The Barnes & Noble Review
Late Bloomer is a powerful, character-driven story of girl whose life has been stunted by tragedy but who blossoms into womanhood when she finally faces her past…and reaches out for her future. Homecomings are often difficult, but Cady Jordan's return to Indigo Valley is particularly so. When Cady was ten, and about to move away, the final fling she'd planned with her friends ended in tragedy. A boy was killed, and Cady was badly injured and left with no memory of what happened. When no one else came forward to explain, everyone in town was quick to blame Cady -- everyone except her wonderful, eccentric grandmother. Fear of what she can't remember has haunted Cady for the past 20 years, but even that won't keep her from coming when her beloved grandmother asks for her help. What Cady doesn't know is that there are people in Indigo Valley who want the past to remain buried -- and Cady's only weapon is the dangerous truth that she's finally beginning to remember. Sue Stone
This sharply written romance offers cutting insight into the place of aging women in society, the definition of manliness and the dance of courtship itself. The joy that accompanies the happy ending of romance novels is restrained here by the gritty tone, the blunt presentation of cultural differences, and by Pritchard's insistence on the conflicting views that men and women have of courtship.
The eponymous late bloomer in this new novel by the prolific Michaels (No Place Like Home) is Cady Jordan, a dowdy 30-year-old loner who moves back to her hometown of Indigo, Pa., to take care of her ailing grandmother. Lola Jor Dan is no cuddly, cookie-baking granny; she's a flamboyant retired movie star, widowed six times and living on a lavish estate. She revamps Cady's wardrobe ("You're going to buy off the rack?") and encourages her to start living her life. But Cady can't: when she was 10 years old, she took part in a daredevil stunt that landed her in the hospital and killed another child. She has no memory of the accident, but has been a nervous, timid creature ever since. Now that she's back in Indigo, Cady hopes to recover her lost memory. Fortunately, the town is still home to all her cohorts of that day: Pete Danson, now a local lawyer; Boomer Ward, the town's police chief; Amy Hollister, who had been leader of the mischievous pack and is now a stay-at-home mom; and Amy's twin, Andy, an insurance salesman. The childhood attraction between Cady and Boomer becomes an on-and-off-again romance that complicates matters as Cady tries to get to the bottom of what happened, while her former playmates do everything they can to stop her. The action-packed plot holds few surprises, but Michaels's fans will be satisfied with this feel-good page-turner. (Feb.) Forecast: Michaels's protagonist may be a late bloomer, but this novel won't be-expect it to hit bestseller lists early, winning back readers who tired of her Kentucky series. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Twenty years ago, ten-year-old Cady Jordan fell from a Judas tree while playing with friends at the local watering hole. Cady was seriously injured while another child was killed. The oldest child pulled Cady from the water before running home to make an anonymous call to the police. Four of the children spent the next 20 years denying their presence at the Judas Grove that day while Cady spent those same years moving around the country. Now she returns to Pennsylvania to help her grandmother, rediscover her memory of the accident, and learn the truth about that fateful day. While both readers do credible jobs, Michelle Pawk (abridged version) has a slightly larger vocal repertoire than Anna Lauris, who narrates the unabridged set. Lauris's voice for Cady's mother sounds very similar to the voice used for another character. The abridged edition contains the meat of the work as the story moves along quickly and seamlessly. Continuity requires some listener concentration as sentences are not repeated at the beginning of a tape change; both readers have a limited range of tonal variations. Michaels's delightful sense of humor and understanding of human nature and frailties make this a riveting and poignant tale. Highly recommended for all public libraries; the abridged program is better priced for those with limited budgets.-Laurie Selwyn, Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Just what did happen under the Judas tree so long ago?
Cady Jordan suffered a head injury when she flew through the air on a bicycle attached to a cable slung from the Judas tree-and, years later, she still doesn't remember much about it. Her childhood buddies dared her to do it, and someone threw a rock that killed Jeff King, the neighborhood bully, who jumped on the bike with her at the last minute. The papers had a field day, even accusing ten-year-old Cady of killing teenaged Jeff, but the case was never resolved. Partially paralyzed for three years after the accident, Cady presently lives alone, in California, writing technical manuals for a living. Now, 20 years later, her ailing grandmother, a former movie star who took a stage name so as not to embarrass the strait-laced family, summons Cady to her Pennsylvania mansion. Cady gets a German shepherd for company and drives off to meet her legendary grandmother. Lola turns out to be quite a character, of course, at once imperious, kind, loving, self-absorbed, etc. She's buried six husbands and is bedridden with osteoporosis, but she's determined to help her granddaughter find happiness. When Cady's friends hear she's back in town, they convene to rehash the old case, well aware that they'd let everyone think Cady was the guilty party. Andy and Amy Hollister say they were throwing rocks to get Jeff away from Cady. Peter, a lawyer, doesn't think they can prove it. Boomer Maxwell, now chief of police, gets involved, and the small town is abuzz as reporter Larry Denville digs through old clippings and investigates up a storm. At long last, the culprit feels remorse, tries to wash away the guilt under a scalding shower-and ends upin a burn ward.
Energetic melodrama in straightforward style from the ever-popular Michaels (Plain Jane, 2001, etc.).
Publishers Weekly [A] feel-good page-turner.