Secrets told in the church ladies' room are supposed to stay in the ladies' room. But that doesn't mean that what Trudy overhears there during her great-aunt Gertrude's funeral won't change the rest of her life.
Trudy has a daughter in the middle of a major rebellion; a two-timing husband who has been cheating for their entire married life; and a mother with Alzheimer's residing in the local nursing home. She doesn't really need a crumbling old house about to fall into nothing but a pile of memories and broken knickknacks.
Billy Lee Tucker, resident oddball in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, lived next door to Gert, and in her will she leaves him the funds to help Trudy remodel the old house. That's fine with Billy Lee, because he's been in love with Trudy since before they started school. And just spending time with her is something he'd never ever allowed himself to dream about.
A beautiful home rises up from the old house on Broadway, and right along with it rises up a relationship. But is Trudy too scarred from what she heard in the ladies' room to see a lovely future with Billy Lee?
And here is Andrea's review:
This wonderful book tells the story of Trudy, who decides to re-create her life after hearing about the affair her husband has been having. Faced with a serial-cheater husband, she uses the inheritance of a house from her great-aunt Gertrude, whom few people liked, as an escape. The story line follows both Trudy’s reconstruction of her life parallels the refurbishing of the house that has sat neglected for years and the love than ensues with her neighbor and former high school classmate, Billy Lee Tucker.
Set in Oklahoma, the book deals with all the complexities of relationships among family, neighbors, and even with the geeky awkward kid from high school that Trudy had ignored and forgotten. The real lessons that Trudy learns have more to do with honestly, integrity, and learning to look at people more deeply. It is these lessons that eventually allow her to see Billy Lee Tucker, her new next-door neighbor, for the sweet and caring guy he is; these are also the lessons that teach Trudy to start to love herself, and teach her to tell her in-laws off. These are also the lessons that allow Trudy to look more deeply into the character of her great-aunt and understand her finally. And they are the lessons that teach her how to deal with her rebellious daughter who acts spiteful to Trudy after Trudy leaves her husband.
Just like the scarred but beautiful house that comes back to life and allows Trudy to have the warm holidays that she has dreamed of with a family consisting of her daughter, Billy Lee Tucker, and her mother who has Alzheimer’s, the story is also one of Trudy learning to make herself over into something she thinks is worthy to be loved and worthy to enjoy such things.
One real strength of this book are the slow and delicate ways in which Carolyn Brown creates the absent character of great-aunt Gertrude, who slowly becomes to Trudy a true mentor. It is only after her life that Trusy – and the readers – can appreciate the gifts which Gertrude had to offer and the providential care she provided to her one neice who would come visit the misunderstood, star-crossed woman. Similarly, Brown captures a world that feels oh-so real in the way she has created it and its characters.