Second Coming of Lucy Hatch

( 14 )

Overview

I was thirty-three years old when my husband walked out into a field one morning and never came back, and I went in one quick leap from wife to widow.

Lucy Hatch never expected more of life than to spend it on an East Texas farm with her silent and stoic husband, Mitchell. Now that the curtain has abruptly come down, she's back where it all started — in tiny Mooney — living in a rundown old house perched on the edge of nowhere, meaning to carry...

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Overview

I was thirty-three years old when my husband walked out into a field one morning and never came back, and I went in one quick leap from wife to widow.

Lucy Hatch never expected more of life than to spend it on an East Texas farm with her silent and stoic husband, Mitchell. Now that the curtain has abruptly come down, she's back where it all started — in tiny Mooney — living in a rundown old house perched on the edge of nowhere, meaning to carry out her widowhood in the manner of her old maid Aunt Dove, in peaceful solitude.

But life, and the folks of Mooney, have other plans for Lucy. In hardly any time at all, she's mortified her entire family. And without even trying, she's caught the eye of the local handyman, Ash Farrell — lifting eyebrows and setting tongues wagging. Everyone in town, it seems, thinks theguitar-playing, lady-loving Ash is the wrong choice of company for a brand new widow. All Lucy Hatch knows for sure is that she hasn't had much worth remembering in her first thirty-three years. This is her life, after all, and for the very first time, she intends to live it.

Marsha Moyer's exhilarating debut is a funny, poignant, and winsome tale about self-discovery and starting over at the beginning — and of love popping up in the most unlikely place and time to transform a heart and nourish a soul. You're never going to forget Lucy Hatch.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
“Moyer’s writing comes across as strong and intelligent and her sense of narrative pace is wonderfully satisfying.”
Washington Post
“Moyer’s writing comes across as strong and intelligent and her sense of narrative pace is wonderfully satisfying.”
Publishers Weekly
Plangent with sorrow, wonder and hope, this is an immensely appealing novel about a woman who finds love the second time around. Suddenly widowed at 33 after 14 years of a barren, passionless marriage to a laconic farmer, Lucy Hatch Breward returns to her hometown of Mooney, Tex. Sparks fly when she meets hunk and ladies' man Ash Farrell, who's a carpenter extraordinaire by day and a seductive singer/guitar player who belts out country songs at the town honky-tonk, the Round-Up, at night. Guilt-ridden because she cannot mourn her husband's death, Lucy is reluctant to respond to Ash's blandishments. A classic situation ensues: he pursues, she resists; he pursues, she succumbs (during a heavy rain storm, and again and again... )-all in the full glare of town gossip. As the story of Lucy's psychological and emotional bewilderment and her gradual coming of age develops, first novelist Moyer seduces the reader with pitch-perfect prose fed by an observant eye and a wise heart. If some of the situations are the stuff of women's magazine fiction, Moyer is capable of sweet and insightful writing about the power of love to transcend grief. The dialogue is sharp and wry, with an authentic country twang, and humor is provided by colorful secondary characters whose only fault is that they're all excessively decent and kindhearted-but maybe that's the way people are in East Texas. On the other hand, Lucy's attempts to reconcile her past and future are realistically portrayed, granting her full dimensionality and emotional resonance. Agent, Barbara Braun. (Aug. 14) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Lucy Hatch is 33 and moving back to her hometown of Mooney, TX, because her husband of 14 years has just died in a freak accident. She is alone and must start over without Mitchell Breward, who was as steady as the land he loved. What worries her most, though, is that she is not as broken up over Mitchell's passing as she thinks a good wife should be. In fact, she is looking forward to the peace and solitude she expects her future life to hold. So when local heartthrob Ash Farrell starts showing interest in her, Lucy is torn between the strong feelings she is developing for this persistent stranger and her resolve to go it alone for the first time. She must also come to terms with the lack of affection in her first marriage. Moyer's debut novel has its share of stock characters and predictable plot lines, but her lilting prose and romantic story will make a good summer afternoon read. Recommended for all public libraries. Tamara Butler, Olean P.L., NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A heartwarming (or "heartwarming") first novel about an apparently intelligent young woman who makes a dumb first choice at love but gets a second chance. In Mooney, Texas, everyone knows as much about your past as they do about what you did last Saturday night-and this is where young widow Lucy Hatch, 33, comes back home, still trying to adjust to the sudden death of her husband Mitchell. Until the freak accident on their farm that killed him, she'd been married to Mitchell for 14 not unhappy but not exactly ecstatic years. Mitchell was a good man, but their sex life had not set Lucy on fire and she'd resigned herself to a quiet but safe life. Her family also lives in Mooney: her religion-obsessed mother, abandoned by their father; her wise aunt Dove, living happily alone; her older brother Bailey and his wife, free spirit Geneva. When Geneva finds a house for Lucy to rent and learns that Lucy is hardly beside herself with grief for Mitchell, she insists that Lucy accompany her and Bailey to the Round Up, the place where everyone goes to dance and hear handsome Ash Farrell, a local carpenter, songwriter, and singer. Lucy is smitten, but Ash has a reputation, and Lucy, not wanting to be one of his women, resists. Ash inevitably prevails, though first he'll have to survive a night in jail, and Lucy, despite the gossip and her mother's objections, is soon enjoying the kind of lovemaking and intimacy she never had with Mitchell. When she goes back to the farm to pick up family keepsakes, though, she's confronted by her contradictory feelings, and guilt-and breaks down. Is what she's shared with Ash too good to renounce? Can she reconcile her past with the present? Small-town life nicelydetailed. As a love story, though, sweet but unsubstantial: a romance snack.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060081669
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/8/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 955,427
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 5.22 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Marsha Moyer is a native of Texas and has lived there all her life. She is the author of one previous novel, The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



