Each time Teddi Overman leaves her antiques shop in Charleston, South Carolina and visits the Kentucky farm of her youth, she’s drawn to the mysterious beauty of Red River Gorge where her brother Josh went missing. Though his absence remains unimaginable, Teddi builds a life as unexpected and quirky as the customers who frequent her shop. As she comes to terms with the events that shattered her family and finds love in the most surprising way, Teddi must decide what to let go of and what to keep.
In Looking for Me, bestselling author Beth Hoffman brings forth an evocative, multilayered story that moves between the charms of Charleston and Kentucky’s woodlands while exposing the fragile wounds and strengths of a woman who comes to understand the words once written in a simple note and the remarkable boy who penned them. ( synopsis from bethhoffman.net)
This is such a good book. When I started reading it, I couldn’t stop, and I read it cover to cover until late in the AM. Teddi Overman is a woman who owns and operates an antiques business. Ever since she was a child in Kentucky, she has been drawn to old things and the inherent beauty within them. She has a complicated relationship with her mother, an embittered widow. She also had or maybe still has a younger brother who disappeared many years ago. In her heart, Teddi feels that Josh is still alive even though common sense would say otherwise. Josh was a sensitive young man who was intensely connected to the wildlife near their home, especially birds. An episode with an abused dog is the catalyst for Josh’s disappearance.
The love that Teddi has for older things is integral to the story and how she can see the most beat up piece of furniture and find the beauty in it. Her mother always wanted her to do something more practical and has never even visited her home or shop in Charleston. Fortunately, she has a good relationship with her grandmother who lives in a facility and who gives her the emotional support she needs.
The other characters in the book are well developed and add color to the story. Reading about how Teddi developed her business and met her employees was interesting and gave the reader more of Teddi’s history. Her friend Olivia is a book restorer and is obsessed with old books much like Teddi is with her antiques. Teddi has a persistent shoplifting customer who indirectly leads to Teddi finding romance in her life.
What was interesting to me was the fact that Teddi was able to see the value in older things, but was so blind when it came to her mother. It isn’t until it’s too late that Teddi discovers that there was so much more to her mother’s life the Teddi never knew about and that shaped who her mother was. Like Teddi’s beloved antiques, her mother had many layers that covered the person within, presenting an old worn out appearance that Teddi couldn’t see behind. Teddi does resolve her issues with her mother in a way that is satisfying but sad at the same time. The mystery of her brother’s disappearance is also resolved on some level. When the book ended, I wanted more. I wasn’t ready to stop reading. I look forward to reading a future book by this talented author.