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Last of the Honky Tonk Angels

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On a lazy June morning in Mooney -- a wooded patch of sparsely populated northeast Texas -- a shiny red Chrysler sedan pulls up to the home of Lucy Hatch and Ash Farrell, depositing a teenage girl on their doorstep before speeding away. For Ash, town carpenter and musician, the unheralded arrival of the daughter he hasn't seen in nearly eight years is a life-altering shock. It's certain to further complicate Lucy's increasingly complex relationship with Ash as well, now that she has discovered she is pregnant ...

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Overview

On a lazy June morning in Mooney -- a wooded patch of sparsely populated northeast Texas -- a shiny red Chrysler sedan pulls up to the home of Lucy Hatch and Ash Farrell, depositing a teenage girl on their doorstep before speeding away. For Ash, town carpenter and musician, the unheralded arrival of the daughter he hasn't seen in nearly eight years is a life-altering shock. It's certain to further complicate Lucy's increasingly complex relationship with Ash as well, now that she has discovered she is pregnant with his child. And angry, rebellious Denny must learn to live with a father she barely knows and the stranger who now shares his life -- in a town far tinier than any that has imprisoned her before -- as they all search for that elusive common bond that will help them become, at last, that most rare and precious thing: a family.

From the acclaimed author of The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch comes a funny, poignant, startling and uplifting novel of love and forgiveness that will remind every reader how good it is to be alive.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When we last saw Lucy Hatch, the spunky young widow of Moyer's first novel, she had succumbed to the whirlwind courtship of irresistible Ash Farrell, day-job carpenter and nighttime singer of country blues at the honky-tonk in their small northeast Texas town. Three months later and still steamy with sexual combustion, Lucy and Ash are shocked by the arrival of Ash's 14-year-old daughter, Denny, who's dumped on their doorstep by her flyaway mom. Lucy is knocked askew. Not only is she suddenly a surrogate parent, she also discovers that she's about to become a mother herself. The suspense of this sequel is activated by the leading characters' secrets. Lucy is afraid to tell Ash about the baby; Ash has ambitions in Nashville that he's keeping close to his chest; and ugly duckling Denny just wants to sing and play the guitar like her father does. Complications ensue, but they're down to earth and credible, if not dramatic. As before, Moyer makes the smalltown Texas atmosphere almost palpable: the heat, the (always good-hearted) gossip; the daily, dedicated beer drinking; the consumption of fast and fried foods are as authentic as a 10-gallon hat. Celebrations such as Juneteenth and the Fourth of July have a real rural flavor, and the twanging plaints of country music infuse everyday lives. When Denny's friendship with a black boy incites racism, the plot twist is predictable. On the other hand, Moyer springs a surprising insight into Ash's past, in the person of his mysterious mother, to explain the contradictory impulses that rule his behavior. While the romantic pas de deux in The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch had an astringent edge, this novel has the sweeter tone of people making do with the hands life deals them. Readers who met Lucy the first time around will want to follow the further adventures of this engaging heroine. Agent, Barbara Braun. Author tour. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Heartfelt sequel to The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch (2002). Spending a morning in bed with her true love, Ash Farrell, cabinetmaker and country-western singer, is Lucy's idea of heaven on earth. Seems nothing can go wrong in their sunny little patch of northeast Texas-until Ash's teenage daughter Denny gets dumped on his doorstep by her hard-hearted mother. On top of this sudden change, Lucy can't imagine what will happen when he finds out that she's unexpectedly pregnant-she'd assumed that she was infertile, since her husband, who died in an accident six months earlier, had always blamed her. He must have been wearing his boxers a tad too tight-but they hardly ever had sex anyway. Lucy's at sixes and sevens, wondering what to do and when-or if-to tell Ash. Then Denny happens to overhear her talking about it to a friend, and the girl assumes that she wants an abortion. Well, no, Lucy's not sure. Now that Ash and his daughter are discovering that they share a talent for making music, maybe there's no place for her. She'll have to run away to her own little house and think it over, leaving the Farrells to get to know each other at last. Like any country musician, Ash has big dreams about going to Nashville someday, with or without Denny. But there's work to do first: someone has to explore the secrets of the past, this being women's fiction. And the someone is Denny, who connects with the grandmother she never knew and learns why Evelyn gave Ash away when he was a little boy: she was the victim of vicious abuse from her husband and mentally ill to boot. But the tough old lady teaches Denny a few things about love and fishing, and eases the girl's troubled heart, who finds that happiness isright in her own backyard. Lyrical and leisurely. Nothing new, but as comfortable as old jeans. Agent: Barbara Braun
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060081645
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/20/2004
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (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

