by Bette Lee Crosby
Series: Wyattsville #1
Genres: Historical Fiction
Spare Change is the story of Olivia Westerly, a woman whose father disowned her when she tossed her nose in the air and left home in pursuit of a job he considered scandalous. He expected that she'd marry and settle into having babies as her friends had done; but Olivia simply couldn't tolerate the thought. Why just the mere mention of children sent chills up her spine. Believing that children weigh a woman down like a pocketful of stones, Olivia avoids such entanglements for over forty years...but then she meets Charlie Doyle and everything changes. Even though Charlie has a son and a grandson he's supposedly never seen, Olivia is blinded by love and happily says "I do." That happiness is cut short when Charlie dies before the honeymoon is over and Olivia returns home to find eleven-year-old Ethan Allen Doyle sitting on her doorstep. His parents are dead and only two people know the truth of what happened- Ethan Allen isn't talking and the murderer wants to make sure he never does. Olivia is the only one who can stop it from happening.
Every once in a while you read a book with characters that touch you. It’s the kind of book you want to share with others. Spare Change is that type of book. It’s the story of a woman who fears marriage and children at a time when all women long to walk down the aisle. It is a beautiful, heartwarming tale about love, loss and unexpected gifts. It deals with a violent murder, a witness and those who wish to keep it a secret. Above all, this novel offers characters you won’t soon forget.
Told from multiple points of view, this tale seeped from the pages and wrapped itself around my heart. I loved Crosby’s writing style. She took me into the mind of each character and with the character of Ethan Allen; she touched my heart. I am the mother of three and I had this overwhelming desire to scoop him up and hold him. Olivia cracked me up with her fears and superstitions and touched me with her bravery. Ethan Allen’s mother is a memorable character who will shock you with her antics. The folks within the apartment community were delightful and I loved the way they protected Ethan Allen. While Spare Change, could have been delivered in a dark tragic tone; Crosby focuses’ on the strength of humankind and the power of faith and love.
I highly recommend Spare Change to everyone. I read this novel in a few hours, but it will stay with me a lifetime. In my opinion, this novel could find itself on the classics bookshelf. This would make an excellent book of the month, as it is sure to create discussion and evoke emotions. I am adding Betty Lee Crosby to my list of must-read authors. This novel is available in paper and eBook formats.