Elaine reviews Spare Change – Reader Salute

Enjoy this review from Elaine on Goodreads about Spare Change!

Elaine reviews Spare Change – Reader Salute

Turn off your cell phone and butter up some popcorn when you read Spare Change because you’re reading a book you’ll swear some studio has already bought the rights to turn into a movie. I admit, I’m drawn to southern characters and southern tales and Ms. Crosby has cooked up a good one in Spare Change. The characters are fully developed and layered with endearing traits, annoying habits and the right amount of quirkiness. They were so real, I wanted to sit in a booth next to them just to eavesdrop on their conversations you’ll be sure they’re having outside the book’s narrative.

Olivia Westerly is a confirmed bachelorette in an era when women aspired to marriage versus a career. Marriage means children and children mean emotional imprisonment. Olivia passes judgment on motherhood as she describes the birth of a friend’s child as having “added another one to her litter” and the baby as “howling like a banshee”” and how all the children “suck on her like so many leaches”. Ms. Crosby puts the reader in the mind of the characters in such a way that although we may not see the world the same way as her characters, the reader will certainly find her characters believable. The dialogue is refreshing, as well. Many writers struggle with bringing a voice to their characters through effective dialogue, but not Ms. Crosby. It is another hidden gem in this thoroughly enjoyable tale.

When Olivia is past childbearing years, she allows herself to fall hopelessly and deeply in love with Charlie Doyle. But their life together is not destined to be long one. When he passes suddenly, he unexpectedly leaves her with his young grandson. Except Olivia doesn’t know it, because besides her own story, there is another story unfolding which will soon bring together the lives of a young boy and an older woman who never wanted children.

Ethan Allen Doyle grew up in a combative household with a father who could be cruel and a mother so self absorbed and resentful of her life she couldn’t nurture him. The boy is a survivor who is both wise and naïve. Without some positive change to the trajectory of his life, you sense he will end up living the same sad life his parents do. When he runs away from home under tragic circumstances, he ends up on the doorstep of Olivia Westerly Doyle. The reason he is there and the ensuing drama bring a touch of suspense to this southern read.

Spare Change is a book about transformation, most notably Ethan’s and Olivia’s. But there are also the characters surrounding them who are transformed. I especially love the eclectic group of elderly neighbors living in the same apartment building as Olivia. They not only change the apartment building’s rules to accommodate a boy and his dog but to embrace and protect him. The rascally young boy changes them, as much as, their influence and the influence of his adopted grandmother Olivia, who never a desire to raise a child, changes him.

Word of advice, if this ever makes it to the big screen, bring tissues to the movie theater. At the end, I found myself brushing back my tears. Meanwhile, you can catch all of the action on your Kindle or in paperback.
[mybooktable book=”spare-change”]

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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