Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Literally the Best Reviews: Renovating the Richardsons

Renovating the Richardsons -- Virginia Smith
Harvest House Publishers
226 Pages

I hope some of you were paying attention yesterday as I posted the review for the first book in this series, The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade by Virginia Smith. Today’s review continues that story. Again, I found myself looking through the “Inspirational” section of the “New Releases” at the Lockport Library. Once I saw the thin, purple cover of Renovating the Richardsons, I grabbed it before anyone else could. The continued adventures of the people of Goose Creek beckoned me to the pages.
Once again, this book is the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. Considering that it was once again under the “Inspirational” genre, many people would have just skipped over it. Let me assure you that while the book is inspirational in that it gives all hope, it avoids being overtly religious. I know those books can turn people off. I happened by the earlier book by mistake and loved it. So, I eagerly awaited the sequel. (And as I write this, the prequel has been submitted for an order at the library, and the third book will be issued in September, 2016.)

When last we left the quaint confines of Goose Creek, Al and Millie Richardson are elbows deep in the renovation of the old Victorian house that hopefully someday will be their retirement job as a bed and breakfast. While the seemingly endless work goes on around the house, the infamous water tower from the first book is ready to be painted with a mural. Of course, any change is bound to be met with opposition by the locals, especially when an outsider is the source of that change.

Central to the book this time is the changes the Richardsons go through as they attempt to transform the old house. It changes them as much as they change the structure. Meanwhile, the pride of the town is on the line as the challenge of a baseball game against a neighboring town is called. Hidden behind the scaffolding on the water tower is a masterpiece that people are itching to unveil so that they can commence the critiquing.

Goose Creek is your typical small town. The new massage therapist is out to steal the husbands with her wishy-washy, sexual wiles. Will the vet’s interfering father destroy the budding relationship with the local handyman? Will the outsider painting the watertower be able to capture the close-knit spirit of the community, or will she be driven from the town by mobs with torches? Can the new neighbor finally find a way to fit in with all the old-timers?

In the continuation of the Goose Creek series, Virginia Smith has once again built the mythos of a small town. This is a place where everyone knows everybody’s name. They know the business of their neighbors, and even some of their secrets. Smith deftly captures that spirit. Each of the characters has a unique voice that all combine to create a tone that underlies the neighborhoods that make up Goose Creek.

This is a character-driven novel. As such, it is one of my favorite types of novels. People interest me. All their foibles and strengths combining to make a rich narrative is what draws me in. Virginia Smith does exactly that. Underneath all the bickering and second-guessing between each member of the town is an integral part of the whole community.

Life continues to not be what the Goose Creek residents expect. In a very short amount of pages, Virginia Smith delivers more of the narrative that defines the heartbeat of a close-knit community. I feel like I’m a part of the community as her writing immerses the reader. The fall will bring the next book in the series, The Room With the Second-Best View. I will be one of the first people to read that book once the library gets it. The characters will keep you coming back for more.

Craig Bacon has found some inspiration in this book series. Stay tuned to experience some of that inspiration.