There is nothing-NOTHING-I didn’t like in this book.
The title is great, the chapters are titled as lessons, the cover is fantastic. Then you read it and you laugh, and it’s witty, and…people, grab a copy of this book. Like, right now. It captures the sweet ridiculousness of small towns and all the good in them like no other book. Try, and let me know. To me, it’s a solid 5 stars.
The book is Lessons from Wabbaseka By Liza O’Connor.
When Anna Baker is fired from her New York job, she accepts her aunt and uncle’s offer to come live with them in the little town of Wabbaseka, Arkansas. She discovers a house in dire need of repairs and her relatives in need of proper care. Under the misconception that being unemployed means she has no money, the local sheriff gets involved in her life, trying to determine how she can afford the building materials to fix up the house. Her cousin, Dewayne, appears and wants her evicted, and the FBI thinks she’s involved in a money-laundering scheme. While Anna doesn’t find the peace and quiet she seeks, she may find love…
Here’s what Liza tells us about the story.
When the population began to grow in the late sixties, my aunt and uncle rented out the biggest bedroom in their home. It had its own bathroom and entrance on the side and a very large room that held a big bed and a fireplace with a couch
Later when the town began to dwindle away, and the renter left, I got to sleep in that room. My aunt and uncle continued to sleep their small room with two narrow beds and little more. His gun was always by his bed.
Ignoring the Warning Signs
When Jeremy took his mid-morning break, he could not locate Anna and his daughter, which gave him a natural excuse to search more of the house. He finally heard Claire’s high-pitched voice from a portion of the house he’d never entered before. Following her happy sounds down the hall, he peeked into each room. Lots of antiques, but nothing they couldn’t trace back to this house, even assuming he could sneak it out.
The final room he opened was the Larringtons’ bedroom. An antique shotgun rested against the wall by one of the single beds. Otherwise, the room held nothing of value. Looked like damn Quakers lived here. He closed the door and finally entered the one containing his happy daughter.
The old bathroom had definitely seen better days. The linoleum floor might have once been white, but now it had a mottled yellow hue with thousands of age cracks. The porcelain free-standing sink was also stained yellow from age. The ancient copper faucet’s constant drip had created a large green oval stain running down the side and around the drain-hole. The porcelain on the toilet seat was worn to black in some places. The giant tub with its massive lion feet legs looked to be rusting in a few places. It also bore two long green scars beneath the twin copper faucets. While the copper fixtures would bring a decent price with his buyer in Batesville, their absence from this room would be noticed at once. By the proximity to the Larringtons’ room, he was certain this was their bathroom.
A giant pile of ancient yellow brittle wallpaper almost buried his daughter as she added to the pile, while Anna—standing on a ladder—scraped the fourteen-foot tall walls bare.
“You should prime that wall before you put new wallpaper on.”
His daughter unburied a can of primer from the floor for him to see.
He smiled. “Very good. When did you get this stuff?”
“I had it delivered,” Anna whispered softly, then answered loudly. “I found it in the attic.”
“Ah yes, the attic,” he smiled. That’s where she claimed all the stuff she purchased came from. “Well, if you need to find more things in the attic, let me know. I have to drive into Pine Bluff every Monday.”
“Maybe we can join you, make it an outing to the big city.”
“Sure,” Jeremy replied, wishing he had a legitimate reason to refuse her. “If you want.”
Anna stopped scraping and stared at him. “Or I can just give you the list.”
“No, it’s okay.”
“Today’s Monday…” Claire said.
Anna looked at him.
“I’m leaving at noon. If you want to come, you’re welcome.”
“And me?” Claire asked.
“You go where she goes,” he said, firmly pointing to Anna.
Claire turned to stare up at Anna.
“Can we go?”
“Well, we have to finish stripping the wall and get this paper pile out of here. But sure. We can go.” Sending Claire off to get trash bags, she climbed down from the ladder. “I didn’t mean to force myself in on your agenda.”
Jeremy shrugged. He might as well get this over with. With the sheriff nosing around, she was bound to learn of it anyway. Still, he checked to make certain neither of the Larringtons or Claire were in the hall. He then closed the door and faced her. “I have to stop and see my parole officer every Monday. Claire doesn’t know.”
Her only reaction was a single blink. “Well, you can drop us off shopping.”
“If you want to back out…”
“No,” Anna answered without hesitation. “It’ll be fun to get away. There’s only so much isolated country time one can take.”
He agreed with that. Unfortunately, their presence was going to put a severe damper on his after-parole-visit fun.
“Will your Aunt and Uncle be okay?” he asked, hoping she’d back out for the old people.
“I’ll have Ethel stay with them.”
Jeremy studied her. “You okay with the fact I’ve a past?”
Anna smiled but it held a lot of pain. “We all have pasts, Jeremy.”
About the Author
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
(There’s over 40 now)