This breaks something inside of Trudy. She leaves the funeral, hustles home, grabs a few meager belongings, and moves into the rundown house that Gertrude left her. Trudy and the vile cousins were Gert's only remaining kin, and Trudy has inherited the whole shebang. Falling down, rambling house stuffed to the gills with hideous knick-knacks. She also inherited a hunky next door neighbor. She grew up with Billy Lee Tucker and everyone in Tishomingo, Oklahoma finds him a bit "odd." But Trudy doesn't find him odd at all! And they quickly become fast friends.
As much as I loved the opening in the ladies' room, everything after becomes a slog. This is a story where literally nothing happens. All the secondary characters are vile, until three of them miraculously see the light and show up on Trudy's doorstep to apologize profusely. Billy Lee and Trudy spend time together either fixing up Gert's house or going on quick road trips. Literally, that is it. Other than Poor Trudy Bless Her Heart being too obtuse to see what's right in front of her, there's no conflict to speak of in this story.
The other fly in the ointment here is Trudy's weight-loss which, given how hard I've worked to lose 25 pounds recently, had me rolling my eyes. Here's a woman who manages to drop to a clothing size just by remodeling a house. She's still stuffing her face with fried chicken, potato salad, pie and guzzling sweet tea and Coke. But it could be the lack of carbs making me all cranky and bitter.
So yeah. Great opening, solid premise, snooze-fest after that. Also, I think it's worth noting that this was a RITA finalist in the Inspirational category several years back. The characters go to church. It's a part of their lives. Also, this is a just-kisses romance with a years-from-now epilogue - so there's no sex, even of the closed door variety. I have a hard time slapping the Inspirational label on it just for those reasons, but whatever. What does Wendy know?
Final Grade = C-