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Bad Girl Creek
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Jo Ann Mapson is the author of five previous novels, including the bestselling The Wilder Sisters and Blue Rodeo, which was made into a CBS-TV movie starring Kris Kristofferson and Ann-Margret.

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Phoebe DeThomas's beloved Aunt Sadie dies and leaves her a 40-acre flower farm in California but not the means to maintain it. Through sheer ingenuity, physically disabled Phoebe secures three animal-loving roommates to help her work the land and save her inheritance. That the women become such devoted friends so quickly stretches credulity. Almost immediately, they become deeply entangled in one another's troubles, dealing with such life-and-death issues as AIDS, prison, and serious repercussions from childhood illnesses. Wonderful men arrive on the scene and rescue them all, reminding the reader of vintage Hollywood. Well-drawn settings and interesting characters aren't enough to rank this among Mapson's (The Wilder Sisters, Blue Rodeo) best. A pleasant diversion and the first of a proposed trilogy. Purchase to meet demand. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] Bettie Alston Shea, formerly with Charlotte & Mecklenburg Cty. P.L., NC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

The bestselling author of such hits as Hank & Chloe and Blue Rodeo launches a trilogy with this sentimental novel of communal life and reinvented family, centering on four women who come together, tending to each other and healing old wounds. Phoebe DeThomas has lived carefully all her life. Thirty-eight years old and in a wheelchair because of a bad heart, she's always felt dwarfed by her flamboyant aunt Sadie and her successful brother James. Now Sadie has died, bequeathing her a flower farm on California's Central Coast. In order to make a go of it, Phoebe takes in three women as boarder/farmhands. Each of the three is "homeless," having recently undergone traumatic life changes: Ness, a black cowgirl with a horse and a secret fear that she has AIDS, has lost her job; Nance, a down-on-her-luck Southern belle, has broken up with her boyfriend; and Beryl, a former kindergarten aide with a prison record, has been evicted from her apartment. All have families that are less than perfect and, living under the same roof, they soon become like blood relatives as they share their secrets and learn to trust again. Mapson combines poignancy with the good-natured banter of girlfriends in her tale of women in transition, waiting to be reborn. Short on conflict but long on comfort and characterization, this is neither the author's best nor her deepest work. Still, there are enough of the quiet charms that fans have come to expect for them to tune into the second installment when it is released. Agent, Deborah Schneider. 50,000 first printing; BOMC, Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate selection; 13-city author tour. (May 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Adult/High School-When her aunt dies, Phoebe DeThomas finds herself the owner of a 40-acre flower farm, complete with debts and only one farmhand. Having to deal with her bad heart, her life in a wheelchair, and the financial problems brought on by the inheritance, she takes in three boarders who assist in running the farm. The women form strong bonds that help them all through the joys and heartbreaks of their lives. Phoebe finds love but has to battle pneumonia along with her other problems. Ness, the strong-willed, protective black farrier, discovers that she may be carrying the AIDS virus. Beryl has been in prison for murder, and Nance struggles to recover from her relationship with a boyfriend, even as she falls in love with Phoebe's brother. The setting is a picturesque area along central California's coast, where the weather and environment become major factors in the success or failure of the flower farm. Mapson draws another layer of interest with the detailed storytelling that deals with the naming of Bad Girl Creek. This helps define the physical geography as well as the people who live there. A contemporary story with a realistic perspective and a positive ending, this book should appeal to readers who have enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver's work.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

USA Today A valentine to oceans of good women who survive bad beginnings and worse men.
Los Angeles Times Mapson [shows us] the world as we hope it is -- a world in which flawed people can be basically healthy, and even pain has a richness to it.
Anchorage Daily News "Hard is the heart that loveth naught in May" is a Chaucer quote in the journal kept by Phoebe's aunt. Same goes for the reader unmoved by Mapson's latest tale of redemption and pluck.
The Albany (New York) Times Union All too often in the nonfiction world, people find themselves isolated from friends in their youth. But in Bad Girl Creek, the characters create the world they want to live in -- a wonderful place to curl up in and read on.

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