Sunday, November 7, 2010

Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise

Liberation. That's the theme of CHARLOTTE FIGG TAKES OVER PARADISE, an uplifting, lively new novel by Joyce Magnin. When Charlotte Figg's oppressive, tyrannical husband of twenty years dies, the widow searches the internet and discovers a quaint, double-wide trailer in a place called "Paradise."  In an effort to escape her past and start anew, she purchases the place sight unseen, packs up with her dog and hits the road with high hopes. However, when Charlotte gets to Paradise, she finds her new digs anything but. 

Strapped with a trailer that is in complete disrepair, Charlotte, in search of a catharsis to ease her angst, takes to the kitchen and bakes her delectable fruit pies for her neighbors. It is in sharing each of these sweet treats that Charlotte slowly becomes acquainted with a cast of quirky characters as misfit as Charlotte, many of whom also feel trapped in dead-end marriages and stalled lives. There is a woman covered with tattoos, a dwarf, a woman who breast feeds a much too old child, a set of twins and a one-armed man. Charlotte remains undaunted by each challenge and person keeping her from the "paradise" she had envisioned for her future. She is determined to find meaning and purpose for her life, and in doing so, she becomes a catalyst that stirs things up in the community. As a means to reconnect with the joys of her youth and find herself again, Charlotte rallies the women of Paradise to join her in establishing a softball team. Think A League of Their Own meets The Bad News Bears. It is amid Charlotte's quest that the women of Paradise emerge to share a common bond, their individual secrets and tales of woe, and ultimately forge friendships. Domestic abuse is a thread running through this coming-of-middle-age, feel-good novel of faith and friendship.

NOTE: This book was reviewed via an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of the novel as provided by NetGalley.

Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise by Joyce Magnin
(Abingdon Press, Paperback, 9781426707667, 400pp.)
Publication Date: September 2010
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