Mira, Oct 2004, 12.95, 366 pp.
In Shreveport, Legal Secretary Claire Wilder receives an epiphany when she reads a message on a bathroom door of a truck stop about “… looking for life”. Claire concludes she wasted the last two years of her life working for a crappy boss while waiting for Andrew, her former spouse of almost two decades, to realize he made a mistake leaving her for a younger woman. She decides to leave town to find her estrange father who she has not seen since he walked out on her and her mother when Claire was a little girl. Just before leaving Andrew tells her he wants to come back to Claire, but she says she will consider this when she comes back from Oklahoma.
After quitting her job, she travels to Valentine, Oklahoma, the last place where she knew her dad lived. In Valentine, few people remember her dad and those that do recall very little about him. However, Claire is adopted by nonagenarian Winston Valentine, becomes close friends with septuagenarian drugstore owner Vella Blaine, and “adopts” abandoned pregnant teen Sherrilyn Earles even as Deputy Sheriff Travis Ford keeps a close eye on her. Claire is happy with her new relationships until Andrew arrives expecting she will take him back.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner