"You'll fall instantly in love with Cedar Key and this homespun knitting community." --Lori Wilde
New York Times bestselling author Terri DuLong welcomes you to the colorful community of Cedar Key, Florida--a place where hearts are warm and friendship is true. . .
Josie Sullivan adores her Cedar Key home. It's been the ideal place to raise her daughter, Orli, who's just turning sixteen. Now that Josie has realized her dream of becoming a registered nurse, she's been offered the perfect job too--helping Dr. Simon Mancini run his new practice.
Until the clinic opens, Josie is filling in at Yarning Together, where she launches a series of knitting classes for men. Yet for all the vibrant changes, there are some tangled threads. Josie's romance-author mother, Shelby, receives a worrying diagnosis. And though Josie has always guarded her independence, her connection to Orli's father, Grant, seems to be rekindling. Most of all, as Shelby's college classmates rally around their dear friend, Josie begins to see that "home" is more than a place; it's the relationships woven into each life, strand by strand. . .
"An intriguing premise, a cozy, small-town backdrop, and even the hint of some magic. . .A sweet story, set in a friendlycommunity." --Kirkus on Postcards from Cedar Key
"Tender and poignant, perfect for those who love knitting as well as the bonds between women." –RT Book Reviews (4 Stars) on Sunrise on Cedar Key
"A delightful addition to that genre of needlecraft-inspired books." --Library Journal on Casting About
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Farewell to Cedar Key
By TERRI DuLONG
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Terri DuLong
All rights reserved.
"You want me to wear what?" I gripped the phone to my ear with one hand while I filled my coffee mug with the other. "Mom, come on. This isn't a film shoot for Gone with the Wind, and besides, I don't own a fancy frock." Frock? Who even used that term to describe a dress anymore?
I heard an exasperated sigh come across the line. "Josephine Shelby Sullivan, why do you always have to give me such a difficult time? Besides which, I'm not feeling that well."
My mother was really pushing my buttons now. She knew that I had changed my given name to Josie the day I began first grade. For three months I had refused to answer to Josephine, causing my mother to finally give in. It was only when she was upset with me that she reverted back to my given name.
"I'm not trying to be difficult, but at thirty-five I think I can be depended on to wear something appropriate for your photo shoot."
My mother was a New York Times best-selling author of romance novels. The name Shelby Sullivan was known throughout the world, and while I was proud of her accomplishments over the years, that fact didn't smooth our sometimes rocky relationship. She always meant well, and she was kind and giving, but she was also a control freak and drama queen. I used to wonder if it was because of her writing. If maybe the friction between us was due to the fact that I didn't allow her to manipulate me the way she did her characters.
"Look, Mom, I'll be at your house tomorrow at three. I won't be late. I'll wear that new aqua sundress I bought when you and I went shopping last month. It'll be fine. Now, please, stop worrying and just relax. And why are you not feeling well? What's wrong?"
I heard another sigh come across the line. "Nothing, nothing. Just a little tummy twinge. Okay. Oh, and Orli? Does she have something nice to wear? You know how important this photo shoot is. My publisher is thrilled that such a prominent magazine wants to do a feature article about me with my daughter and granddaughter."
"Yes, I know. And I know you're excited and nervous, but both Orli and I will be there at three ... appropriately attired. Now go have a glass of sweet tea, relax, and feel better."
"Right. I'll do just that. Oh, but Josie ... do you think perhaps I should have bought a few parasols that the three of us could hold for the photos? I thought maybe ..."
"No! Definitely not! No parasols. Bye, Mom," I said, disconnecting our call before she could come up with any other ideas.
Now it was my turn to let out a deep sigh before taking a sip of my coffee. I shook my head and then headed outside to the patio.
I curled up on the lounge and looked at the garden, which was now in full bloom with autumn flowers. Clusters of orange, purple, red, and yellow were arranged along the side of the yard. The rosebushes at the far end were vibrant with color, years after my grandmother had planted them. When she passed away a year after Orli was born, my mother inherited the house. I had been living in a small apartment downtown at the time. My parents lived on the tip of the island, near the airport, in the house where I had been raised. And although I tried to resist, not wanting to feel indebted to my mother, she had insisted that as a single parent raising a baby on her own, I should move into my grandmother's house. Which I did. It had been the smart thing to do. With three bedrooms, two baths, and a good-size family room and kitchen, it was ideal for me and my daughter. Plus, it had a lovely patio and garden, which had been the venue for many of Orli's birthday parties growing up. The location on Second Street also put us within walking distance of school and downtown.
Birthday, I thought. It was hard to believe that in three months my daughter would be turning sixteen. I had only been nineteen when I gave birth to her three days after Christmas. And here she was turning Sweet Sixteen soon, which made me realize I had better start thinking about a celebration for her.
