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Believing that children weigh a woman down like a pocket full of stones, Olivia avoided such entanglements for almost forty years...but when she meets ...
Believing that children weigh a woman down like a pocket full of stones, Olivia avoided such entanglements for almost forty years...but when she meets Charlie Doyle everything changes. Even though Charlie has a son, and a grandson he's supposedly never seen, Olivia is blinded by love and happily says "I do."
That happiness is cut short when Charlie dies on their honeymoon and Olivia returns home to find eleven year old Ethan Allen Doyle sitting on her doorstep. The boy's parents are dead and only two people know the truth of what happened-Ethan Allen isn't talking and the murderer wants to make certain he never does. Olivia is the only one who can stop it from happening.
Posted March 18, 2013
Spare Change is a wonderful, uplifting and heart tugging gem of a little book.
I love the southern “lingo” it makes me smile and reminds me of the time I spent in the south.
Olivia is a woman who is sure children will never be in her future, she sees no need of them at all.
Ethan Allen (I had a good laugh at this name!) is a little boy badly in need of some love and attention especially when he witnesses the death of his mother.
Afraid for his life, Ethan Allen runs off to find his grandpa but he finds Olivia instead and together with a zany cast of fun characters they find and fend off the man who murdered his mother.
Olivia & Ethan Realize love can conquer all and that they were meant to find and love each other.
I very much enjoyed this sweet book Bette offered me for review.
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Posted January 12, 2012
Every once in a while you read a book with characters that touch you. It’s the kind of book you want to share with others. Spare Change is that type of book. It’s the story of a woman who fears marriage and children at a time when all women long to walk down the aisle. It is a beautiful, heartwarming tale about love, loss and unexpected gifts. It deals with a violent murder, a witness and those who wish to keep it a secret. Above all, this novel offers characters you won't soon forget. Told from multiple points of view, this tale seeped from the pages and wrapped itself around my heart. I loved Crosby’s writing style. She took me into the mind of each character and with the character of Ethan Allen; she touched my heart. I am the mother of three and I had this overwhelming desire to scoop him up and hold him. Olivia cracked me up with her fears and superstitions and touched me with her bravery. Ethan Allen's mother is a memorable character who will shock you with her antics. The folks within the apartment community were delightful and I loved the way they protected Ethan Allen. While Spare Change, could have been delivered in a dark tragic tone; Crosby focuses’ on the strength of humankind and the power of faith and love. I highly recommend Spare Change to everyone. I read this novel in a few hours, but it will stay with me a lifetime. In my opinion this novel could find itself on the classics bookshelf. This would make an excellent book of the month, as it is sure to create discussion and evoke emotions. I am adding Betty Lee Crosby to my list of must read authors. I want to thank the author for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
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Posted November 7, 2013
Posted November 3, 2013
Posted October 24, 2013
Posted October 18, 2013
Posted October 15, 2013
Olivia never wanted to get married or have babies. She thought having babies would get in her way. When she was 40 she did met and married the love of her life Charlie. Olivia was very superstitious and stayed away from anything to do with the number 11. On their honeymoon Charlie gave her an Opal pendant and she wanted nothing more than to get rid of it but because he gave it to her she wore it.
Ethan Allen is a young boy who has a lot of things going on in his young life. Someone murdered his family and he takes off to find his grandfather who he has not met. But on the way someone is after him because he knows who murdered his family.
This book will make you laugh and cry. It is a wonderful story by a wonderful author and is well worth more than a 5 star rating. If I could I would give it a big 10 star rating. It is such a great read. Be sure and have some kleenex handy while reading it though. You will need them. But you will laugh a lot also. :)
Posted July 7, 2013
Olivia left home because her father said he would disown her if she went to work instead of getting
married and have children. So she stayed single until she met Charlie. In the meantime Ethan Allen,
a child, sees his parents murdered and runs for his life to his grandfather who he never met but only
received Christmas cards from. If you like Fannie Flagg and Ann B. Ross books, you will just love this
book. I sure did. It is funny, sad, scary and refreshing.
Posted July 2, 2013
I enjoyed reading Spare Change immensely. It was funny, poignant and sad. While reading it, I found myself laughing, stopping to think, and by the end of the book, wiping the tears from my eyes. I look forward to reading the rest of the books written by Bette Crosby. What a wonderful way to spend a weekend - being entertained by a wonderful writer! Thank you, Mrs. Crosby. Margaret Schumacher - Port Saint Lucie, FLWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2013
This heart warming story is mixed with thrilling tension, a group of good and miserable characters, life affirming Christian philosophy, murders, a superstitious older woman, and a young boy who will tug at your heart.
Eleven year old, Ethan Allen, was named after a furniture store by his Mom who definitely did not welcome her son into the world with joy. Her only aim of life was to go to New York to be discovered as a great singing star. Her husband spent all his days working his farm, and was just interested in his wife for cooking and sex.
During Ethan Allen's first eleven years he learned to fend for himself while taking advantage of anything and everything around him. This included a little blackmail for food and lots of big dreams and irresponsible fun with his Mom. But life was not especially good as his Mom and Dad spent much of their lives fighting , then 'making up'.