I was thirty-three years old when my husband walked out into the field one morning and never came back and I went in one quick leap from wife to widow. I wasn't the one who found him; that was Sam Gill, who'd come by to ask Mitchell to help him load a horse. He'd fallen off the tractor and under the blades of the mower -- my husband, Mitchell, not the horse; I guess we'll never know how. Try as I might, and I have a thousand times on a thousand nights, I cannot imagine such a thing; my mind creeps up on it, then turns and bolts. I can't let myself think it, a man shredded like a handful of husks, bleeding dry in the sun. I've never much liked machines, never trusted them, but Mitchell could drive anything, repair it, make it run, and he was not a careless man. I didn't love Mitchell, which you'd think would help but it doesn't, really, not when you've been with someone fourteen years and worn their presence next to you so long it's like a favorite old shirt, come to take for granted its smell and its feel. I didn't love Mitchell, but he was mine and that was something.

I never expected to be a young woman alone. I'd left home for Texarkana to type for an import-export company the week I graduated from high school, and wouldn't you know I'd meet a farmer and wind up not six months later, back in the country. It seemed like all I ever wanted, getting up while the sky was still purple velvet with just a rim of pink in the east, Mitchell in his overalls already headed for the barn when I carried my coffee cup out onto the porch to watch the horizon as one by one the fields went a slow, shimmering gold.Even in the heart of the summer I liked the windows flung open, filling the house with the smell of hay and horses and the sweetbriar roses that bloomed wild along the porch rail. The nights were as black and bottomless as water in a quarry, and when the moon rose over the pines the countryside seemed cast in liquid silver.

Mitchell was twenty-seven to my nineteen when we married and I admit I was taken in by it all, by the pull of the land, by Mitchell's years, his size and sureness, by the silence I mistook for a mark of masculinity. Still waters run deep; I'd heard it all my life and so I believed it, went on believing it, and accepted it because I'd been raised to fear the Lord and stand by my man. That Mitchell never particularly drew me was so far down the list of qualities I, at nineteen, found important in a man, I'd have laughed if you'd even put it on the list. Mitchell was big, quiet, constant. As opposed to my daddy Raymond Hatch, who, legend had it, was quick and sleek and loved to laugh. Who left on a sales trip and never came back. So I married stability and virtue, and virtue, as we know, is its own reward. On the one hand, I can say in truth that in fourteen years Mitchell never raised hand nor voice to me; on the other, I have to admit that he never grabbed me up hard in passion, and rarely laughed. But like anything that's not too uncomfortable, you find you can live with it. I became, in time, without even noticing, someone whose life she's learned not to mind.

Still, I went a little crazy when he died. It was so swift and so awful -- one minute I was wiping my hands on a dish towel at the kitchen sink, looking out between the curtains with their neat little rows of yellow teacups at the pear tree just starting to bud out beside the barn and thinking nothing much past what I'd cook for supper and tapping my toe to the radio. The next thing I knew, Sam Gill was standing outside the screen door with his CAT cap in his hands, his face bleached white under the tan, and even before he got his mouth open I knew. I'd never seen death before, not up close and grinning, but when it walked in I recognized it right away, no one had to introduce me. I don't remember what Sam said to me that morning, the words, although I can see every petal of the painted roses on the china cup sitting on the drainboard, a ring of cold coffee in its saucer, and I can hear as clear as anything the voice of Ernest Tubb, 'round and 'round, walking the floor over you. One look at Sam's face and I went to ice all over, and when he finally spoke I heard myself let loose a wild bark of laughter, my shock was so deep and so unspeakable -- as if Mitchell's silence was a crime deserving that hard a punishment.

I sat down at the kitchen table, still twisting the dish towel in my fists, while Sam lifted the telephone receiver off the wall. Pretty soon his wife, Mary, was there, and I started to laugh all over again when I saw the tears swimming in her round blue eyes. She went rummaging in the pantry until she found the bourbon and poured me a glassful, then pulled up a chair and circled me with her doughy arm; she smelled of yeast and cinnamon, like a fresh-baked sweet roll. The sheriff came, and then the long black car from the funeral home. I didn't stop laughing until Dr. Spikes arrived and gave me a pill, and made me wash it down with another...

