Monday, September 26, 2016

Cupidity, by Patricia Wood (author), Michelle Babb (narrator)

Patricia Wood, February 2015

Tammy Louise Tyree is working hard in her small town to support herself and her autistic younger brother Jar (their now-deceased mother at first thought the doctor said "artistic"), with the comforting presence and emotional support of their Uncle E.

She works as a waitress at the Two Spoons Cafe, does house-cleaning, moves things for people in her pickup truck Dolly, and whatever else she can to make money. Uncle E also makes whirligigs, which she sells. It's hard work, and she's barely keeping things together, but she is keeping things together.

Then she gets a totally unexpected email from a solicitor in Botswana, informing her that if she is related to the missionary Tyrees, she has a $5 million inheritance coming to her. There are just a few fees involved in resolving all the paperwork...

Tammy isn't stupid, but she is naive, and there's no doubt in her mind that, if she can only cover those fees, the troubles of the Tyrees are at an end.

She tries, ans the letter asked, to keep it confidential. Over course she tells Uncle E, though.

E tells just a few people, though.

And suddenly the whole town knows, and many of them are eager to help her with those fees, in exchange for subsequent funding for their own projects. But meanwhile she still has to pay her bills and put food on the table, and everything gets harder when Uncle E dies suddenly.

There's no one to watch Jar when she's working. Not that Uncle E was overly reliable in that regard, although he had the best of intentions. It turns out he entered into a very ill-advised deal with Cousin Lonny, who is really not to be trusted. And being dead, E is also no longer around to make the whirligigs for Tammy to sell. She figures she'll at least cut out and assemble the one E had ready to go, and she has Jar help her, with the parts that don't involve the jigsaw or other dangerous implements.

Except Jar is pretty determined, not interested in being protected, and their late mama might have had it right when she said he was "artistic."

Suddenly the whirligigs are selling better than ever, except Tammy needs to get materials she doesn't have the cash for, and has to make yet another deal, this time with Walter Howard, owner of the hardware store.

It's a house of cards that is bound to fall apart, even without anyone, especially Tammy, realizing this is the classic "Nigerian" scam. But how long can she hold things together, and what will happen if she can't?

Along the way, though, she learns about her own strengths and weaknesses, her brother's, family secrets, her town, and what really matters in life. Can she pull out a happy ending? Read it and see!

Honestly, recommended. Tammy is a flawed but good character, doing her best in a world that has handed her a lot more challenges that resources to meet them with. Jar, her autistic teenage brother is not a caricature, either of the negative or of the well-intentioned "positive" kind. Michelle Babb is a good narrator, too. Enjoy!

I received a free copy of the audiobook from the narrator.