"Are you out back?" I heard my best friend holler as she came around the side of the house.
"Yeah, I am," I said, and looked up to see Mallory walking toward the patio. "What's up?"
She lowered herself into the lounge beside me, reached across, and took a sip from my coffee mug. I was used to Mallory doing things like this. We had shared pretty much everything from the time we were in our mothers' wombs—even a birthday, five hours apart. Our mothers remained best friends to this day, and I guess it was only natural that Mallory and I would do the same. As young children we shared ice cream, candy, and toys. That evolved to sharing clothes, makeup, and ideas when we hit our teen years.
"Did you hear about poor Chloe? I just stopped at Yarning Together, and Dora told me Chloe had a nasty fall down the stairs at her apartment last evening."
I sat up straighter in my lounge. "No. My gosh, is she okay?"
"She broke her arm and is in a cast. Good thing that Berkley was home. She heard noise in the hallway and rushed out of her apartment to see Chloe at the bottom of the stairs. Berkley's the one that drove her to the emergency room at North Florida. They didn't get back till after midnight. Chloe's on something for the pain."
"Geez, that could have been much more serious than a broken arm, so I guess she was lucky."
I watched as Mallory took the last sip of my coffee. "Right. The problem is, Dora has nobody to work the shop with her."
"Hmm, true." Chloe and Dora were partners in the ownership of our local yarn shop downtown. "That does present a problem. With the triplets in day care, I wonder if Monica could help her out."
"Well, that would kind of defeat the purpose of day care. Monica is able to catch up on housework and laundry when the kids are gone those few hours each week."
"I guess you're right. She has her hands full. I know Chloe won't be able to knit.... Oh, God! I can't even imagine not having both of my hands for knitting, but when she feels up to it, maybe she could still go to the shop and assist with sales."
"Possibly, but ..."
I looked up when I heard Mallory hesitate. I knew that pause had something to do with me. "But what?" I asked, not sure I wanted to hear the answer.
"Well ... ah ... since you're out of work at the moment ... I was thinking maybe you could go in and help Dora out."
"Me?" Yes, I was an addicted knitter. And yes, I had been knitting since I was a child and could probably be considered an expert knitter. But help to run a yarn shop? I didn't think so. When I'd graduated the year before as a registered nurse and took my first position at the Urgent Care Center in Gainesville, I'd hoped the days of part-time jobs were behind me. But unfortunately, due to the economy and being the newest employee, I had lost my job the previous week.
"Sure, you," Mallory said. "You'd be helping Dora out, and hey, you said you'd have to start looking for a new job, right?"
"I meant a new job in nursing. You didn't mention this to Dora, did you?" When she remained silent, I said, "Oh, Mallory. You did. You told Dora that maybe I could help her out, didn't you?"
She stood up, and I saw a sheepish grin on her face. "Well, it was only a suggestion. Nothing is carved in stone. I just told her that maybe she should give you a call."
As if on cue, I heard the phone in the kitchen ringing.
"Thanks, Mallory," I said, jumping up to answer it.
"Oh, Josie, it's Dora," I heard after I said hello.
Mallory had followed me inside and was leaning against the counter, chewing on her thumbnail.
"Dora. How are you?" I asked as I shot my friend a menacing look.
"I'm fine, but did you hear about poor Chloe? She had a nasty tumble down the stairs last night at her place, broke her right arm."
"I'm so sorry to hear that," I said, and I did mean it. I braced myself for what I knew was coming.
"She's going to be in a cast for six to eight weeks while it heals. I'm afraid that means she won't be able to help customers with any knitting problems. Poor thing won't even be able to knit the projects she's working on. Now Marin can help out in a pinch, but she's pretty busy with the needlepoint shop and her classes. So ... I was wondering ... I heard that you got laid off from the clinic, and I'm sorry about that. But ... I was wondering if you'd be willing to help me out for a while until Chloe can come back. Of course I would pay you, and we'd work out a schedule that will be good for you."
I let out a deep breath. How could I say no to Miss Dora? I'd known her all my life, and she was one of the sweetest and kindest women I'd ever met. She needed my help, and that's what we did on this island. We helped each other. So of course, I said yes.
Later that evening, I was curled up on the sofa working on a cranberry top I was knitting for myself when Orli walked into the family room.
"Hey, sweetie," I said, glancing up. When did my daughter grow to be so tall? I'd bet anything she was less than an inch away from my five feet seven inches. She had always been a pretty child, but now she had morphed into an extremely attractive young lady. Long, dark wavy hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and just a touch of lip gloss was all she needed to add to her natural beauty. I was quite proud of my daughter. Not just because I had raised her pretty much on my own, but because in addition to being fun and pleasant, she had developed the valuable traits of compassion, insight, and kindness. Yes, I was proud of my daughter and the young adult she was becoming.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"I was going to go over to Laura's house for a while. We're working on a science project together."
