Simon & Schuster, May 2001, 24.00, 381 pp.
In California, Sarah DeThomas died and her will surprises her heirs. Aunt Sadie gifts her liquid assets to her nephew James, a wealthy financier. She bequests to her niece Phoebe a flower farm. Considering that Phoebe has spent her nearly forty years of life with major health problems and is wheelchair bound, that legacy seems inappropriate.
However, Aunt Sadie knew how much Phoebe loves the farm. Desperate to make a go of her inheritance, Phoebe ignores her sibling's financial advice to sell. Instead she takes out an ad offering rooms and meals to three roommates if they work the flower farm with her. Pets are encouraged. Ness accompanied by her horse, Nance with her canine, and Beryl with her parrot agree to Phoebe's terms. Will the quartet with different deep-rooted problems find in each other needed solace and friendship or is this another doomed failure for the middle age women?
BAD GIRL CREEK is an insightful look at middle age loneliness caused ruefully by poor decisions. The story line is a deep character study as the readers see inside the souls of the four women as each one's haunted past, needed companionship present, and uncertain future are revealed to the audience. Jo-Ann Mapson's novel works because the key cast members seem so genuine that the audience will know them intimately as rarely seen in the printed page.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner