Bette Lee Crosby
Publisher: Bent Pine
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: From the author
Eleven year-old Ethan Allen Doyle has witnessed a brutal murder and now the boy is running for his life. In the time-tested tradition of Southern Fiction, Crosby unveils the darkest side of human nature and then rewards her readers with a beautiful tale of love, loss and unexpected gifts.
Olivia Westerly is the only person Ethan Allen can trust, and he's not too sure he can trust her. She's got no love of children and a truckload of superstitions--one of them is the belief that eleven is the unluckiest number on earth. Olivia avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she's a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her grandson.
With a foul mouth, dark secrets and heavily guarded emotions, Ethan Allen Doyle is not an easy child to like. He was counting on the grandpa he'd never met for a place to hide, but now that plan is shot to blazes because the grandpa's dead too. He's got seven dollars and twenty-six cents, his mama's will for staying alive, and Dog. But none of those things are gonna help if Scooter Cobb finds him.
Spare Change is the first book in the Wyattsville books by Bette Lee Crosby. I found it a little different and delightful. I loved the main characters, and disliked others.
Olivia is a woman who never wanted to be loaded down with children, so she has worked all her life, remained single and forever been grateful that she has not been burdened by a family clinging to her skirts. She is also very superstitious about the number eleven. When she meets Charlie at the age of fifty eight she is head over heels in love and marries. When Charlie dies she mourns for weeks then returns to his apartment in Wyattsville and with the help of her neighbours in the building starts to live again. I loved the neighbours, truly a formidable group.
Ethan Allen has seen too much in his young life, the victim of circumstance and others evil ways. He's tough and resilient and when he is faced with a terrible situation he goes in search of his grandfather. When he arrives finally he only meets up with Olivia and so begins their relationship. It is a little disconcerting for Olivia of course that Ethan is aged eleven! It is this part of the book that warmed my heart as Olivia and Ethan gradually bond. Many of their moments together were filled with humour, that I loved about this book.
However Ethan Allen and Olivia have one final battle to fight and a little surprise at the end. I loved the epilogue that shows Ethan Allen with a family of his own, and then Olivia's final revelation.
This book was a mixture of horror, loss, and love. It was heart warming and funny too. I liked the way the author told the story from various points of view - it worked so well and I enjoyed seeing events from various characters standpoint. A special mention to Jack Mahoney - another character whose wisdom and the way he did his job touched me.
I highly recommend this book.