The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels

A Novel
By Marsha Moyer

William Morrow

ISBN: 0060081635


Chapter One


Lucy

Looking back, it seems like there wasn't anything remarkable about that morning, just one of what till then had been an unbroken chain of mornings like it, a long fever spell of green and summertime and damp sheets and bare skin and Ash at the center, at the heart, of everything. We'd slept late, him spooned up tight behind me and, in the dreamlike way of those mornings, came awake with him, almost by accident, fitting himself inside me; there was no urgency to it, only something sweet and congenial, and we lay like that, joined but motionless, for a long time before his fingers traced their way over my hipbone and I started squirming and things shifted into the next gear, as such things are wont to do. I knew he had work to do that morning - building kitchen cabinets for old Mrs. Crouch at her house in town - but there was nothing rushed in his attentions, nothing that suggested there was anywhere in the world he had to be but there with me, his belly sweating against my back, breathing into the uncombed tangle of my hair, the two of us straining gently, then not so gently, toward some mutually agreeable conclusion.

He got up, finally, and switched on the air conditioner; even in June, Ash liked to sleep with the windows open and the warm night breeze drifting in through the screens, nothing but the blades of the ceiling fan slapping their tranquil rhythm overhead, but by ten A.M. the house was starting to stifle. He got into the shower, and I lay back against the sheets, positioning myself under the vent and allowing the cold jets of air to play across my warm, moist skin, turning it to gooseflesh. The sun through the curtains stippled my torso and thighs with, bands of lemony light, and I recall very plainly that I loved my body, marveled not just at its health and vitality, its ability to serve and to please me, but at the round symmetry of my breasts, gently swelled belly, taut-muscled thighs, the pure expanse of my creamy, pink-tipped skin. I looked, I decided happily, juicy. It was no wonder Ash Farrell had been late for work every day for a month.

The shower stopped, and a cloud of steam drifted in from the bathroom, and in a few seconds I heard him humming, which meant he was shaving. A few minutes later he emerged, naked, his wet hair combed off his forehead. I smiled and preened at him from the bed, and he smiled back absently as he crossed to the walk-in closet.

"Ash?"

He came out stuffing the tail of a faded gray T-shirt into the waistband of his Levi's. "Where are my boots?" he asked, and knelt and peered under the bed.

"Ash," I said again, and he lifted his head and said, "What?"

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

He gave me an indulgent half smile, the kind men give their women when the women say or do something goofy or knuckleheaded. "I can't believe you have to ask me that," he said. But I had his attention now; I arched my back, rearranging myself among the disheveled sheets. "Do you mean beautiful in general, or now, in particular?" He sat down carefully at the foot of the mattress. Looking, but not touching.

"Either one," I said, stretching a bare foot toward him. "Now, in particular, I guess."

"It's a tempting display, I admit." He looked interested but wary, like I might be trying to dupe him.

"Don't you think I look juicy?" I pushed myself up on my elbows, nipples peaked and rosy in the stream of refrigerated air. A final assault, I let my right knee fall gently open, giving him the brunt of what, I hoped, I was talking about.

Ash laughed, and stretched out his hand and wrapped it around my nearest ankle. "Juicy Lucy," he said, and bent and kissed my instep. "That would be you."

"Don't go," I said, and I think we both were surprised by the edge in my voice, that what had been playful seconds before now sounded pinched and a little desperate.

He bent and nuzzled my cheek with his, freshly scraped and still smelling of shaving cream. "Mrs. Crouch is gonna fire my sorry ass," he whispered, his breath against my mouth making me shiver. Like the search for his boots under the bed, the remark was rhetorical. How many days like this in your life do you get to count, you and another soul reaching out across the wide, dark universe and in a single point of brightness finding each other? Ash knelt in his beat-up Levi's over me, and I pulled him into my arms so hard I could feel the precise arrangement of bone beneath muscle, so hard I could feel our two hearts beating, chest to chest.