While up the coast, Olivia has determined to never get married nor ever have lots of babies hanging on her all the time. Superstitions ruled her life--especially knowing that anything involving the number eleven will ruin your life for sure! Then at 56, she finds the great love of her life.
Passions grow wonderfully and dangerously. Events converge and this story grows in intensity as the reader becomes involved in all characters lives. Home grown southern philosophy intrigues: "If you ain't on speaking terms with The Lord, what right you got to ask Him to help out."
Bette lee Crosby knows how to develop her characters in a story that you'll remember for a long time after finishing her book. This book will definitely exercise your heart muscle!
Posted April 3, 2013
I wish I could tell the entire world about this wonderful book. It is the story of a woman who late in life marries and than finds herself a grandmother. I situation she was not prepared for. This is a very emotion filled book. I laughed- I cried- and as always I tried talking characters out of what they were doing. And at its heart it is a God filled story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2013
"The Good Lord don’t do things that way- when He sees a person’s flat out of hope and feeling dead broke, He slips a bit of spare change into the bottom of their pocket; not a lot maybe, but enough for them to get by.”
Olivia Westerly disowned by her father when she bucks tradition and holds down a job and decides not to marry and have children. She was 26 years old and considered a spinster and that was just fine with her. Olivia is very superstitious as well – Eleven is the unluckiness number ever and opals mean a disaster is about to strike. Then forty years later she meets Charlie Doyle and he sweeps her off her feet. Then life takes an unexpected turn. Olivia is alone again and there is n eleven year boy at her door in search of his grandfather.
What a moving story!!! Full of emotion and heartwarming!!
Told from several points of view Bette Lee Crosby has written a story that will stay with you long after you reach the final word. What starts as two stories slowly merges into one. Olivia is a woman very set in her ways with absolutely no desire to have children “weigh her down”. Then Ethan Allen, a young boy who has fought and survived everything that was thrown at him including seeing something no child should have to witness, enters her life and turns her world inside out. An 11 year old, with a very foul mouth and no trouble slipping whatever he wants in his pockets could easily send Olivia over the edge.
Woven into this story is also a crime to be solved. It is not really a mystery because the reader knows the criminal but it takes the courage of a character to come forward all the while knowing their life is in danger.
With a definite Southern voice – dark at times, a bit of humor, a touch of religion, fantastic characters for the reader to love and hate, and an unexpected twist, this book gets my highest recommendation. The book has won several awards and readers will know why. This one is a keeper, a story you will want to read again and share with your friends.
Posted January 30, 2013
Olivia Westerly was NOT getting married and certainly NOT having children- she was not being tied down- but at the age of 58, she meets the man of her dreams, falls in love and gets married. Her new husband has a grown son and grandson.
This is a powerful story of struggle, triumph and love. An underprivileged child, a lonely widow, a riveting story that will have you laughing and crying. Quirky, down-home, interesting characters, humor, love, murder, a bit of a mystery and a wonderfully told story.
I loved this line "The Good Lord don't do things that way- when He sees a person's flat out of hope and feeling dead broke, He slips a bit of spare change into the bottom of their pocket; not a lot maybe, but enough for them to get by." I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
Posted December 11, 2012
Posted November 29, 2012
Great Southern Fiction!!
I absolutely devoured this book and can totally see myself re-reading it many times in the years to come because I fell in love with the characters! Bette Lee Crosby has quite a Southern voice in her writing, reminiscent of Fannie Flagg in Fried Green Tomatoes. Her characters are very honestly written, with both the good and bad aspects of human emotions being brought to life.
The story is told from the POV of multiple characters, which can become confusing if not done well, and thankfully, Ms. Crosby does it VERY well! Each character has a very unique voice, so you always know who is speaking. The first half of the book sets up the two groups of characters, Olivia and Charlie Doyle and how they get together, as well as Ethan Allen Doyle, his mother and father, and their lives. This leads us to the halfway point of the book, when Olivia and Ethan Allen finally meet. Olivia is a wonderful character: 58 years old, very superstitious about the number 11, who never wanted to have children and had given up on even having a family until she met Charlie. Unfortunately, their happiness is short-lived, but their marriage completely changes her outlook on life. Enter 11-year old Ethan Allen, Charlie's grandson who he never actually met, following his own personal tragedy. Ethan Allen has witnessed a murder and is running for his life, and the only place he has to go is to Olivia (in Charlie's absence), who doesn't know what to do with him, or how to help him. Along the way, they help each other deal with their grief and heal.
This is an extremely well written and edited book with very likable characters who you grow to care about and root for. Throw in a murder and the search for the killer - before he can find and silence Ethan Allen, the only witness - and you have one hell of a book! I highly recommend this for all lovers of great Southern fiction :)
Posted November 12, 2012
Turn off your cell phone and butter up some popcorn when you read Spare Change because you’re reading a book you’ll swear some studio has already bought the rights to turn into a movie. I admit, I’m drawn to southern characters and southern tales and Ms. Crosby has cooked up a good one in Spare Change. The characters are fully developed and layered with endearing traits, annoying habits and the right amount of quirkiness. They were so real, I wanted to sit in a booth next to them just to eavesdrop on their conversations you’ll be sure they’re having outside the book’s narrative.
