Review

Miss You Most of All

by Elizabeth Bass

Efficient, friendly Rue has been helping her thorny sister,
Laura, make the farm Laura inherited from their father into a
paying proposition. To that end, they've transformed the farm into
Sassy Spinster Farm, a bed-and-breakfast geared to giving an urban
female clientele a farm-living experience. Sassy Spinster Farm also
takes part in a Community Supported Agriculture program, in which
people sign up for weekly boxes of fresh organic produce, as well
as selling vegetables at the local farmer's market. These endeavors
make for a lot of work. Rue thrives on organizing and brainstorming
ways to make Sassy Spinster Farm financially viable --- at least
she thrives mentally. Physically, she is still recovering from
surgery and chemo treatments for advanced breast cancer.

While Rue doesn't dwell on the ravages the disease and treatment
have dealt her body, she can't help but notice that Laura seems
more than two years younger than herself. Even at age 36, Laura can
recover from her frequent bouts of all-night drinking/smoking
binges with no problem. Laura is usually unflappable, too, until
she learns that, according to caller I.D., a Heidi B. has been
calling the farm's phone. She flips out, afraid that the caller is
their once-upon-a-time despised stepsister. When Rue reassures her
that maybe the "Heidi B." is someone else, she lets herself be
convinced. Laura goes outside to forget her troubles by doing her
beloved farm chores (and, incidentally, to avoid having to pretend
to be friendly to the B&B guests, since she loathes them). One
of her farm workers this summer is her old friend Webb, who is up
front about his feelings for her, while Laura does everything she
can to deflect any kind of emotional interchange.

Meanwhile, Rue tracks down her 11-year-old daughter, Erica,
whose dread of going to her father's house for summer weekdays is
magnified by the fact that his new fiancée just happens to be
Ms. Dench. Leanne Dench is not only obnoxious, she was Erica's
fifth-grade teacher. Erica didn't like her before, and now that she
is living with her father, Erica's disgust and trepidation are
almost indescribable.

When Rue and Laura's ex-stepsister actually does show up in the
middle of the night, secretly hiding out from a potentially deadly
pursuer, she acts as a catalyst for unexpected relationships and
situations. Heidi and Webb begin spending time together (their
friendship is original and quite refreshing), while Rue finds
solace in Heidi as a new friend who shares her taste in music and
movies. Of course, Laura's continued hatred toward the interloper
is fueled by a double case of jealousy: Why, she wonders, does Rue
confide in Heidi over Laura? What in the world could Webb and Heidi
have in common?

Erica has a new friend, too. Maggie is one of the cool kids, and
would never have noticed Erica except that Erica sparked her
interest with a lie about a nonexistent boyfriend. Soon, the two
girls are plotting and planning what to do about Erica's father's
upcoming marriage.

Filled with secrets and revelations, suspense, romance, tons of
Texas farm atmosphere, and --- most of all --- celebrating the
pleasures of family ties, MISS YOU MOST OF ALL is a truly
delightful and warmhearted read. The characters of the sisters are
so spot-on that readers will believe they've previously met them
(especially the prickly Laura, whose personality flaws are
priceless). Author Elizabeth Bass has a true gift for making
readers laugh, and also for making their hearts ache with empathy
for the characters' predicaments. This endearing novel is a
satisfying page-turner and is very highly recommended.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on January 7, 2011

Miss You Most of All
by Elizabeth Bass

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • ISBN-10: 0758235100
  • ISBN-13: 9780758235107