Garden Angel, The
"Cutter Johanson is plucky and eccentric, nostalgic about her family's once-glorious past. In her spare time, she gardens in the family cemetery and knits hair doilies. While writing obits for the local newspaper and waiting tables at the Pancake Palace, she is desperate to ward off potential buyers from her dilapidated ancestral homestead - and goes to extreme and often hilarious lengths to succeed. Though her neighborhood has changed, even grown shabby, the folks at Father Bob's Home for Retarded Men across the street have become a sort of extended family. Cutter's home is like another character, elegiac, full of secrets, providing her with a refuge from the modern world. That is, until Cutter's sister, Ginnie, pregnant with her married lover's child, brings trouble home." "Elizabeth Byers rarely ventures outside the brick ranch she shares with her husband, Daniel, a professor at Palmetto University. Agoraphobic and stricken with panic attacks, she fills her days gardening and writing her dissertation on Emily Dickinson. But one day, an anonymous call brings disturbing news that propels her into action. Elizabeth summons her courage to leave her house and drive into neighboring Sans Souci, and the disturbing, sad events that follow lead her to forge a friendship with Cutter, a stranger who reaches out to help." Cutter is losing her house, and Elizabeth is losing her husband. Surrounded by offbeat characters, the women pull together to seek sanctuary, only to plunge into a string of misadventures that will irreparably disrupt their lives - and the lives of others. This novel captures life in a down-at-the-heels small town and celebrates the power of friendship.