Charlotte Figg takes over more than Paradise in this second novel by Joyce Magnin. Charlotte’s longtime marriage to a top Fuller Brush salesman ends with Herman’s sudden death. At loose ends, Charlotte decides to sell their home and purchase, sight unseen, a cute trailer she sees in an ad. When she pulls into Paradise Trailer Park she discovers that she’s been scammed–the adorable doublewide belongs to someone else and the one she actually bought is a rundown hostel for raccoons.
Although it doesn’t seem Charlotte is hurting for money (Herman had a good insurance policy), she can’t make herself walk away from her investment so decides to fix it up and stay–probably partly because she doesn’t want to admit to her overbearing mother that she made a mistake. Her new friends include a one-armed man, a midget, and a tattooed woman whose yard contains a huge concrete statue of a hand, which Rose calls the hand of God. She’s written the names of everyone in Paradise Trailer Park on the hand, and climbs up into the palm to pray. And sometimes to hide.
Rose is convinced that God has brought Charlotte to Paradise for a purpose, and when she sees Charlotte’s softball trophies from her college days, she’s convinced that’s the reason: the Paradise women need a softball team, and Charlotte will coach it. Charlotte goes door-to-door inviting women to a meeting, finding that there are more strange people in Paradise than she’d already met. She also discovers things that fresh-baked pie cannot fix.
Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise is a fun, well-written story that delves into serious issues. No, that’s not an oxymoron.
Joyce Magnin is the critically acclaimed author of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, named one of the top five Christian titles of 2009 by Library Journal, and Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise. She’s written several short fiction and personal experience articles. She is a frequent workshop leader at various writerâ€™s conferences and womenâ€™s church groups. Joyce leads a small fiction group called StoryCrafters. She enjoys baseball, football, cream soda, and needle arts but not elevators. She currently lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.
Thanks to NetGalley for a digital review copy. The opinions, as always, are my own.