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AWARD-WINNING SOUTHERN FICTION
Caroline Sweetwater is writing a love story, but she is certainly not living one. She’s in a relationship that has gone from bad to worse. Desperate to get away from this loveless affair, Caroline jumps at the chance to move to Virginia and live with the grandmother she’s never met.
All she wants is a quiet place where she can write. But what she finds is a house filled with lovable strangers, and a magical antique shop where Peter Pennington, the proprietor, knows exactly what she will need and when she will need it. When a pocket watch goes missing for the second time he warns of the danger ahead, but will Caroline listen and heed his advice?
In an uplifting story that is rich with magic and mystery Crosby’s characters resonate with the warmhearted joy of a pay-it-forward philosophy.
Previously Loved Treasures is the winner of the 2014 Reader’s Favorite Silver Medal Award for Southern Fiction.
A magical Memory House Collection Novel.
Literary Awards for Previously Loved Treasures –
Finalist Royal Palm Literary Award
FPA President’s Book Award
Reader’s Favorite for Southern Fiction
Praise for Previously Loved Treasures –
Reviewed By Suzanne Cowles for Readers’ Favorite
Previously Loved Treasures by Bette Lee Crosby is a heartwarming fiction story, book two of the Serendipity Series, about protagonist Ida Sweetwater, a recent widow. Left alone with little money and forced to come up with creative ways to finance the professional services of a private investigator, she uses odd jobs and socking away pennies from her daily chores to fund the dream of finding her estranged son who walked out years ago. She slowly fills a big empty house with paying boarders, one of which is her shifty brother-in-law. In getting to know the tenants and tending to their needs with true southern hospitality, she discovers that she has a granddaughter. The promise of a new relationship quickly replaces her hope of ever finding her son. The two form a close bond as Ida teaches Caroline how to cook and encourages her to finish writing her novel. Amid the hubbub at the house, Ida befriends a thrift-store owner who is a peculiar fellow. The gentleman solves problems she does not know she has, then tragedy strikes leaving Caroline all alone to run the house.
Betty Lee Crosby uses her skill with colloquial phrases and mannerisms to describe a world reminiscent of depression era times, when a dollar went a very long way. In Previously Loved Treasures, Crosby alternates third person chapters with various characters’ personal thoughts as a creative device. This makes it easy to get to know and love the diverse characters. Dispensed throughout are plenty of feel-good moments, small moral triumphs and personal victories, all the while leading to a happy conclusion.Read an excerpt of Previously Loved Treasures Discussion Questions for Previously Loved Treasures
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Z is for Realization
Ida lay on the bed sobbing long into the night before her tears ran dry and sleep finally overcame her. In the morning she woke with her eyes crusted and her hair matted, but during the night she had come to the realization that she needed help if she wanted to do anything more than simply wish for James to come home.
She called Sam Caldwell first. He was not someone she knew but simply a name taken from the yellow pages of the telephone book. “Investigations and surveillance” the ad said. Then it told how Sam had been in business for more than twenty years and was registered with the county and state. But it was the tagline that convinced Ida to make the call. At the bottom of Sam Caldwell’s ad in a seemingly hand-written script it read, “Missing Persons Specialist.”
When Ida Jean Sweetwater walked into Sam Caldwell’s office she was prepared to answer questions about her missing son. She’d brought along a picture and a shirt she’d taken from his closet. She thought she was prepared for anything, but she wasn’t prepared for the sizable price tag hanging on Sam Caldwell’s services.
“It’s an eight hundred-dollar retainer to cover the first two weeks,” he said, “then three hundred a week for as long as I’m actively working the case.”
Ida gasped. “Doesn’t that seem rather high?”
“Not really,” Sam answered. Then he explained that expenses were extra.
Ida hesitated for a moment, picturing the balance in her checking account. “How long do you think it would take to find James?”
Caldwell shrugged. “Could be days, could be months.”
Ida pictured the bank account again. There had been so many expenses: Jim’s illness, the doctor bills, the funeral. She could swing two months if she cut back on groceries and Sam’s expenses didn’t cost too much.
“Okay,” she said. “You’re hired.”
She pulled out the checkbook that still had Jim’s name on it and in a shaky hand wrote the check for eight hundred dollars. She had never in all her life written a check for that much money.