||Before the Fall Books
||February 28, 2012
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Angie Palmer likes her life just the way it is - private. Too bad life doesn't always go as we plan.
Angie Palmer likes her life just the way it is-private. She has no desire to entangle herself in complex friendships, and her relationship with her two beauty queen sisters is safely distant.
When disaster strikes Angie takes her Grandmother into her home. Life with Grandma comes with a world of changes, and new friends, including Val, a drag queen with hopes of being the next US-Gay Beauty Queen. Angie is determined to keep Val at a distance but Val has an instinct for knowing Angie's heart.
Just as Angie gets comfortable with Grandma living with her, a budding friendship with Val, and a new romantic interest, everything takes an unexpected turn.
Val is the victim of a violent crime and ends up in a coma. Angie begins a struggle against Val's family who wants to remove their son from life support. Suddenly Angie's private life becomes very public, and her world becomes a media circus. She is caught in a clash between religious beliefs and gay rights. Through many twists and turns, Angie discovers a new appreciation for family, friends, and love.
In the end, Angie learns that a life filled with people to care about is never too crowded.
“When was the last time you blew off steam, honey?” Val took a scoop of the chocolate frosting that Angie was working her way through.
Angie let out a deep breath. “I can’t even remember how long it’s been. Too long obviously.”
Val licked all the chocolate from the spoon. “This stuff is going right to my hips.”
Angie nodded and scooped out another spoonful. “You want to know the part that makes me the angriest?”
“My sisters haven’t even called to see how grandma’s doing. They haven’t offered to help her look for an apartment or take her shopping for new clothes. Nothing.”
“Did they spend a lot of time with her before the fire?” Val asked.
Angie felt Val’s point as sharp as the point of a fine tipped pen. “No.”
“So they’re going about their lives like they always have?”
Angie didn’t respond.
“If Anne’s apartment hadn’t burned you wouldn’t have been calling her to see how she was doing, would you?”
“No, but this is different.”
“Yes, if grandma were staying with Jess or Shay I would call to see how she was doing.”
Val folded his fingers together. “Then you should feel good about that.”
Angie felt sick to her stomach. She dropped her spoon on the table and wiped her fingers on a paper napkin.
“Well, I did until you put it that way.”
Angie sank down in her seat and shredded the edge of the napkin.
“You’re the middle child right?” Val asked.
“Then you should be used to this by now. Let me guess, you’ve always been the responsible one. Everyone always came to you with their problems because you’re close in age to your older sister and your younger sister.”
Val had hit the nail on the head. Angie had been the confidant for both Jess and Shay growing up. Not that she enjoyed the role; they forced it on her.
“So why are your panties in such a bunch?” Val gave her an exaggerated pout. “Feeling sorry for yourself?”
“Yes, damn it!” Angie slapped her palms on the tabletop. “I have the right to feel sorry for myself every once in awhile.”
“Agreed,” Val said. “You go ahead and have your pity-party.”
Angie felt suddenly deflated. She’d expected an argument, or a pep-talk of some kind.
“Everyone gets twenty-four-hours to feel sorry for themselves.” Val glanced at the clock. “I’d say you have eighteen left, so wallow all you want. After that honey, go buy yourself a new dress, or a new pair of shoes, or whatever you need to do to pick yourself back up. Then get on with your life.”
Hilarious and touching
By Lisa Markson
Oh I many opinions on the book Bookended by Beauty Queens by Victoria Marshal. I was reading the story of Angie Palmer I thought this was going to be one of those books where you have a whiney middle child complaining that they can't do this like the oldest one does and the baby of the family gets their way all the time, boy was I wrong. Angie was overshadowed by two sisters who were beauty queens but she was the smart one in the family the one that was used as the responsible one. She comes across a drag queen by the name of Val on the subway and kind of dismissed the encounter until! Her grandmother loses her apartment in a fire and she comes to live with Angie. On the subway they run into Val again and her grandma starts a friendship with him that will change all of their lives. This portion of the book was hilarious I spit my drink out of my nose laughing so hard. I have never laughed so hard in my life. Don't get me wrong this is not just a comedy there is a dramatic turn of events that I will not spoil you will have to read. Angie and her grandma take on the fight of their lives and will the outcome be favorable to all. This is a must read exceptionally good for a debut author. Well done Victoria thank you for the wonderful book.
Eye & Mind opening read
By Barbara Hightower
Angie grew up stuck between two sisters who were 2 beauty queens. She built up a wall around herself, no friends or even men in her life. She have a forgiving heart and has an opened mind, which helps when he grandmother comes to stay with her after a fire. She encounters a drag queen, Val who in turn introduce Angie and her grandmother to new and interesting people. After a hate crime is committed towards Val her life is in danger. Val's parents to do support her but Angie and Grandma do.
I enjoyed the story as the author does a wonderful job with the plot. The characters are easy to fall in love with and support. Victoria opens up all of our minds and lets us see how things really are. You will laugh and cry which I find is wonderful in a book. This will be a re-read for me.
A riveting read
by K. Duncan
Bookended by Beauty Queens by Victoria Marshal is a fast-paced, tension-filled read full of characters you will fall in love with despite yourself. Angie has a quick wit and a sharp sense of humor. She knows what she wants and yet life isn't coming through with any good options for her lately. Still, Angie is not the sort of person to become bitter. She's open-minded and tolerant and maybe even a bit too generous when it comes to forgiving her sisters their faults both petty and large. When her grandmother's apartment burns down she gladly takes her grieving grandmother in.
A chance meeting with Val, a vivacious drag queen, on the subway introduces Grandma and Angie to a new world of friends. And just as these three sympathetic misfits are developing their unique support system, disaster strikes Val in the form of a hate crime that puts Val's life in danger. Both Angie and Grandma stand by Val, but Val's parents do not. The personal and public stakes deepen for Angie as she tries to understand the crime, fight the rigid attitudes of Val's family as well as fend off the salivating media and polarized public. With wonderful characterization that will keep you rooting for Angie, Grandma and Val as well as scenes both tense and tender that will have you gnawing your fingernails and crying into your makeup kit, Ms. Marshal succeeds in crafting a truly enjoyable and satisfying story that is well worth your time to read.
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