From Publishers Weekly
In Thebo's ambitious debut romance, Lottie Dougal, born and raised in Eudora, Kans., runs a stationery store in town and dispenses herbal remedies after hours. Newcomer James Emery is the town physician, and the townsfolk watch the pair's immediate courting behavior in fascination. Meanwhile, the number of Mexican workers at the nearby troubled quarry keeps rising, but the population remains invisible to the white locals. By the novel's halfway point, the idyll is shattered: James and Lottie's romance is imperiled, and the quarry's travails draw the town into an ugly confrontation whose focal points are Mexican-American banker Hector Rodriguez and us-against-them janitor Barney Lewis. Thebo is a skilled storyteller—her characters are carefully drawn, and their interactions sparkle—but the novel's conventional romance runs on a different track than its social realist conflict. The two never fall fully into line, despite the liberal doses of humor Thebo injects throughout. (Sept.)
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Timing in life is everything. Just ask Lottie Douglas, Eudora, Kansas' most beloved and beguiling shopkeeper-cum-herbalist. No sooner does she concoct a little love potion to help spur Jim Emery, the new town doctor, into proposing to her at long last then he goes out of town on a family emergency and returns with a new wifea faux pas that earns him the town's collective ire. As Lottie tends her broken heart, Eudora finds itself in the throes of an economic and social crisis that threatens to wipe the smiles off the faces of its otherwise cheerful citizens, and the town itself off the face of the earth. Readers learn of these trials and tribulations through the winsome voice of its offstage narrator, an engaging guide for an enchanting roller-coaster tour of this quintessentially charming small town, where everybody knows your name, business, shoe size, and what you had for breakfast. Beneath Thebo's frolicking, feel-good tale, however, lies sharp social commentary. Haggas, Carol