Viking USA|May 28, 2013|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-670-02583-1
A Southern novel of family and antiques from the bestselling author of the beloved Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.
Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me.
Teddi Overman found her life’ passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop. Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.
Looking for Me brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. The result is a tremendously moving story that is destined to make bestselling author Beth Hoffman a novelist to whom readers will return again and again as they have with Adriana Trigiani, Fannie Flagg, and Joshilyn Jackson.
Thirty-six-year-old, Teddi Overman lives in a nineteenth-century carriage house and owns her own antique shop. She labels herself “an antiques dealer and faux-finishing specialist.” Teddi takes other peoples old, decrepit, broken-down furniture and turns them into the most beautiful pieces of antiques. In each piece she discovers “endless possibilities…and a history.”
Teddi believed her penchant for restoring old furniture began way back in the summer of 1964 when she found an old antique chair in an overgrown ditch. She loved that chair so much that she imagined the kind of life it might of had. She supposed it was a dining chair of some kind and wondered if it had sat in a “fine home and seen lots of fancy dinner parties, birthday celebrations and holiday feasts.” The arms of the chair were curved and the back was shaped “like an urn.” Teddi so loved that chair that she claimed it as hers right then and there and dragged it all the way home.
The relationship between Teddi and her mother was somewhat strained. Always nit-picking at each other and Mom never understood Teddi’s desire and passion for restoring furniture. The bond she had with her father was much different, he understood Teddi’s desire for antiquing and always took an interest in anything she did.
Teddi and her brother, Josh, had always had a good relationship. When younger, Josh was very into hanging out at the Ranger’s Station and took seriously poachers who came and killed animals illegally. He loved learning about survival in the woods and collected every manner of bird feather he could find. Teddi often said he knew more than the Ranger did but when he mysteriously disappeared, Teddi was beside herself with grief.
After graduating high school, Teddi’s parents gave her an old car she could drive around in. Dad also gave her an envelope and said that was just between the two of them. When Teddi opened the envelope in the privacy of her bedroom she found twenty brand new fifty-dollar bills, a map, and a note that said: “This will help you find your way. Love, Dad.” Teddi thought back to a conversation she’d previously had with her Dad where he spoke to her about freedom and how the car he’d given her was her “red, white and blue.” She realized Daddy wanted her to be happy and find her way in this world doing something she truly loved. He wanted her to have HER American dream. Teddi then made plans to drive to Charleston to visit Mr. Palmer’s antique shop. She’d met him two years earlier when he’d stopped by the side of the road to purchase a piece of furniture she had restored. Before leaving he gave her his card and told her to visit if she was even in the area.
Two days later, Teddi was planning her trip and shortly thereafter set out for Charleston. Finding Mr. Palmer’s shop was easy but she was appalled at the filth and disarray the shop was in. Over lunch, Mr. Palmer hired Teddi to work in his shop and she was on her way to fulfilling her dream.
Looking for Me is filled with beautiful characters and descriptions so vivid I could picture in my eye, Teddi’s shop and the antiques that lay within. It’s a beautiful story of love, loss, hope, and fulfilling ones dreams even when you think the odds are stacked against you. Beth Hoffman has outdone herself and I’ll certainly be recommending Looking for Me to everyone. This is one of those books that you want to read again and again.