He raised his face and looked into my eyes. "My Lord, Luce," he said. "What are you trying to do to me?" But I couldn't answer him. How was I supposed to put a name to what I felt? Why were all the words so frail and insubstantial? As long as I knew Ash, I would be looking for words to match the sensations, to declare myself with something approaching the scope of what our bodies learned to do.

I let him go, and he sat up and pulled on a pair of socks, and brought his boots out from under the bed. He lifted his pager off the dresser and squinted at it. "Uh-oh," he said. I listened to him pad down the hall in his sock feet and lift the phone out of its cradle. "Good morning, Mrs. Crouch, this is Ash Farrell. Yes, ma'am, I know I said nine o'clock and it's ten-thirty. Yes, ma'am, but you see, those fellows down at the True Value, the ones who were supposed to order the hinges for your kitchen cupboards ..."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels by Marsha Moyer
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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First Chapter

Chapter One

Lucy

Looking back, it seems like there wasn't anything remarkable about that morning, just one of what till then had been an unbroken chain of mornings like it, a long fever spell of green and summertime and damp sheets and bare skin and Ash at the center, at the heart, of everything. We'd slept late, him spooned up tight behind me and, in the dreamlike way of those mornings, came awake with him, almost by accident, fitting himself inside me; there was no urgency to it, only something sweet and congenial, and we lay like that, joined but motionless, for a long time before his fingers traced their way over my hipbone and I started squirming and things shifted into the next gear, as such things are wont to do. I knew he had work to do that morning -- building kitchen cabinets for old Mrs. Crouch at her house in town -- but there was nothing rushed in his attentions, nothing that suggested there was anywhere in the world he had to be but there with me, his belly sweating against my back, breathing into the uncombed tangle of my hair, the two of us straining gently, then not so gently, toward some mutually agreeable conclusion.

He got up, finally, and switched on the air conditioner; even in June, Ash liked to sleep with the windows open and the warm night breeze drifting in through the screens, nothing but the blades of the ceiling fan slapping their tranquil rhythm overhead, but by ten A.M. the house was starting to stifle. He got into the shower, and I lay back against the sheets, positioning myself under the vent and allowing the cold jets of air to play across my warm, moist skin, turning it to gooseflesh. The sun through the curtains stippled my torso and thighs with, bands of lemony light, and I recall very plainly that I loved my body, marveled not just at its health and vitality, its ability to serve and to please me, but at the round symmetry of my breasts, gently swelled belly, taut-muscled thighs, the pure expanse of my creamy, pink-tipped skin. I looked, I decided happily, juicy. It was no wonder Ash Farrell had been late for work every day for a month.

The shower stopped, and a cloud of steam drifted in from the bathroom, and in a few seconds I heard him humming, which meant he was shaving. A few minutes later he emerged, naked, his wet hair combed off his forehead. I smiled and preened at him from the bed, and he smiled back absently as he crossed to the walk-in closet.

"Ash?"

He came out stuffing the tail of a faded gray T-shirt into the waistband of his Levi's. "Where are my boots?" he asked, and knelt and peered under the bed.

"Ash," I said again, and he lifted his head and said, "What?"

"Do you think I'm beautiful?"

He gave me an indulgent half smile, the kind men give their women when the women say or do something goofy or knuckleheaded. "I can't believe you have to ask me that," he said. But I had his attention now; I arched my back, rearranging myself among the disheveled sheets. "Do you mean beautiful in general, or now, in particular?" He sat down carefully at the foot of the mattress. Looking, but not touching.

"Either one," I said, stretching a bare foot toward him. "Now, in particular, I guess."

"It's a tempting display, I admit." He looked interested but wary, like I might be trying to dupe him.

"Don't you think I look juicy?" I pushed myself up on my elbows, nipples peaked and rosy in the stream of refrigerated air. A final assault, I let my right knee fall gently open, giving him the brunt of what, I hoped, I was talking about.

Ash laughed, and stretched out his hand and wrapped it around my nearest ankle. "Juicy Lucy," he said, and bent and kissed my instep. "That would be you."

"Don't go," I said, and I think we both were surprised by the edge in my voice, that what had been playful seconds before now sounded pinched and a little desperate.