"Sure. What time will you be home?"
"By nine," she said, leaning over to kiss my cheek before patting her cat, Clovelly, who was napping beside me.
"Okay, that's fine. Don't forget. We have to be at Grandma's house tomorrow afternoon at three for that magazine photo shoot."
Orli laughed. "I don't think Grandma would let me forget. She's left four messages on my cell."
I smiled and heard the door close behind her. Yup, that was my mother.CHAPTER 2
When Orli left for school the next morning, I got busy with laundry and housework. I had to admit that it was kind of nice not to have to zip out of the house by seven-thirty to make the one-hour drive to the clinic in Gainesville. But I also had to admit that I missed my nursing position—a career choice that had never tempted me until three years ago. Having dropped out of college my freshman year when I found out I was pregnant with Orli, I had returned home to Cedar Key. I had managed to get by with waitressing and cleaning jobs, and with the child support that Orli's father paid, we were okay financially. But time was something that I was short on—especially quality time with my daughter. As she grew older our expenses increased, and therefore I found myself working longer hours, giving me even less time with Orli. That was when I made the decision to return to college and become a registered nurse. Despite all the hours of study, it had been worth it. I had been fortunate to get the position at the clinic the month after I graduated—no weekends, a decent salary, and that extra time with Orli. Until last week. The doctor in charge of the clinic felt bad about letting me go, but with patient care down and expenses climbing, I understood he had no other choice.
After punching the button on the washer, I headed into the kitchen and had just placed two slices of bread into the toaster when the phone rang.
"Hey, Josie, how's it going?" I heard Orli's father ask.
I felt a smile cross my face. "Grant. Things are good here. How's it going with you? Enjoying the foliage in Beantown?"
Grant's laughter came across the line. "Not quite yet. But another month and those trees should be gorgeous."
"How's your new place? Do you mind the commute into Boston?"
"Not at all. Danvers is only about a forty-minute drive to my office. And I love my new condo. More spacious and much quieter."
Grant had sold his place in Boston the previous month—an apartment he'd owned since graduating Harvard and beginning his career as an attorney.
"Listen," he said. "The main reason I'm calling is because our girl is turning sixteen in a few months. Have you given any thought as to how you'll celebrate?"
Damn. I hadn't told Grant about the loss of my job, and even though I knew it wasn't my fault, it still made me feel like a failure.
"No, not really. Actually, there have been some things going on here." I paused, and when he remained silent, I continued. "I was informed last month that due to the economy, the clinic would have to let me go. My final day was last Friday. So I'm not really sure what I'm doing."
"Oh, Josie, I'm really sorry to hear that."
I heard the sincerity in his voice. "Yeah, I had been there a little over a year and I really liked it, but ... I'm in the process of looking for something else." I neglected to mention that I'd be working in the yarn shop for a while.
"Well, I had an idea, and I wanted to discuss it with you before mentioning it to Orli."
I recalled an incident about four years before when Grant had taken it upon himself to ask Orli if she'd like to spend Christmas in Paris with him. Making it even worse was the fact that it was my turn to have our daughter for the holidays that year. I didn't hide my anger with Grant, but after we discussed it, he apologized and promised that would never happen again. And it had not.
"So what's your idea?" I asked.
"Since Orli's birthday is a few days after Christmas, I thought maybe the two of you would like to come up here and spend the holiday with me. I know it's not my turn this year, but turning sixteen is special, and I was hoping the three of us could celebrate it together. Plus, my mother would also love to share Christmas and Orli's birthday. I would pay for your flight, and you know I have a guest room at my new place—so plenty of room for both you and Orli."
I felt a smile crossing my face. I loved the Boston area. I had lived there for a year while attending Emerson College, and when Orli was six I began allowing her to fly up to Boston to spend the summer with her dad and grandmother. During that first trip, though, I had insisted I would accompany Orli on the flight, stay a few days, and return two months later to fly home with her. Grant's mother, Molly Cooper, had extended a gracious invitation, allowing me to stay those days with her at her home in Marblehead. It had allowed us time to get to know each other better, and every year after that I felt secure in letting Orli fly from Tampa to Boston as an unaccompanied minor.
"Oh," I said. "That would be nice, and I know Orli would love it. But ... gee ... I don't know what to say right now because of my job situation. When I get a new job, it's doubtful that I'll be able to take time off right away, especially around the holidays."