The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch. Copyright © by Marsha Moyer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

  1. Lucy returns to her hometown after her husband's death expecting quiet solitude, but instead finds a passionate new life she never imagined. Is it possible to return to our roots and reinvent ourselves? Can we really ever go home again?
  2. Lucy tells us in the novel's first paragraph that "I didn't love Mitchell, but he was mine and that was something." Why did Lucy settle for a dull and barren marriage with Mitchell? How did it serve her?
  3. Lucy has what might best be described as a prickly relationship with her mother, while her real mother figure is Aunt Dove. How did this influence Lucy's development, and how does it affect her approach to her new life?
  4. Absent fathers is a recurring theme in the novel; both Lucy and Ash were abandoned as children by their fathers, and Ash himself left behind a wife and child. How are the characters affected by these absences? How are their relationships with one another influenced by them?
  5. Ash is a man whose life has in many ways been defined by loss, yet he's managed to retain resiliency and faith in the future. Why does this element of his nature appeal so strongly to Lucy?
  6. Lucy and Ash's budding relationship both scandalizes and titillates the residents of their hometown. How is their courtship influenced by this scrutiny? Do they come together because of or in spite of it?
  7. Discuss the role music plays in the book, and in Ash's pursuit of Lucy.
  8. Humor and pathos are interwoven throughout the novel. What is the function of each in the story? Does humor heighten tragedy, or diminish it?
  9. In the final chapter, Lucy's observation of the memorial Ash has constructed for Mrs. Tanner's latehusband evokes strong, and conflicting, responses in Lucy. What are some of the emotions this experience stirs up in her, and why?
  10. Why is Lucy initially unable to grieve for Mitchell? When she does at last come to terms with his death, what has she learned? Could she have reached this knowledge without Ash's assistance? Do you think Lucy has forgiven Mitchell his shortcomings? Would Mitchell forgive Lucy hers?
  11. Which character in the book did you best relate to on a personal level? Which one reminds you most of a friend or relative of your own? Which character would you most like to know? Why?
  12. Could this story have happened anywhere but small-town Texas? What makes a piece of writing such as The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch regional, or universal?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    good read

    a good read and the 2nd book Last of the Honky Tonk Angels is even better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2008

    Fantasic

    I really enjoyed this book! The character Lucy in the book was very relatable. She seemed like any other single woman in search of happiness. Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    Couldn't put it down!

    I really, really enjoyed this book. Can't wait to read the rest of the series. Would highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    favorite book

    simply outstanding! best book i have ever read in this genre. plot, character development, tone, prose, all outstanding. moyer has hit a home run with this book. have read it too many times to count.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2005

    I could not put it down!

    I actually read the sequel first, The Last of the Honky Tonk Angels, then went back and read this one to see how Lucy and Ash got together in the first place. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! Both books are really really good! You'll be rooting for Ash and Lucy to hook up! The part during the big flood is the BEST! You have to read it :) It's worth rereading. I went to the author's website and she has a third book in the series coming out eventually (soon i hope). I can't wait for that!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2005

    I loved this book!!

    I cannot believe I bought this book on clearance and let it sit on my shelf for months. I could not put this book down. If you like romance, this is one to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2004

    Outstanding does not describe

    The characters and location created by Marsha Moyer are easy to relate to and entertaining. This introduction to Lucy and her change in life offers numerous times to reflect on your life and the direction you are going. The character of Ash makes your heart stop and their love affair is one for the books. Lucy's character is so fun that you will not be able to put the book down and when you finish it you will be out to buy The Last of the Honky Tonk Angels to continue in the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2004

    Moyer Hatches a Hit!

    With this, her first novel, Marsha Moyer creates a funny, passionate Lucy attracted to 'the man of every women's dreams' in Ash. I'll forever remember his comment to Lucy: 'Baggage is how you carry the good stuff'. This is truly one you won't put down. Hopefully, it's someone's choice for a film - can't you see Faith Hill and Tim McGraw in this? Have to go finish the sequel!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2004

    WONDERFUL :)

    I love this book. I just finished reading it for the 2nd time, and it is still amazing. The story is touching and beautiful with a depth most romance type books don't achieve. Marsha Moyer does an amazing job pulling you into East Texas, so much its hard to come back to real life. And if you are familiar with Texas at all, she does a super job displaying it. I can't wait for her next novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2004

    Awesome reading!

    This book is fun and touching! I could not put it down. I highly recommend it to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2002

    A Literary Romance

    The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch is what I¿d call a literary romance. You probably won¿t find it in the Romance section of your bookstore; at least, I didn¿t in mine. But it¿s got all the ingredients: girl meets boy, they fall in love, but will they stay together? What gives it that ¿literary¿ stature is Marsha Moyer¿s voice. She knows how to tell a story; she knows how to pull you into the character¿s head and heart. The book flows like warmed molasses. I grinned; I even cried. A good read, most definitely. Helen Ginger, Editor of Doing It Write.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted November 13, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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