Review for Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt @angiehunt


Back of the book:

Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.

Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.

About the author:

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With nearly four million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books to nonfiction books to novels.

Now that her two children have reached their twenties, Angie and her husband live in Florida with Very Big Dogs (a direct result of watching Turner and Hooch and Sandlot too many times). This affinity for mastiffs has not been without its rewards--one of their dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest canine in America. Their dog received this dubious honor after an all-expenses-paid trip to Manhattan for the dog and the Hunts, complete with VIP air travel and a stretch limo in which they toured New York City.

Afterward, the dog gave out pawtographs at the airport.

Angela admits to being fascinated by animals, medicine, psychology, unexplained phenomena, and “just about everything” except sports. Books, she says, have always shaped her life— in the fifth grade she learned how to flirt from reading Gone with the Wind.

Her books have won the coveted Christy Award, several Angel Awards from Excellence in Media, and the Gold and Silver Medallions from Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. In 2007, her novel The Note was featured as a Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel. Romantic Times Book Club presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

Also in 2006, Angela completed her Master of Biblical Studies in Theology degree. She completed her doctorate in 2008 and was accepted into a Th.D. program in 2009. When she’s not home reading or writing, Angie often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers’ conferences. And to talk about her dogs, of course.

My thoughts:

If you’ve ever read any of Angela Hunt’s books you already know she is a master storyteller when it comes to human relationships. She has an uncanny way of capturing the true emotions involved in complex associations of the heart.

She has done it once again in Five Miles South of Peculiar. In this new body of work she takes us inside the world of sisters. Being a sister is complicated. One moment you adore your sibling and the next you would like to pull her hair out. In different ways this plays out even into adulthood.

From the beginning of the book I was frustrated with Darly. In fact even after turning the last page I remained frustrated with Darly. But the author used her as a great example of what happens to a person that harbors a deep seeded resentment towards someone. Add to that a life altering secret and you can see how bitterness and distrust of everyone (herself included) came about.

Carly was the sister that I most related to. She proved to be a great example of pride coming before a fall. She wound up paying a very high price for her dream. She lost her dreams in many ways and instead of moving on she began to wall herself off. It helps in keeping yourself from being hurt again and again…but it is also a very lonely existence.

Poor Nolie. She’s the perfect example of how the actions of others can leave deep scars in your life. I loved watching her blossom. She did it in very tiny baby steps. But those steps just kept moving forward.

For all the sisters out there, this is a great read to ponder your relationships. It is going to cause you to reevaluate how you interact with your sisters. It would be interesting to use the discussion questions with a group of sisters.

Favorite quotes:

Southern families associate their homes with their loved ones, and no room is more family friendly than the kitchen. Clutter is allowed here, scuff marks on the wall are perfectly presentable, and no one minds if a few dirty dishes wait in the sink. Children are encouraged to cook with their parents (and allowed to lick the mixing spoon); parents pretend not to notice when kids drop bits of their dinner for the family pet, and the pot for making sweet tea resides permanently on the stove.

“But if you spend all your time missing what’s missing, you’ll miss all the good things you could be enjoying” ~ Carly

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