Library Journal Review
In the midst of the Great Depression, financial comfort is Odell Watson's goal as he courts Joyce, the daughter of an Alabama shop owner. At age 30, Joyce is convinced her excessive height and average features have kept her from gaining a husband and children of her own. Odell's devoted attention and sweet compliments lead to a quick wedding despite her parents' objections. Soon, Odell's roving eye means trouble as his mistress produces one child after another, while his wife bears none. When Joyce and Odell's dissolute new neighbors begin to infiltrate their lives, Odell finds the delicate balancing act between spending time and money on his wife and his mistress is threatened. Verdict In this first volume of her new series, New York Times best-selling author Monroe (The Upper Room; God Don't Like Ugly) convincingly portrays a time and place where desperation is the norm. Monroe's characters lack a dimensional depth, which makes them unlikable and prevents sympathetic connections for anyone. Still, fans of the author will find an easy read full of dramatic soap opera situations.-Joy Gunn, Paseo Verde Lib., Henderson, NV © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
When Odell meets the daughter of the owners of the shop where he works as a stock clerk in 1934, he knows he has found his future. Joyce has a good job at a respected school for African American children, and he enjoys spending time with her. After they marry, he becomes manager of her parents' store, but Joyce cannot sustain a pregnancy. Odell secretly meets a young beauty, has three children with her, and justifies his embezzling from the store as necessary to support them. When Yvonne and Milton move in next door, Joyce and Odell enjoy going to their speakeasy, though something seems off. When Milton sees Odell with his other family, Odell knows his instincts were correct about the man who is now blackmailing him. This launches Monroe's (Never Trust a Stranger, 2017) Neighbors series, and she reveals sympathetic aspects and complex motivations for each character in this engrossing setting. Joyce, in particular, is fascinating in her love for her husband, tempered by what seems like a growing willingness to investigate his absences.--Alessio, Amy Copyright 2018 Booklist