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on March 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I never pay attention to the praise "blurbs" plastered on a book cover by "Best Selling Authors." I've worked in the publishing business and I know that a majority of the time, those authors haven't even read the book, they are simply helping each other out.
HOWEVER.
I'm quite sure the "famous" blurbs on Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale are true - because I, a very very very picky reader, opened the first page and couldn't put the book down!
I recently read a best selling author's most recent book and it really lacked a plot, was very character driven. While this does have a plot, it meanders, it winds slowly, however, in a wonderful, delightful awesome way. Like driving on the back roads to the beach on a beautiful summer morning and being struck by how green the trees are, how the sun drapes everything in a marmalade glow.
The characters are flawed, yet drawn in such a way that you instantly make a spot for them in your heart. The writing, Southern and luxurious with a bit of bite like a Kentucky bourbon pecan pie.
I can't remember being this excited about a book (more importantly, a new author) in a long, long time.
It doesn't matter what this book is about, because the author could probably write about walking to the mailbox and turn it into a masterpiece.
Do you get that I love this book?
It is about family, forgiveness, secrets, misunderstandings, friendships told in the course of a day during which aging but feisty Faith Bass Darling is practically giving away family heirlooms in an estate sale that she hastily put together on the morning of Dec 31, 1999.
As a Vine Reviewer, we have many, many, books to choose from. Most I end up choosing end up being "blah" as I'm hard to please. I am SO HAPPY I choose this (love a good Southern story) but I feel like I won the lottery because it is THAT good. I will be buying a copy when it officially comes out, and I will be buying copies for my friends/family who are readers.
Put this on top of your "MUST BUY" - and if you're like me -I rarely buy a book on Kindle if it is over 9.99 unless I REALLY THINK I'm going to love it - if this book is more than 9.99 on Kindle, I say, BUY IT! If you "sample it" and you love the preview, I can assure you, it starts off great, but continues to build and the strength of the writing and story stay consistently wonderful and interesting until the final conclusion.
Simply. Wonderful!!!!!!
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VINE VOICEon April 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I just finished this book, and while I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, it was fabulously entertaining. One by one, a cast of characters from this little Texas town were introduced. Each with a distinct personality, each with a memory or a thought about the Bass/Darling family.

What starts out as an ordinary garage sale on the last day of the previous millenium, turns into a day of redemption and reckoning. We learn the truths of these characters in a way that makes us root for each of them and their own personal battles.

You will be intrigued to find out why Faith Bass Darling is emptying her mansion of antiques and selling everything for next to nothing. Spanish linin tablecloths - 10 for $1. Dining room table - $20. Four poster Chippendale bed - $20.

You will be interested to hear about Bobbi, who went to the mansion only once as a child, but it became her dream to know more about these treasures.

You will be fascinated by the elephant clock, a treasure of epic proportions, that is worth of a museum, not just a big ol' mansion in a small Texas town.

You will fall in love with the Deputy Sheriff who has a history and a deep dark secret and looks out for Mrs. Darling.

You will loathe Claude Angus Darling, the deceased husband of Faith, who was not kind to his wife, to his children, to his children's friends.

You will love that the water lily painting - through divine intervention - makes it back home.

You will love the feeling of coming home that was written into the pages of this book, no matter where you grew up or where you currently live.

You will want to purchase this book because the read is so worth it.
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on June 2, 2012
Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale is a story of what happens at the end of a life. What are the things you keep, lose or give away...What happens when one day you wake up knowing this will be your last day?

If you are saucy 70 yr. old Faith Bass darling, the richest gal in Bass Texas you decide on the spur of the moment to have a garage sale and sell all the things you once thought were so very, very important to you.

Faith wakes up on the last day of 1999 confused and alone, knowing that tonight she will die but before she goes she must have a huge garage sale because God woke her up and told her so!

Her husband and son are dead, her daughter is estranged. She is alone with a house full of treasures. Her mind is failing and she is moving back and forth in time reflecting on the parts of her life, good and bad that she can still remember.

She reconnects with friends & neighbors she has not seen for years with her garage sale who are delighted with her high priced merchandise going for pennies!
There are some heartbreaking, funny and bittersweet moments in this book. It is a very good and satisfying read
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VINE VOICEon April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
While the world braces for computer chaos on the eve before Y2K, Faith Bass Darling has a different priority. She is the sole occupant of the family mansion in Bass, Texas. On December 31, 1999 she decides she will die the next day. To prepare, seventy-year-old Faith dons her best white summer dress and matching sun hat. She pays teenage boys to carry her belongings out onto the big wrap-around porch and front lawn. Tiffany lamps, an antique French clock, and an heirloom wedding ring from 1870 are some of the "bargains" she tags for a garage sale. Her Alzheimer disease hides any memory of the care given to these heirlooms by generations of her family.

