I fell in love with Mary Monroe, and her writing years ago after reading God Don’t Like Ugly. I went on to read about a half a dozen of her books that all gave me the same feeling of thrill and fascination and satisfaction.
Monroe is a fantastic writer and has a real knack for creating characters with substance and dimension, and I expected nothing less in her latest novel, Over the Fence(The Neighbors)
What I find so intriguing about Monroe though is her backstory. Monroe is the daughter of sharecroppers from Alabama, she was the first person in her family to graduate high school. With no formal training in writing she went on to pursue a career in literature; a career that put her on the New York Times bestseller list.
In her latest work, Monroe highlights the relationship of married couple Milton and Yvonne Hamilton who are bootleggers during the depression. Both coming from a shady past that is plagued with criminal behaviour, prison time and just mere bad luck, Milton and Yvonne are like two peas in a pod and their relationship is, in fact, sweet, in its own way.
They are by definition, opportunist and extremely delusional, but throughout the book, you can’t help but to like them and sympathize with them.
As bootleggers, they are able to move out of their run-down neighbourhood and move into a middle-class community where their business thrives and they befriend neighbours, Joyce and Odell Watson.
Joyce and Odell are pretty much well to do. They have a nice car, they own the local grocery store and they have more than enough to go around. The neighbours relationship with each other though is the classic frenemies dynamic.
What’s really funny though is Milton and Odell’s relationship. Milton learns that Odell is hiding an affair and a whole other family from his wife and instead of being a friend and helping him through it, he blackmail’s Odell in order to finance his gambling addiction.
While reading this book I had no idea that this was the second book in a series but thankfully I don’t think you need to read the first one in order to enjoy this one.
There were parts of the story that seemed to drag on a little and I could have done without but overall I think this was a solid story, with good characters and filled with unpredictable drama.
Over the Fence comes out on March 26th, 2019. Find out more here.
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