Monday, October 12, 2015

Off the Bookshelf: HAND ME DOWN HUSBAND, by Rosanna Huffman

It's not often I get to read a book written by a friend. I have a number of books in my to-be-read stack and my wish list written by friends in ACFW. Slowly, I'm working my way through the stacks -- and making room to buy the ones on the list.

It's even more rare when I chuck all the items on my do list for the day and just lie down on my couch and read the whole day away. What makes the experience even sweeter is when it's a book I heard about when it was just a twinkle in the author's eye, and a chuckle in her voice as she talked about her idea!

HAND ME DOWN HUSBAND

Rosanna's story could have taken place in the next county. The farming community has its share of characters -- the oblivious, the caring, the self-important, the interfering, the ones who can't say no, the grieving, the lonely, and the ones who care to the point of frustrating the ones who really don't want their help. Yeah, you've been in a community like that. Then there are the people you just want to grab by their ankles and slap them against the wall until they straighten out.

Which just proves Rosanna knows how to write characters that are real, and make you care about them.

Suzanne is a teacher in a small church-run school who cares about her students, adored by her students, and overlooked and unappreciated by everyone else -- her family, the school board, and people in church who only see her when they need help but never notice when she needs help. She has had to fight -- quietly -- for what she has in life, and has made some resolutions she sticks to, no matter how inconvenient. Such as no hand-me-downs -- she's not taking anyone's discards anymore, in terms of clothes, furniture, and even boyfriends.

Mitch is a widower, going on two years when the story starts. When he is talked into taking over as principal of the school, he notices Suzanne and really sees her like no one has in her entire life. He appreciates her, he sees how she is taken advantage of, As they change from co-workers to friends to something deeper and sweeter, they face a number of obstacles -- the difference in their ages, interference from his family, matchmaking friends who want Suzanne with someone else, and their own still-healing wounds.

Lovely debut novel -- and I'm not just saying that because she's my friend.

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