Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What Matters Most by Bette Lee Crosby (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host a virtual book event for What Matters Most by author Bette Lee Crosby!

Author Guest Post

I am delighted to be here on Jersey Girl Reviews today, because it’s like coming home. I am an ex-Jersey girl, and our daughter is still a Jersey girl, as are many of my friends. I’ve found that even though you move miles and miles away, you never leave the people and things that are meaningful behind. That holds true for anyplace you consider home.

In What Matters Most, Louise Palmer is a quirky, superstitious woman who in her deepest heart of hearts is rooted to her New Jersey home. She wants to live there until the day she dies. But when her husband decides to move to Florida, she realizes that is never going to happen.

What Matters Most, like all of the stories I write, was born of a quirky happenstance that occurred in my life. In this case it came about during a golf game. Hubby and I moved to Florida just months earlier and we were loving it. On a January afternoon while most of New Jersey was still shoveling snow, we went out for a round of golf. The sun was shining, the temperature a balmy 78 degrees and life was good. Being there were only two of us, we were paired with two gentlemen who I’d guess to be in their mid to late 60’s. So far, so good. Then I said, “Don’t you just love being here in Florida?”

Wrong question! For the remainder of the round, they complained about how they never wanted to be down here in the first place, that it was all their wives fault and they both wished they were back in New Jersey. Of course, I reminded them that if they were back in NJ, they’d be shoveling snow right now. It wasn’t a deterrent. They continued to complain.

“Not me,” one of them said, “I’d be playing poker with my friends.”

The other one added, “I’d be watching the Giant game with my son.”

“But the weather is so…” I was going to say cold in New Jersey, but never got the chance.

“You’re right,” the more vocal one interrupted. “It’s too blasted hot. I can’t stand this heat!”

I suppose the irony of someone being so miserable in what I considered paradise got stuck in my head and a few years later I began writing What Matters Most.

Although Louise Palmer starts out a silly woman who is far too set in her ways, she does discover what matters most. It’s not the where you live, it’s the how you live that’s important. It’s not how much we keep, but how much we give that counts. Like the Grinch, Louise’s heart grew five times the size when she discovered this.

You can make every day memorable by simply doing one nice thing for someone else.

About The Author

Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win several more awards, including another NLAPW award, three Royal Palm Literary Awards, and the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal.

Her published novels to date are: Cracks in the Sidewalk (2009), Spare Change (2011), The Twelfth Child (2012), Cupid’s Christmas (2012) and What Matters Most (2013). She has also authored Life in the Land of IS, a memoir of Lani Deauville, a woman the Guinness Book of Records lists as the world’s longest living quadriplegic.

Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back. “Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

Bette Lee Crosby is originally from New Jersey, but now makes her home in Southern Florida where she lives with her husband Richard and a feisty Bichon Frise named Katie.


Book Review

What Matters Most by Bette Lee Crosby
Publisher: Bent Pine Publishing 
Publication Date: March 31, 2013
Format: Paperback - 290 pages / Kindle - 517 KB / Nook - 404 KB
ISBN: 0989128903
ASIN: B00C512W0I
Genre: Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: What Matters Most

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

Award-Winning Story of Friendship,

From Amazon #1 bestselling author of Spare Change and The Twelfth Child comes…What Matters Most. A heartwarming story of acceptance and coming to grips with the reality of change. A Royal Palm Literary Award Winner.

Louise Palmer is a settled-down person. A woman who wants nothing more than to remain in the same house until the day she dies. When her husband, Clay, announces an intention to quit his job and move to Florida, her life is thrown into a turmoil of mixed emotions and strained loyalties. Torn between Clay’s desire for “the good life” and the lifelong friendships of her quilting club, Louise struggles with what to do…until her best friend hatches a scheme to thwart the move.

Before she discovers the truth of what matters most, a marriage will be tested, family relationships will fall apart and the friendships Louise tried to hold onto will change dramatically.

My Book Review: 

Sometimes it takes some changes in your life to make you see what matters most ...

What Matters Most is a wonderful story about love, friendship, family and marriage. Author Bette Lee Crosby weaves an entertaining tale written in the third person narrative intertwined with first person narratives, that follows the journey of Louise Palmer as she learns to adapt to changes in her life.

Set in Westfield, NJ, fifty-three year old Louise Palmer has been married to husband Clay for over thirty years. Louise's life is picture-perfect: from the house that they live in, to her two grown children, to her circle of friends. But all of this is about to change when Clay receives a letter from an attorney naming him the sole heir to his Uncle Charlie's property in Florida. At fifty-five years of age, Clay has been a banker for the last thirty years, but lately he has become weary and ready for early retirement. The attorney's letter is just what Clay needed to push him to decide to retire while he is still young and healthy enough to enjoy life. But there is just one little problem: Louise! Determined to stay in her NJ home, Louise plots and schemes to get her way, only to have it backfire and suddenly her life is turned upside down and changing as they make their move to Florida.

This was such a fun book to read! As the story progressed, I saw myself in Louise in so many ways. As a born and bred Jersey girl, I could relate to Louise's reluctance to move, because I am also a creature of habit and do not like change, except like Clay, I can't stand the cold Jersey winters and would love to move South! I really appreciated the author's thoughtful style of weaving a tale that intertwines wisdom, humor, wit and poignancy throughout the storyline. From Louise's hilarious schemes, to her adjusting to the new lifestyle with a few bumps along the way, to learning the life lesson that home is wherever your heart is, it was heartwarming to watch the transformation that Louise made as she learned to accept change and discover what really does matter most in life.

With a quirky cast of characters who are realistic and fun to get to know; witty dialogue and humorous interactions; a setting that is near and dear to my heart since NJ is my home state; and a delightful storyline that easily captivated my attention, What Matters Most is an enjoyable story about life's changes and new beginnings that will simply leave a smile on your face!


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