Mood: Monday (it’s a Mood)
Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank
“It all started when I saw myself dead.”
For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn’t enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.
Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen– do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.
Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.
In Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes, Denise Grover Swank has spun a tale that is part romance, part mystery and a compelling character study filled with a heavy dose of sleepy southern charm.
Rose, the product of an extremely critical and overbearing “momma”, is used to being the object of scrutiny in her small home town but she’s definitely not ready for the amount of scrutiny that comes with being the prime suspect in the murder of her momma. The local busy bodies are ready to run her out of town on a rail. The police are keeping an ever watchful eye on her and her sister, Violet, is sure she knows what’s best for Rose. Also, her totally crush worthy but completely mysterious neighbor Joe is an unexpected complication in her life – but Rose is a woman on a mission to discover herself and live her life to the fullest – at least for the short amount of time she might have before either the local police arrest her or the murderers who killed her momma succeed in coming back for her.
At a Glance
1.) Rose is an amazingly real, three dimensional character and through the course of the novel she grows and really gains a sense of who she is and what she’s capable of doing. It’s a completely organic transition that is flawlessly woven through the story. LOVE this.
2.) The “supporting” cast of characters is well rounded and very believable – from the busy body church ladies to Violet who desperately loves her sister but, in some ways, is just as overbearing as momma was.
3.) The southern charm. I’m just sure if I drove far enough through the south, I’d stumble across the little town of Henryetta where Rose is working at the DMV and the blue haired busy bodies are still fussing. It’s this realism that keeps the reader engaged in Rose’s story and keeps Rose in your mind long after you’ve finished reading.
4.) Joe *swoons*. Seriously. This is a massively crush worthy hero and not just because he’s totally sexy and mysterious enough to keep you constantly on edge, but because he’s strong enough to let Rose learn to be strong as well. The fact that he’s willing to help her cross a few things off her list? *ahem – do more with a man* Is an added bonus.