Five Miles South of Peculiar is the story of the three Caldwell sisters and how they mature in their relationships with each other and with God. Darlene is the happy homemaker type, a pillar in their small Southern town of Peculiar, and she rules the inherited family estate with an iron hand. Her twin Carlene, a Broadway singer, decides to visit the family home after experiencing a personal tragedy and stirs up lots of past issues - especially jealousy from Darlene. There's also Nolie, who lives a simple life with her dogs and her flowers, sewing personalized aprons for everyone in town - but will she ever recover from being jilted at the altar and move on with her life? Throw in a boyfriend/mayor, a jealous daughter, a fired hunk of a pastor-turned-handyman and 17 puppies, and you've got one creative story!
I really enjoyed this novel. Hunt's characters are quite creative, and their depth makes each story especially unique. They're easy to relate to - I could totally understand why Darlene would be upset when Carlene tries to move her furniture and why Nolie would choose to stay with her simplified lifestyle despite everyone's urging to leave the nest. They're all fun and unique women with the same kind of crazy issues that the rest of us have, and that makes you want to run next door and invite them over for chocolate.
Hunt wrote primarily about what was happening now to each woman, but she also explored how their past affected their ability to deal with their present and their futures. This added depth to the story, but it also added a great deal of mystery as we didn't learn about the special way that Darlene and Carlene's pasts are entwined until near the very end. While I thought I had a pretty good idea of what had happened, not knowing the details - or even if I was right - kept me guessing about how the women would handle this issue when it was revealed.
Romantic entanglements added fun drama to the story, as well. While it was pretty obvious who would be paired off, this lighthearted element sweetened the mood of the drama and made for a very happy ending - and who doesn't love that?
All things considered, Five Miles South of Peculiar is definitely a cut above your dime-a-dozen romance novels. Full of spiritual truths, the kinds of family spats we've all experienced, and summer romance, Hunt has penned a great read.
I received a free copy of Five Miles South of Peculiar from Glass Road in exchange for an honest review.
With nearly 4 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, includingThe Tale of Three Trees,Don't Bet Against Me, The Note, and The Nativity Story. Her nonfiction bookDon't Bet Against Me, written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She and her husband make their home in Florida with their dogs. Learn more about Angela atAngelaElwellHunt.com.