In Beth Hoffman’s second novel, Looking for Me, Teddi Overman is living her dream. She discovered her passion at the age of ten. An old tired dining chair abandoned in a rural Kentucky ditch caught her eye. Despite the steamy summer heat, she lugged the chair a half mile to her home.

She saw beauty where others, including her mother, saw junk. With her grandmother’s help she restored the broken down chair to its former beauty. More old furniture found its way home with her and she began to sell her restored pieces.

When she was 17 years old one of those pieces went to Jackson T. Palmer, owner of an antique shop in Charleston, South Carolina. She shared with him her dream to have her own shop. He shared with her a business card and a lesson about undervaluing her talent.

As high school graduation approaches Teddi finds herself at odds with her mother over the future. Her mother wants Teddi to go to secretarial school and buys her a typewriter for a graduation gift. Teddi is equally determined to follow her dream.

With a trip to a business college looming on the horizon Teddi packs her bags and steals away from home soon after high school graduation. She leaves behind her parents, grandmother and brother Josh. With business card in hand she heads to Charleston and finds Jackson Palmer. Through good fortune and hard work Teddi does realize her dream but at what cost?

Teddi’s story bounces back and forth between the present and the past. Her work, her remaining family members and her friends are the present in Charleston. The past is the family farm in rural Kentucky with her father, deeply unhappy mother, grandmother, and little brother.

Despite an age difference of several years Teddi and her brother share a special bond. Josh thrives as a young boy on a farm. They share secret places and Josh gifts her with feathers and knowledge about his passion, nature. His affinity with nature and animals deepens as he ages until by the time he is a teen it is almost mystical.

Teddi makes the trek from Charleston to the family farm as often as she can manage. On one such visit, Josh heads into the wilderness and never returns. Several searches turn up nothing and eventually he is presumed dead.

Teddi, however, cannot accept that Josh is dead. She continues to search and leave messages for him. But as years pass she eventually learns to deal with his disappearance; until she finds reason to believe Josh is alive.

Although the mystery of Josh’s disappearance helps drive the story, this novel is about Teddi and those she interacts with both now and in the past. It is not my usual mystery novel nor is it a romance, even though it has a romantic element.

It’s a novel about choices made and their consequences. It is about how you react to the hand your dealt and learning that people and relationships are not always what they seem.

If you read and liked Debbie Macomber’s “Susannah’s Garden” or Luanne Rice’s “Summer’s Child”, I think you’ll enjoy this one. The library has it in regular print and large print.

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