He bent and nuzzled my cheek with his, freshly scraped and still smelling of shaving cream. "Mrs. Crouch is gonna fire my sorry ass," he whispered, his breath against my mouth making me shiver. Like the search for his boots under the bed, the remark was rhetorical. How many days like this in your life do you get to count, you and another soul reaching out across the wide, dark universe and in a single point of brightness finding each other? Ash knelt in his beat-up Levi's over me, and I pulled him into my arms so hard I could feel the precise arrangement of bone beneath muscle, so hard I could feel our two hearts beating, chest to chest.

He raised his face and looked into my eyes. "My Lord, Luce," he said. "What are you trying to do to me?" But I couldn't answer him. How was I supposed to put a name to what I felt? Why were all the words so frail and insubstantial? As long as I knew Ash, I would be looking for words to match the sensations, to declare myself with something approaching the scope of what our bodies learned to do.

I let him go, and he sat up and pulled on a pair of socks, and brought his boots out from under the bed. He lifted his pager off the dresser and squinted at it. "Uh-oh," he said. I listened to him pad down the hall in his sock feet and lift the phone out of its cradle. "Good morning, Mrs. Crouch, this is Ash Farrell. Yes, ma'am, I know I said nine o'clock and it's ten-thirty. Yes, ma'am, but you see, those fellows down at the True Value, the ones who were supposed to order the hinges for your kitchen cupboards ... "

The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels. Copyright © by Marsha Moyer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fun read

    Wasn't sure what to think at the beginning, but the story moves along well and I found myself wanting to see where the characters went and how they ended up. Good descriptions that bought you into their world and easy to picture.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 21, 2008

    great read!!

    Loved this one!! Great story line.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2008

    excellent read

    this is the 2nd in series w/the 1st being The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch and I liked this one better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2007

    Great, quick read.

    I picked up The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch & was quickly hooked. When I learned there was a follow up, I HAD to pick it up. I was not disappointed. It's a light, fun read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2005

    Small Town Texas Fun!

    This is a great portrait of a small Texas town--the characters, gossip, and all. I enjoyed every word! I truly hope there are more sagas to come about Lucy Hatch and those in her orbit. Keep 'em coming.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2004

    5 Stars is not enough!!

    I dare say it is better then the first (The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch). This story introduces new characters. Ash's daughter Denny is introduced and in deuling chapters her and Lucy lay the story out. The world that is created by Marsha Moyer is fun, creative, and will not let you walk away. This book hooks you like a fish and will not let go. The story is fun and light hearted with some veins of real life concerns. It is a very easy book to get lost in and all you want is more!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent!!

    In Texas three months have passed since widow Lucy Hatch moved in with carpenter and country blues singer Ash Farrell with the sex remaining as heated as when they first met. However, both are suddenly stunned when Ash¿s fourteen year old daughter Denny, a stranger he has not seen in almost a decade, is dumped on them by her flitter of a mom. Apparently, Ash¿s former wife has no room for a daughter when she starts her new job. As the couple struggles to become parents to the brooding angry teen, Lucy also learns that she is pregnant with Ash¿s second child...................... She fears telling Ash because he has ambitions that an infant could thwart. Meanwhile Ash has ambitions to travel Nashville to perform, but he fails to share his plans with Lucy for fear that his ambition will destroy their relationship. While both try to do right by Denny, she has no interest in anything except to emulate her blues playing father............................ Fans of the SECOND COMING OF LUCY HATCH will enjoy this sweeter sequel starring the delightful Lucy and her significant other Ash. The tale focuses on the impact of keeping important secrets from a loved one as both lead characters cause relationship problems by doing so. Denny and her mom provide deeper insight into Ash¿s past. Though a couple of subplots spin away from the prime theme of honesty is the best policy in a relationship, family drama fans will enjoy the continuing saga of Lucy and Ash because they are full blooded characters supported by a powerful secondary team.............................. Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2003

    real people

    I HAVEN'T READ A BOOK IN AWHILE, AND I WAS IN BARNES AND NOBLE AND LIKED THE COVER OF THE BOOK. I BOUGHT IT AND I AM SO GLAD I DID. IT'S WONDERFUL!! I ENJOYED THIS BOOK IMMENSELY. SINCE I'VE PASSED IT AROUND TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND HAVEN'T HEARD ONE BAD THING. EVERYONE LOVES IT. CAN'T WAIT TO READ MORE FROM YOU. I ACTUALLY HAVEN'T READ THE FIRST BOOK YET I HAVE TO GO LOOK FOR IT. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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