Book Review: Everything In Its Place
Book Reviewed by Thumper
Everything In It’s Place is the first novel that I read by Evelyn Palfrey. When
I finished the novel, I remembered a conversation I had with the late Nora
DeLoach, author of the wonderful Mama mystery series. She classified her novels
as "cozy", meaning the novels were not hard edged, gritty, or excessively
violent. Everything In Its Place fits DeLoach’s definition of cozy and I loved
it! A nice, comfortable and intelligent read.
Bobbie Stickland is a middle aged school principal raising her young granddaughter, Monee. Her stable life with her granddaughter is thrown a double loop by two events: A new man, ex army officer Ray Caldwell, enters her life and heart; and when Darlene, Bobbie’s drug addicted daughter, seeks to regain custody of Monee. Bobbie is in a dilemma. She has to use one hand to keep her family together, and decide if she wants to use her other hand to reach out to love.
Everything In Its Place is a relaxed, solidly constructed novel that moves at a good clip. It didn’t take long after I started reading the novel before I knew I was in capable hands with Palfrey.
The novel contained a taste of suspense. When I read the prologue, I thought I was in for a hard-edged, violent book — which was fine with me. I do like my suspense novels gritty. Palfrey surprised me, for the novel is a secure, leisurely told story of a couple coming together, an unexpected and pleasant change of pace.
Palfrey’s lead characters were on point. Bobbie and Ray were wonderfully developed characters both were likable and believable. I was delighted to finally read a romance novel that featured mature, middle-age characters. I’ve long grown tired of lead characters that are always in their twenties with buff bodies and no common sense making the same soap opera, woman-loves-man, mistakes over and over again. *Yawn * It’s past time for African-American romance novels to feature characters in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who are not comic relief and/or providers of wise words from on high. Palfrey explored an often-neglected corner. These characters possessed idiosyncrasies that were annoying, yet were willing to open up their hearts to establish a new intimate relationship.
Everything In Its Place looks at a mature romance that begins with serious baggage. The novel has a light, airy quality that is rooted in reality — a chord that is difficult for others to strike, but one Palfrey plays with ease. Everything In Its Place is a novel I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to Palfrey’s next novel.