Looking for Me
By: Beth Hoffman
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Penguin Group Viking via NetGalley
Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop. Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.
I believe I first came across this book on GoodReads. The premise of the novel sounded interesting–the main character works in a repairs and antiques store–and of course I always love a good novel featuring some family drama. I was fortunate to have been approved a galley copy of this novel from the publishers via NetGalley. This book will be released on May 28th.
I was sitting in front of my laptop, trying to figure out how to start this review and the first word that came to mind was “quiet.” When we meet Teddi, there’s a lot of things going on in her life, a lot of loose ends that never met any sort of closure. It has been years since her brother Josh disappeared but she never accepted the fact that he would never return. There’s a massive rift between her and her mother, in part because of what happened to Josh, in part because of her career choice. There’s a lot of things she never knew about her parents’ marriage, her father’s experiences during the Second World War, her mother’s relationship with her grandmother. These aspects of her life are slowly explored (and in some ways resolved) over the course of the novel as Teddi comes to terms to with each of them.
We learn a lot about Teddi both through her everyday life but also through flashbacks which are scattered throughout the story. These flashbacks provides a lot of context to why her relationship with her mother was the way it was, what her relationship was like with her brother and with her father. For the most part the transitions have been pretty smooth and there are dates to indicate when these flashbacks are taking place.
I really enjoyed following Teddi through her everyday life: her life in Charleston, seeing her friends, managing her business and later her love life. It was nice to watch her life start to move forward as she deals with her respective issues from the past. It’s a journey for her, both the reconciliation and her gradual steps towards finding a place of her own and bringing up her business through some some financial troubles.
As a side note, I was pleasantly surprised with the developments in her love life; it comes much later in the story and the person she ends up with was someone I didn’t expect would show up again.
Looking for Me overall is a wonderful novel about looking back, letting go and moving forward. I really felt for Teddi especially regarding the disappearance of her younger brother. While the family drama was fascinating and introspective, I think I found Teddi’s everyday life in Charleston and her business in antiques much more interesting. I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for a family drama set in a quiet town.