Picador, 2006 (2005)
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
. What a delight of a book. In it, personalities reign - and what personalities they are. Dock Bass, former carpenter and real estate agent from Albany, is now heir to a farmhouse, its contents and surrounding twenty-five acres in historic Gettysburg, PA.. Several unethical and uncouth residents of Gettysburg assume he will want to sell and they are willing to buy.
hen Dock decides to stay and restore the house, lawyer Tommy Trotter and antiquities dealer Stonewall see the deal of a lifetime going down the drain. The land is worth much more than the rundown old farmhouse. Then, after Dock uncovers a treasure trove of Lincoln memorabilia secreted in the farmhouse, the world appears at his door, including TV journalist Amy Morrow on a mission from her boss. What ensues is a carefully planned and skillfully written plot that moves with grace and ease from scene to scene.
ettysburg itself is depicted as a treasure trove of a town, making me want to go there to spend some time rather than just passing through from one place to another. Dock Bass is a guy who has had it with a world that expects him to toe the line, and makes a move to change his life. He just wants to be left alone to make a few new friends, have a few beers with them, and restore his farmhouse.
awyer Tommy Trotter never seems to be able to speak a few words when several hundred would do. Stonewall barrels through life expecting his size and loutishness to win his desires, legal or otherwise. Thaddeus St. John (also a dealer in antiques) is a fashion plate first but also an acquisitive business man who believes his own dealings are just. And then there's Amy. Well, every really good story has to have at least one main female character.
. It's a fun book that proves there are still some people who are willing to take the time to smell the roses, and wise enough to outwit the bad guys at their own game.
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