by Bette Lee Crosby
Genres: Women's fiction
Louise Palmer is a settled-down person. A woman who wants nothing more than to remain in the same house until the day she dies. When her husband, Clay, announces an intention to quit his job and move to Florida, her life is thrown into a turmoil of mixed emotions and strained loyalties. Torn between Clay’s desire for “the good life” and the lifelong friendships of her quilting club, Louise struggles with what to do…until her best friend hatches a scheme to thwart the move. Before she discovers the truth of what matters most, a marriage will be tested, family relationships will fall apart and the friendships Louise tried to hold onto will change dramatically
I have read and enjoyed a few of Bette Lee Crosby’s books and was delighted at the chance to read What Matters Most. Crosby brings her characters to life and shares with us friendship, change, growth and most of all “what matters most.” Three word review: touching, realistic, inspirational.
Louise Palmer has mapped out her life since she was a child and if you asked her she could tell you exactly what she would be doing twenty years from now but all that changes when her husband Clay decides to take early retirement and sell their family home to move to Florida. Overwhelmed with the thought of leaving her friends and children she and her best friend devise a scheme to stop the move. The tale that unfolds was realistic, and inspirational with fleshed out characters I came to adore.
One of Crosby’s gifts is creating realistic characters that are flawed and then she allows them to grow throughout the novel. Louise Palmer could be me, she could be my next door neighbor and we all know a person just like her best friend Billie. Louise seems well rounded and adjusted in the beginning of the tale but as Crosby peels back her layers we begin to understand her actions and see her weaknesses. I imagine each of us can identify with her, as we often label our success as woman, wives, and members of our community by some of the things Louise did. I loved the transformation she undergoes and found her to be both likeable and genuine. Clay is a solid guy and a wonderful provider. He isn’t as sensitive as I would have liked or as physical but I imagine he is typical of a lot of spouses. *Clueless!* Secondary characters were an absolute hoot and added to Louise’s tale and I giggled quite often. Louise’s complaining, judgmental Aunt was hilarious and we all have one in our family. Lord, the things that came out of her mouth. The lovely old woman at K-mart was inspirational and one you just wanted to hug. Cherry is a woman I know you all have met, from the way she talks to how she dresses. She was delightful, over the top and had me laughing and cringing.
What Matters Most touches on so many subjects we as individuals face throughout our lives and of lessons learned. Some of us learn them early and some never do. What I love about Crosby is that she places her characters in realistic situations. I have moved six times in my marriage and the last has taken us the furthest from family and friends and Louise’s experiences hit home a few times. From the trip to their new home there were humorous and ridiculous moments as Louise tries to cope and I slipped right into the tale as her troubles became mine. The tale flowed beautifully with moments of panic, humor, fear and inspiration. I fell in love with her quirky, realistic characters and enjoyed the ride. While it offers up lessons it also had it’s fair share of humor and I giggled my way though this. I closed this book with a smile as I said good-bye to my new friends.
Fans of realistic characters, real life situations and humor will enjoy What Matters Most and it’s inspiring message. Betty Lee Crosby is the author of Spare Change, The Twelfth Child, Cupid’s Christmas and Cracks in the Sidewalk.
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