. Was there any chance of a happy ending here?

I truly enjoyed this imaginative and very entertaining story. Told from many different perspectives, it kept my interest from beginning to end. The voices of the characters were very distinct and the good ones were easy to like, just like the bad guys were easy to hate and fear. It does not happen very often that I truly like the more minor characters in any book, since most of them never get the chance to develop enough to be really interesting, but Clara was one of my favorites here – heart of gold and brassy manners, what more could one want in a friend? She was just one in the substantial line-up of supporting characters who kept Ethan Allen’s presence in Olivia’s building a secret, or at least they thought so. Every one of those characters was well-defined and completely believable.

Furthermore, I enjoyed the storyline and the lively dialogue, as well as the rapidly unraveling mystery of the secret Ethan Allen was trying to keep to himself. And I am going to do my best to keep the beginning of the story, as told by Olivia, in mind for the future. Here’s what she had to say..

“I don’t suppose there’s a person walking the earth who doesn’t now and again think if I had the chance to live my life over, I’d sure as hell do it differently. When you get to a certain age and realize how much time you’ve wasted on pure foolishness, you’re bound to smack yourself in the head and ask, what in the world was I thinking? Everybody’s got regrets; myself included.

Some people go to their grave without ever getting a chance to climb out of that ditch they’ve dug for themselves, others get lucky. Of course, the thing about luck is that you’ve got to recognize it, when it walks up’ and says hello, the way Charlie Doyle did.”

Those two paragraphs alone would be enough for me to like this book and recommend it, yet they were truly just the beginning. If you want to know more, you will simply have to read Spare Change yourself, and I am certain you will not regret that. – Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson

Read the Book Discussion Questions for Spare Change Read an excerpt from Spare Change

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E is for Ethan Allen

“He’s got a name,” the nurse answered.

“He has?” Benjamin picked up the birth certificate and read it.

“Shit, almighty!” he growled, after reading the boy’s name. “You named the kid after that fucking furniture store?!”

Susanna laughed like a person satisfied with the results of a practical joke. “Maybe I can sell him,” she said. “Like that maple sofa.”

That’s how it was the boy came to be called Ethan Allen. Once Susanna came home from the hospital, she ignored the child altogether and spent her days crying. She’d wake in the morning, then slide right back under the bedcover and pick up where she’d left off the night before.  “Why me?” she’d howl. “Why me?” 

For the first three months of his life, Ethan Allen screamed longer and harder than did Susanna. It seemed he was always hungry or wet or at times crying for no apparent reason. Despite his rough hands and lack of tolerance, Benjamin was the one who heated the bottles of formula and changed diapers. Once the baby had been fed and dried, Benjamin would drop him into his crib and hurry off to a bunch of soy beans that needed planting. “We’re never going to New York if you don’t get your ass out of bed and see to this baby,” he’d tell Susanna, and then he’d beat it out the door before she let go of a string of profanities.

The first time she held the baby was one morning in late September.  An early frost had covered the ground, and Benjamin, fearing the worst, rushed off without feeding the boy. Ethan Allen howled like a tomcat for three hours until Susanna finally went to him. “You gonna keep squalling forever?” she said, lifting the baby into her arms. The crying stopped immediately. “Ornery little cuss. Hell bent on getting your way, ain’t you?” She grinned. “Just like your mama.” After that Susanna found she could tolerate the baby and, at times, even love him. “You got eyes like Mama,” she’d coo, then drop him into the crib and head off to the beauty parlor in town. 

Benjamin had hoped having a baby would settle Susanna down, make her forget the nonsense about a singing career. Of course, it didn’t. “When are we gonna take that trip to New York?” she’d ask. “I’ve heard tell Radio City Music Hall is hiring some new Rockettes.” Once a thought like that got into her head, she’d work on her singing for days on end. Ethan Allen would be wanting his oatmeal, but she’d be dancing atop the coffee table in her panties and a lace brassiere.

About the author

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures." Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down." "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write." It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: TheRoyal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

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