"Not a problem. That's why I wanted to toss the idea out to you now. It gives you some time to think about it. But as soon as you decide, let me know so I can get the flights booked. Well, I'm due in court shortly, so I have to run. Give my love to Orli, and say hello to your parents for me."
"Will do," I said, hanging up the phone.
I tossed out the cold toast and opted for a blueberry muffin instead. Pouring myself another mug of coffee, I sat down at the table to begin scanning the newspaper when the phone rang again. I shoved a piece of muffin into my mouth and picked up the receiver to hear Mallory's voice.
"Are you still speaking to me?" she asked, but I heard the humor in her tone.
"I probably shouldn't be," I kidded her. "But yeah, I am. You are such a busybody. I can only imagine what you'll be like when we're old and gray."
I heard her laughter come across the line. "Aw, come on. Working in the yarn shop will be good for you. It'll give you some extra money and you'll be helping Dora. You are going to do it, aren't you?"
"You know I am. I called her, and it does sound like she's in a bit of a bind. So I told her I'll be in at ten tomorrow. Friday's are usually pretty busy in there, but hopefully early morning will be a good time for her to teach me the ropes."
"I don't think it'll take much time. You know the shop pretty well as a customer. Plus, I bet it'll be fun working in there. Just be careful not to have too many Y O's."
"Yarn orgasms," Mallory announced, causing me to laugh. "Being surrounded by all that yarn can be very seductive. Still headed to your mom's for that photo shoot this afternoon?"
Excerpted from Farewell to Cedar Key by TERRI DuLONG. Copyright © 2014 Terri DuLong. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Loved I hated to see it end
I'm excited and annoyed with finishing this cleaver book about love, friendships, knitting and family togetherness. Why? I came into the very end of this series. But--- I am excited about going back and reading all the earlier books, starting with SPINNING FORWARD. This group of women friends, who have been close for 50 years, reminds me so much of my own BFF group of friends that have been there loving and supporting each other through love, births, illnesses and death. Knitting, travels, books, and family are such great influences in real life, and Terri DuLong got all of these things so right in her book. Josie has had a great life raising her daughter alone. She starts a men's knitting group, supports her mom in a crises, and gets her dream job as an RN in the new hunky doctor's office. But there is always that nice friendship with her daughter's father across the country. Her daughter is coming up on her 16th birthday and both she and Josie are going to visit Dad, in Boston, for the holidays and her birthday. Josie's is also so supportive of, and supported by, her friends and their lives. The idea of friends being a family of their own, and remembering that tried and true saying --"home is where the heart is" --moves this book along quickly for the reader. I love the connection of all the characters in different age groups. The "issues" are so commonplace, but also special to this story. Now to start at the very beginning of life in Cedar Key, Florida.
I absolutely LOVED this book! Ms. DuLong has written another winner! I love the interaction between the characters and explanations on why they act the way they do. Some of them have faced challenges, but that doesn't stop them from making the most out of life. There are friendships that have lasted throughout the years, and everyone is supportive and there for each other when needed most. Josie, the main character is independent, yet not sure where her life is headed. She does a lot of soul searching and finally realizes that what she wants and needs was right there all along.
A real feel good book about very strong women. You'll laugh, cry and cheer the characters through there rough times. You also get a great Healing Cowl pattern.
My first chance to read this series – I love a ‘community centered’ story, and this did not disappoint. Being the last in the series, there were several characters that were introduced and already had a place in the story, and DuLong did manage to provide information that made their relationships feel solid, and encourage the reader to go back to the earlier books. I loved Josie and her relationship and interactions with nearly every character: from teaching the men how to knit, to her discussions with her daughter, her mother and even her new boss, she felt real and plausible: the sort of character you would want as a friend. Orii is very solidly sixteen, and her relationship with her father (and her mother’s desire to make their parenting relationship a solid friendly working one) managed to give another layer of complexity to the story, especially as Josie is seeing Grant in a new way. Simon is coming into Cedar Key with several points to his favor: handsome, single, doctor that is in need of someone to help at the clinic. Josie finds a new flirtation and a new job, fitting in with her own dreams of becoming an RN. These two have an attraction that has Josie in a bit of a conundrum: her choices between the known and the new give a romantic push that vies with the sweetness of the story. Other secondary characters are wonderfully crafted and built, and when Jane’s mother Sophie has a health scare, the true supportive nature and solidity that is gained from finding your place in the world shines through brightly. I need to stop picking up series at the end – it is so detrimental to my TBR pile! That being said, this is a series that I am most certainly adding to the pile, and have purchased the first five novels in the Cedar Key series. You’ll want to do the same if you are a fan of intertwined ‘small town feel’ stories that are solidly feel-good reads. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.