Olivia Westerly is a confirmed bachelorette in an era when women aspired to marriage versus a career. Marriage means children and children mean emotional imprisonment. Olivia passes judgment on motherhood as she describes the birth of a friend’s child as having “added another one to her litter” and the baby as “howling like a banshee”” and how all the children “suck on her like so many leaches”. Ms. Crosby puts the reader in the mind of the characters in such a way that although we may not see the world the same way as her characters, the reader will certainly find her characters believable. The dialogue is refreshing, as well. Many writers struggle with bringing a voice to their characters through effective dialogue, but not Ms. Crosby. It is another hidden gem in this thoroughly enjoyable tale.
When Olivia is past childbearing years, she allows herself to fall hopelessly and deeply in love with Charlie Doyle. But their life together is not destined to be long one. When he passes suddenly, he unexpectedly leaves her with his young grandson. Except Olivia doesn’t know it, because besides her own story, there is another story unfolding which will soon bring together the lives of a young boy and an older woman who never wanted children.
Ethan Allen Doyle grew up in a combative household with a father who could be cruel and a mother so self absorbed and resentful of her life she couldn’t nurture him. The boy is a survivor who is both wise and naïve. Without some positive change to the trajectory of his life, you sense he will end up living the same sad life his parents do. When he runs away from home under tragic circumstances, he ends up on the doorstep of Olivia Westerly Doyle. The reason he is there and the ensuing drama bring a touch of suspense to this southern read.
Spare Change is a book about transformation, most notably Ethan’s and Olivia’s. But there are also the characters surrounding them who are transformed. I especially love the eclectic group of elderly neighbors living in the same apartment building as Olivia. They not only change the apartment building’s rules to accommodate a boy and his dog but to embrace and protect him. The rascally young boy changes them, as much as, their influence and the influence of his adopted grandmother Olivia, who never a desire to raise a child, changes him.
Word of advice, if this ever makes it to the big screen, bring tissues to the movie theater. At the end, I found myself brushing back my tears. Meanwhile, you can catch all of the action on your Kindle or in paperback.
Posted November 11, 2012
Comes full circle via a life-changing route.
This is a story that comes full circle. Told from the perspective and in the nuances of language of the main characters. Some crude, some refined, conversation remains true to its speaker.
An accidental death and a murder leave as witness, a young boy now homeless and traumatized. The murder is not the mystery. The mystery has more to do with the actions and reactions of the characters. The characterizations remain true throughout the book with the exception being the growth and change in two strangers. One about whom this story really revolves, Olivia Westerly, a woman with many insecurities and superstitions, the second about the young boy, Ethan Allen Doyle, terrified and putting up a bold, tough image for protection. Each chapter is named for its character, his or her thoughts, point of view, their own reality. At first a bit confusing, but I quickly got used to it as the story evolved.
Bette Lee Crosby has a remarkable instinct of people and their foibles. This book of fiction has a certain feel of reality. She has drawn the lines of good versus evil in an intriguing way. There are no loose threads, they are all tied together as the circle joins. A final chapter aptly named Heaven, a short heartwarming glimpse of heaven years later is tantalizing and perhaps the glue that keeps those loose threads sealed. A unique read, enough thrills, chills, sadness and happiness to keep the reader's attention.
Posted May 28, 2012
Posted April 28, 2012
I really liked this book. It was definitely madcap and gave me a few good laughs along the way. I enjoyed the spunky personalities, the determination of the characters, and the Mayberry feel to this book. I definitely recommend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 23, 2012
From page one I found myself squarely in Olivia's court. I loved her spunk and her resolve - even if I didn't agree with her reasoning. She is a hoot and a half - strong, determined, superstitious as all heck, loving and absolutely the kind of friend every woman should have at least one of. Before I realized what was happening, I was also drawn into Ethan's life and he had made a nest for himself in my heart right next to Olivia's - where it should be. This was a 'can't put it down' read - Bette Lee Crosby grabbed me by the heart on page one of Spare Change and dragged me through every emotion known to man before she eased up at the last page and left me with a new love. It doesn't happen often but my top 68 is now my top 69.
There is a bit of an abrupt and unexpected change from Olivia's story to Ethan's on page 29 so pay attention to the chapter headings and don't get lost. I loved the way, before each chapter, we get a page of what could be the character's diary. Just a few paragraphs of their thoughts and feelings in their own words. It made the characters come alive and added to the story line in a way that makes the book a "must read".
Aside from the characters and the plot, which are amazingly well constructed, Ms Crosby's writing style is a treat. It flows quickly and easily and is edged with humour. She is the type of storyteller that can transport the reader to another place and time to the exclusion of all else. I was rather abruptly returned to my living room, after what I thought was just a few minutes of reading after supper, by my husband patting my arm and asking if I was coming to bed. Where did that time go? Doesn't matter - it was time well spent.