review by Julie Failla Earhart
Albuquerque journalist Flora Adams is on the lam. Not from the law; if only it was that easy. She’s trying to run away from the cancer that has invaded her breast and her shaky marriage. Lacking the hair on her head as well as one breast, the over-forty woman is convinced that a trip to visit her aunt Cora in Lubbock, Texas, will restore her mind and spirit. Along the way, Flora subconsciously diverts herself to Muleshoe – a small town near the New Mexico border and the place where she was raised in an old ranch house.
The story that follows is both happy and sad. Author Paula Paul pulls the reader in with these two emotions. First, there is the connection to home. Second, is the sympathy readers feel for a woman who has barely finished chemo treatments. Third, is the wonderful cast of characters who populate Paul’s story. There’s Mac, to whom Flora is drawn; James Willie, Flora’s high school sweetheart and local sheriff; Mac’s nearest neighbors, Juan, Lucy and baby, Brittany; Mac’s newest house guest, his teenage great-granddaughter who has been sent to live with him when her mother believes she interferes with her life; and Flora’s husband, Jeff, a selfish jerk who shows Flora no support or even tries to understand what she is going through.
I found myself rooting for this woman who has lost her life’s compass. The writing is beautiful. Sentences fill the story, creating vivid imagery of the landscape and the struggles that each character must overcome. For example,
“The silence settles over us like a down-filled quilt and lies there for a moment.” (p. 122)
“Death is just a schedule we have to keep.” (p. 195)
This novel offers a strong message of conquering what life throws and I encourage readers to get their hands on a copy. You will not only get lost in a great story, but you will also be supporting a good cause. A portion of the author’s royalties for Crazy Quilt go to the University of New Mexico Cancer Research and Treatment Center for cancer research.