Unraveled is a mixture of humor and seriousness, a smorgasbord of eccentric characters that are affected, some mildly, some not so mildly, when Uranus and Pluto go into a rare planetary configuration and wreak havoc, astrologically speaking, on planet Earth. For some people, the past becomes mixed up with the present, and those who would not as a rule be drawn towards each other find they are remembering shared past lives. Those who normally behave themselves begin acting strangely.
New relationships are formed, while some disintegrate, including Millicent Snood's, the wife of the founder and past-president of the West Coast Ferry Corporation, the illustrious Pug Snood. When saboteurs threaten Pug's favorite ferry, the Queen of Scots, everyone tries to keep it from him, but he eventually finds out what is going on. Not only is a dastardly plot revealed, but also in Pug's personal life, his long kept secrets are exposed. This nasty revelation sparks courage in Millicent, and in turn she finds hope for a happier future.
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Twilight Times Books
Celia Leaman, Author
Although Unraveled is listed under Humor/New Age, there is a serious underlying story about a middle-aged woman who has just about had enough with her selfish, boring husband. After her son makes a faux pas in passing on some news he thought his mother knew, but she didn't, Millicent becomes enraged and this gives her enough courage to finally take charge of her life.
There are a lot of belly laughs in this book as well as some poignant moments.
Apart from being polite when she met them, and once or twice caring for Miranda when she was ill, Millicent rarely gave Miranda Bittle or Gwyneth Jones a thought and considered Pug's opinion of them ludicrous. He'd once said that he'd seen Gwyneth lurking near their garage with a jar and a pair of tweezers. "Don't be so ridiculous," she'd said. "Why on earth would she be doing that?"
"They're the sort who'd carve up a man and keep him in their freezer," he'd retorted. "Their neighbor, and by that I mean you, Millicent, would be shown on television, grinning like a fool and saying, 'oh, but they were such nice women, who'd have thought it?' while I would be destined to become a wiener."
Millicent laughed aloud to imagine it. Then screwed up her face at the thought.
Millicent thought Pug's behavior even stranger when she got home and found him roaming around the garden, something he so rarely did. He didn't even seem to hear her park the car, and for a moment or two she watched him. He'd walk a few paces and then stop. Then walk on and then stop again.
Sighing, and wondering what he was doing, Millicent walked down the garden path towards him.
"Oh, you're back are you," Pug said. "Just as well because I want you to catch it. It's down there somewhere."
"What are you talking about?" Millicent looked at the ground to see what he was glaring at.
"A toad. There's a toad in the garden."
"Well, what's wrong with that? They do a lot of good. Leave the poor thing alone."
"Not likely. It probably belongs to that Jones woman. God knows what it's doing all the way up here."
"Don't be ridiculous Pug," Millicent said, laughing. "It couldn't hop all that way, it's too far for a toad."
"Well I want you to get rid of it. I don't want her up here again, snooping around. The next thing you know I'll be in the freezer and I don't want it in my garden."
"I always thought it was my garden," Millicent muttered, her afternoon joy now shot to pieces as she went into the shed to find a box or a flowerpot to put the toad in--that is, if she found it.
When she closed the door she happened to look down and saw the toad at her feet. "Oh, hello Toad," she said quietly, sending Pug a furtive glance. "There's an ogre about. Come on, I'll get you out of here to safety." She picked the creature up and gently cradled it in the palm of her hand. She quite liked the feel of it really, cool and plump.
"I've found it, Pug," she called. "I'll take it next door." Before Pug could argue with her she walked quickly down the driveway and entered Miranda's garden through the creaky gate.
Miranda's front door opened as she walked up the path.
"Oh, hello Mrs. Bittle," Millicent said. "I brought you a toad. He was in our garden and Pug doesn't like them very much, so I thought he'd be safer over here. I hope you don't mind."
"He's Gwyneth's," Miranda said. "Put him there by the pond and come on in, I'll make us a brew."
"Oh, well I …" Millicent glanced over the hedge. It seemed Pug had gone inside. "Well, all right, thanks. I've been out for most of the afternoon, I really shouldn't stay too long." But Miranda didn't appear to be listening as she led her through the hall into the old-fashioned kitchen.
Hanging above the old cook stove were various bunches of herbs, and for a while Miranda chatted with Millicent about their uses. It turned out that she had quite the herb garden and was very proficient with their use, too.
"The tea's one of my special brews," Miranda said. "Taste it and tell me what you think."
Millicent politely sipped the pale green liquid. "Oh," she said, pleasantly taken aback. "It's rather nice actually. Very … warming."
Miranda chuckled when, a few moments later, Millicent welcomed a refill.
Four cups later, when Millicent decided she should go home, she couldn't feel her feet. Her head felt light and she felt very happy. "Oof, I feel like a pink cloud," she said, giggling and trying to rise from her chair only to fall back again.
A smile flickered across Miranda's face. "Before you go, dearie," she said, reaching into a cupboard, "we made you up this little brew." She handed Millicent a jam jar filled with liquid the color of dark honey.
"Oh, er, well." Giggle. "Thank you. It's for me is it?"
"No, for your husband."
"Oh." Another giggle. "It looks like … whiskey?"
"It isn't, but don't you worry none, you'll know what to do with it when the time comes."
"Oh, okay," said Millicent, quite happily. "Well, thank you very much Mrs. Bittle. I have enjoyed myself."
Miranda's smile deepened as she watched Millicent dance to imaginary music all the way down the path and along the driveway to her back door.
"Where on earth have you been?" Pug demanded, his eyes agog as Millicent came in. "And why are you singing?"
"I don't know," Millicent said. "I hardly ever do, do I?"
Pug glowered at the jar in her hand. "And what have you got there?"
"It's something for the compost," Millicent said, quickly placing the jar beneath the sink before he could get his hands on it.
He came closer to her and sniffed. "What's that funny smell?"
She huffed her breath at him, and he leapt back as if she were a dragon. "I had tea." She huffed again. Huff and puff and blow his house down.
"I thought you just went in there to dispose of the dratted toad."
Oh I did." She smiled mischievously as she envisaged Pug wrapped in brown paper packages in the freezer. Neck of Pug. Pug tenderloin. Pug chops. She began to giggle. Pug stew. Stuffed Pug. The giggle turned into a laugh. She wiped away a tear.
"Get a hold of yourself, Millicent. What are you laughing at?"
"Well … well …" She had to look away. Pug patties. Devilled Pug. Stop it, Millicent. "You were right," she blurted. "He was Gwyneth's toad." And burst into another snigger.
"He? What on earth are you talking about? What's wrong with you? Are you becoming completely unraveled?"
Millicent swallowed another laugh with a gulp. "Well, I'm not sure," she said, gasping for breath. "Perhaps I should make another appointment with the doctor to find out." And exploded with laughter again.
Pug stared at her, and the more he stared, the more she laughed. She hadn't laughed as hard and as well for years. Holding her stomach, doubled up with convulsions, she slid to the floor.
When he said, "You're simply being ridiculous," and stalked off, she almost wet herself.