Faith's life is told in a series of flashbacks. Her family losses are moving and sensitively told. Her garage sale and bargain-pricing of invaluable items show she puts little stock in worldly possessions. What ultimately matters to Faith Bass Darling is freedom from her mind, which she constantly struggles to keep intact.

Ironic and interesting are the sections titled "Provenance" where the author values and explains the history behind the "priceless" items Faith sells for a pittance. The book draws a line between rich and poor and is an important message that wealth doesn't necessarily bring happiness. Well-written and original, Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale is a debut deserving of your attention.

Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
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on September 28, 2012
The compelling story operates on so many levels that after finishing it one night, I enjoyed laying in the dark, recalling all of its cross-currants and their truths. A mother-daughter conflict is at the core, along with the family legend passed down through several generations about a bride's ring.

The wealthy mother, who is becoming senile, drags her valuables out onto her lawn to sell them for pennies on the dollar. This draws a stampede of townspeople: young and old, black and white, "high church" and low, trailer folks and neighboring mansion dwellers. Some come to protect the elderly woman; some come out of greed; and often (as in life) both motives collide in the same persons.

The Biblical "Where your treasure is, there also is your heart" is ultimately displayed in every character, (as it is in life). One of my favorites was an Episcopal clergyman, nearing retirement, who is facing that he has been merely mediocre at his calling. Now he is asked to serve in ways beyond anything he's ever dealt with, or even contemplated.

The unfolding of the mother-daughter estrangement, along with its backstory, contain several delicious surprises. They often involve irony, and invariably trigger an "of COURSE that would be the case!" in this reader. For me, these are the chief delights of skillfully drawn fiction.

If you're in a book club, I recommend this as a selection that could lead to a lively exchange among members. Any discussion would probably suggest something about your own family history, and would be bound to reveal what you value (and where your heart is).
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
On the last day of the millennium, right after midnight, Faith bass Darling, the richest old lady in Bass, Texas, heard a voice she hadn't heard for many years - the Almighty's. Considering that Faith and the Almighty hadn't been on speaking terms for some time, Faith decided she needed to listen. And apparently the Almighty himself told Faith to have a garage sale as part of a deal - a deal about death and dying and her late husband Claude and all that had happened in the 75 preceding years.

So dawn found Faith Bass darling dragging all sorts of precious antiques onto her front yard: a Louis XV elephant clock, a roomful of Louis Comfort Tiffany lamps, silverware, china, breakfronts, and sterling silver tea services.

When asked if she is losing her mind, Faith replies, "As we speak."

Simultaneously, heading back to town after being gone lo these many years is Faith's daughter Claudia. Faith is convinced that Claudia stole her heirloom wedding ring 20 years earlier. Claudia, in fact, did not steal the ring. Instead she left it tucked into a pigeonhole in the oak rolltop desk, and wrote her mother a letter telling her where it was.

Among the treasures being displayed on the front lawn are the rolltop desk... and a bundle of unopened letters from Claudia to her mother.

And so, as the townsfolk come to gawk and walk away with maybe a Monet for a nickel, Bobbi Ann, local antique dealer and longtime friend of Claudia's, is frantically summoning Claudia to deal with the situation and John Jasper, local lawman and boyhood friend of Faith's died-too-young son Mike, is trying to help Faith and understand all that she is telling him.

Faith, on the other hand, is divesting the mansion of its contents while confronting memories of her precious son, her less than precious and quite dead husband, and her willful disowned daughter, all before the 20th century goes out with a bang.

Here then, are the top ten things that are great about "Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale."

10. An evocative sensual description of a Texas oil town, made great generations ago and now moving on... or not.

9. Faith's insights on possessions. "Do you think it's a coincidence that `possessed' and `possessions' are the same word?"

8. A quick antique lesson, through Faith's collection and Bobbi's love of them. Did you know there were different types of Tiffany lamps? That Louis XV had a clock that was an elephant automaton? You will when you finish the book.

7. A sense of humor. Lynda Rutledge tells her tale with whimsy, warmth, and humor. Sure, it's about death and dying and the dead, but Rutledge sees it all with a smile.

