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Charlotte Hughes

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A New Attitude
by Charlotte Hughes   

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Publisher:  Mira ISBN-10:  1551668637 Type: 


Copyright:  Oct 1 2001


Charlotte Hughes, in her debut novel for MIRA books, has woven a romantic comedy with the perfect blend of humor, charm, and poignancy. A NEW ATTITUDE details the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of a forsaken woman as she learns to make her own way in the world.

Marilee Abernathy is the talk of Chickpea, South Carolina. Her husband, Grady- the not-so-reverend town pastor-has fallen under the mammary-enhanced spell of Lafonda Bonaire, the town floozy. Forsaking both home and career, the ex-reverend leaves home to move into his new den of iniquity- LaFonda's trailer. As if this weren't bad enough, their son, Josh, decides he'd rather live with his father in that "palace of sin" than stay with his smothering mother.

Unable to bear the shame of it all, Marilee decides to give the town something to really talk about- a suicide. Dressed impeccably with pearls and carefully applied Mary Kay cosmetics, Marilee prepares to meet her Maker. But, like everything else she turns her hand to lately, Marilee fails in her bid to make a graceful exit. After all, how can you expire from carbon dioxide poisoning when you forget to put gas in the car? Undeterred, Marilee decides to hang herself from a beam in the ceiling. However, when the fake beam gives way, Marilee almost brings the house down upon her head at the same time as bringing Sam Brewer into her life.

As a young man, Sam Brewer had something of a reputation with the ladies of Chickpea. Looking to escape the past, he left home and made a name for himself as a successful building contractor in Atlanta. Now he has returned home to take care of his mother but he didn't expect Marilee to come crashing into his life- especially like this.

And while Marilee's family may have abandoned her, her friends have not. Rallying around their friend, Ruby Ledbetter and Clara Goolesby remind Marilee that she has much to live for- including her promise to help raise funds to renovate Blessing Home for Pregnant Women. And with that they convince her to put up Winnie Fry, a very pregnant young black girl whose bark is worse than her bite.

And so, with the support of her friends, Marilee takes her first faltering steps at independence as she enters the workplace for the first time. However, all those years dealing with the congregation as the wife of a minister have prepared Marilee far better for dealing with people than she had imagined. Soon she is transporting corpses in the middle of the night, singing for her supper, and bargaining with armed thieves with aplomb.

As Marilee makes her way in the world, she surprises herself- if not her friends- with her capacity for standing on her own two feet. Soon she finds she is not missing her fallen husband quite so much. What's more, she is shocked by the interest she seems to be generating from Sam Brewer. But will good friends and a new attitude be enough for her to win back her son?

Charlotte Hughes describes writing A NEW ATTITUDE as a catharsis. "I went through a bitter divorce myself. It's like a tornado rips through your life and takes everything you love. Like Marilee and a lot of other women, I saw my indentity as that of a wife and a mother. Suddenly that's gone and you have to step back and discover yourself anew. To twist Shakespeare around, 'Sometimes you have to lose everything to gain the world.'" Charlotte also believes that a sense of humor is your best ally in times of crisis. "I had a real learning curve to go through figuring out how to do things for myself- like stopping doors from falling off their frames on an hourly basis. People say, 'One day we'll look back and laugh.' I told myself I'd rather laugh now."

Professional Reviews

Suzanne Coleburn, Belles and Beaux of Romance
A NEW ATTITUDE is an uplifting book that shows you what you can do after you feel you've lost everything and have to start your life over again. Charlotte Hughes uses humor and a lot of savvy that brings mighty fine entertainment with a powerful message for women to hang onto for dear life in A NEW ATTITUDE. Read it and profit from it. Marilee Abernathy has the rug pulled out from under her when her minister husband, Grady, leaves her for the town floozy and takes their 15 year-old son with him because he blames his mother for the breakup. It's so bad Marilee tries to commit suicide and fails. Sam Brewer, whose come home to stay with his mother until she is feeling better comes to Marilee's rescue when he hears her scream from next door.Marilee knew Sam from high school and he had a reputation with the ladies and is handsome and charming and full of himself. Sam always had an eye for Marilee but then she married the small town football star that turned out to be the town minister after he married Marilee. Marilee's friends rally around here and help bridge her life as a minister's wife to a working woman with a new attitude. It isn't an easy thing to do but Marilee takes it step by step and finds out she can do a lot more than she thought she could. She is a terrific baker and is making cakes and pies out the kazoo as a stress reliever. She can play the piano and sing so gets a job at a nightclub part time and at a friend's funeral home during the day. She has also taken in a black pregnant woman who is going to school learning to be an accountant. There are some hilarious situations that arise that will have you laughing and others that are very poignant. Sam and Marilee discover a mutual attraction and friendship like nothing either ofthem as experienced before. Marilee's efforts to win back her son are very moving and touch your heart in so many places. This book covers a lot of areas of peoples lives as each one in the story has areas that need improving and a new attitude for all of them works out just fine. It's a very good read as well as an eye-opener for all of us to recheck our life to see if we are headed in the right direction. Suzanne "Marilee Sure Picked a Winner of a Man in Sam Brewer to Help Her Gain Her New Attitude!" Coleburn "Charlotte Hughes made me laugh, cry and cheer for a woman who hit bottom and resurrected herself with a new attitude to make any woman proud. We're a whole lot stronger than we think we are and Ms. Hughes shows us how with a lively story that is definitely uplifting. I highly recommend this book!" Suzanne Coleburn, The Belles and Beaux of Romance

Kathy Boswell, Best Reviews
I picked this book up at a particularly distressful time and by Chapter Six I was howling with laughter at this quite hilarious book. I highly recommend it. Marilee Abernathy's minister husband Grady not only ran off with the town floozy but he took their son with him. After two comically failed attempts at suicide, Marilee decides to just go on with her life, especially when her next door neighbor, Sam Brewer comes to her rescue. Sam is everything that Grady is not but Sam had a very bad reputation as a womanizer back in high school and you know what getting a reputation in a small town in high school means. You are stuck with it for life. Marilee makes some radical changes in her life. She not only gets a job as a receptionist in a funeral parlor but she also gets a night time job as a pianist in a supper club. She needs all the money she can get her hands on if she ever hopes to regain custody of her son. Then her two best friends bring her an Amazonian black pregnant teen-ager, Winnie, to stay as she has no other place to go. The whole book seems to be one comedy of errors after another but Charlotte Hughes pulls it all together quite nicely not only into a beautifully told story but also into a believable one at that.

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