A Better Place

Front Cover
Simon & Schuster, 1994 - Fiction - 287 pages
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"When Valerie Caldwell left Maddock, Virginia, it was to find a greater destiny. No matter that she had no compelling drive, no particular calling, no special talent. No matter that she left behind a brokenhearted fiance Joe Deacon, and broke up the trio of "best friends" that included Tess Brumfield and Mary Grace Reynolds. No matter that no one ever really left Maddock. Valerie didn't care, for she was special. Of that she was certain." "And indeed, Valerie was special. She possessed a certain charm, a peculiarly Southern air of seduction that drew to her not only all the boys she met, but the girls as well. The boys all wanted to date her; the girls wanted to be her best friend. Everyone pursued her. Few ever stopped to think whether or not they actually liked her." "Now, fourteen years after leaving Maddock, Valerie is going back. It seems to her the only solution, and she wonders in fact why she ever left in the first place. Certainly her life hasn't worked out. Being "special" in Los Angeles proved a lot harder than she had imagined. Even Jason, her husband, has lost most of the charm and promise that drew her to him. Plus he spends all his time writing screenplays that never get produced. And as for acting, her star never ascended beyond the body-on-the-beach level." "Yes, Maddock will hold the answers, provide the balm. There Valerie will be back with her loving parents; she can sleep in her own bed, walk the familiar streets, see her old, dear friends. And she will be able to watch again the Millburn boys, young men from the military academy that was the scene of some of Valerie's greatest triumphs. It will be perfect." "Why, then, does everything seem so wrong? Why don't Valerie's parents seem particularly glad to see her? Why does Tess seem ill at ease around her, and Mary Grace openly hostile? And while Joe may be married to Tess, does that mean he and Valerie can't be friends, can't talk to each other like before? Valerie senses that while time may seem to have stood still in this very Southern little town, everything has, in fact, changed." "Certainly, if things in Maddock haven't changed, they will, for Valerie's return sets in motion a series of events that alter forever the lives of those who were closest to her, forcing them to examine who they are and why they are there, opening new doors to some and for others closing off any hope of escape." "A Better Place is a wonderful novel, beautifully written, filled with humor and human truths. It is an auspicious debut of a remarkably talented writer."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Rural backbiting and stagnation don't create much excitement in a mild adult debut by the author of Fool's Hill (1992) and other YA titles. The lives of everyone in Maddock, Va., seem to revolve ... Read full review

A better place

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"Stay away from Valerie, she's nothing but trouble," Tess's mother told her many years ago. Now, after a 14-year absence, Valerie is back in town, having left her husband and the rest of her big ... Read full review


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