6. Great characters. Besides Faith herself, there's the woman who used to clean for Faith, and was the keeper of the table of Tiffany lamps. Each week she made them shine. Now she's a professional woman, but she still remembers the joy the lamps gave her. John Jasper, whose promising football career ended the day Mike died, who watches over the town but never goes near the old bridge. The lonely minister, besotted with Faith, who gave her the painting from the rectory office and now thinks he should probably get it back. The characters are rich and varied, and their stories twisted and quirky and intriguing.

5. Interesting take on the slow slip from reality. Faith is on a journey many of us may take. Is this what it's really like?

4. Interesting history. You'll get a glimpse of Texas oil days.

3. Some great thoughts on aging and dying. "Without our memories, who are we, John Jasper?" Faith's gaze wandered again. "I'd rather not have some of my memories, and God knows it's been a small bit of grace not to remember them for long stretched of time. But good or bad, they're mine. They're who I am. And when the last one goes, what will I be? A celery stalk..."

2. Unraveling of sad and twisted tales - how Faith's son died, what happened to Claude, why John Jasper can't drive by the oil field. Each story is revealed, piece by piece, until we have the whole... or as whole as we're allowed to have.

1. It goes out with a bang. All the storylines come together in a grand finale where everyone gets a little bit of what they want, and perhaps a little bit of what they need.
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on May 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
One elderly wealthy widow. One prodigal daughter. One former high school football star. One antiques dealer with hometown ethics. One depressed Episcopal priest. A supporting cast of small-town Texans and departed relatives. All of these come together in an orchestral crescendo on the day when Faith Bass Darling hears the voice of God and starts hauling the family antiques out of her Victorian mansion and spreading them around the front lawn.

With that intriguing kickoff, this novel spins away in several directions--some tragic, some comic, all fascinating. We learn that Mrs. Darling is struggling with Alzheimer's and old resentments--and she's certain that today, December 31, 1999, will be her last day on Earth. Yet she can't seem to get things clear in her mind, and when her long-estranged daughter arrives, Faith doesn't know her. She does know John Jasper, her dead son's best friend who is now a deputy sheriff, but everyone else comes and goes, illusion and reality fading into each other. She's selling priceless antiques for whatever anyone is willing to pay, while one of her daughter's old friends rushes to rescue major items from the avid bargain-hunters.

In the course of the long and eventful day, virtually everyone who comes into contact with Faith finds ways to examine their own lives and memories, coming to terms with their own ghosts and clearing up old mistakes and misunderstandings. Even the Episcopal priest, whom she gifts with a dimestore portrait of Jesus that isn't what he really wants, becomes part of the wave of new insights and, some might argue, small miracles that sort of fall into place.

This is a lovely novel--funny, moving, thoughtful, truthful--with characters you can't help but like and care about. It leaves you pondering on what is really most important in your life, and hoping that Lynda Rutledge will write another book soon.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I always do love a good southern story. This one certainly did not disappoint. In fact, I was totally unable to put it down. Faith Bass Darling hasn't been outdoors in about 30 years. Now, at 74 and suffering from Alzheimer's disease, she's decided not only to venture outside, but to have a hell of a yard sale, too. The date was December 31, 1999. As you probably recall, we were all waiting for the big y2k disaster to strike. That really adds a certain touch to the story, and was a brilliant move by the author. Faith has hired a group of teenage boys to assist her in pulling all her sale items out of the house and spreading them on the yard of her Bass, Texas home.

What makes this yard sale different from the one's in our neighborhoods, Faith is extremely wealthy, and among the sale items are dozens of Tiffany lamps and one of a kind antiques. The author gives a great description of each item, listing the family history behind it, value and the item's provenance. Weaved in and out are family stories, all told with drama, wit and humor. The talent shown by this author is outstanding. She takes an unusual premise, goes from past to present flawlessly, and has drawn characters as richly nuanced as any I have ever met.

I am waiting anxiously for the next book by this author. In fact, I am probably going to reread Faith's story again. Some books are well written and engaging enough to merit a second read. Bravo!!
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on June 13, 2014
A fun, refreshing read reminiscent of Fannie Flagg books. It's so sad and yet so true that things we acquire and surround ourselves with during our lifetime become meaningless at death. Yet, the most important are the relationships which are brought to light in the novel. It's a good read.
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on September 9, 2012
Rutledge is a great writer who knows how to spin a yarn and then some. Through turns comic and serious, she tells a moving story of a mind in the last throes of reason and the ripple effect on its diverse cast of characters. Relationships are complicated and with surprising, unexpected twists. Rutledge has a great ear for dialog as well. Altogether an original work. Take it slow and try not to turn the pages quick; you'll want to savor the richness of her writing.
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