Friday, November 22, 2019

A delightful book by Annette Randall Haws

Maggie's Place 

by Annette Randall Haws 

a review

Meet Maggie Sullivan, 74, widowed, healthy, mentally sharp, living in the historic Eagle Gate Apartments in the heart of Salt Lake City, where it’s close enough to walk or take the bus anywhere she wants to go. Maggie’s in what she calls Act Three of her life, “more agile than most and still in possession of her original knees,” (and her own teeth), and chooses to live every day of that life happily. After the rent’s paid, her means are modest, (i.e., nearly nonexistent), but her needs are few; she’s comfortable and surrounded by good friends, who believe “anytime’s an excuse for a party” or a lively game of Scrabble. 

Devastating and painful secrets from Acts One and Two of her life caused Maggie to revert to her maiden name and begin a new life, Act Three. Maggie’s grand-niece Carly appears at her door, deathly ill, with dangerous gang connections. Maggie takes her in lovingly, knowing Carly could run back to the gang anytime, but prays she won’t. A mysterious wealthy man, Ed from 8-B, begins to pay attention to Maggie, but, unlike the throng of eligible single women longing to meet him, casseroles in hand, Maggie’s not interested in dating, and something’s not quite right about Ed.

In Maggie’s Place, Salt Lake City is featured almost as a character itself, with its unique and historical beauty, upscale lifestyle and culture, and, unfortunately, with its underbelly of crime common to all large cities. Haws knows the city well, bringing the reader right to the actual bus stop where Maggie waits to ride to her part-time job at a knitting shop; the Symphony; the Broadway Theater; the Alta Club; the Beehive House, power walks around Temple Square; the unpredictable, often brutal, but sometimes extraordinarily beautiful winter weather; and the quiet old elegance of the Eagle Gate Apartments. Best of all, Haws leads us into the hearts and souls of the well-developed characters who live in them, as well as those who don’t.

Maggie’s place is a cozy read. Haws takes an honest, unflinching look at aging and all that goes with it, addressing it with honesty, grace, and humor. The plot is lively with unexpected elements, and the descriptions of the characters who wander in and out of Maggie’s Place are priceless.

I highly recommend this delightful book.

Author Annette Randall Haws

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