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‘Nuther great book. She’s on a roll.
Ms. Higgs sets Mixed Signals in the radio industry, one with which she’s intimately familiar, being a radio personality herself. Her comfort with the broadcasting environment (there’s even a glossary of jargon at the beginning of the book) is as evident as her comfort with the genre. And that’s really comfortable.
This one is going to be difficult to summarize for two reasons:
First, I would like to fuss over our heroine, Belle O’Brien, but I’m still nursing a crush on Emily Getz, and, well, you know about two-timers… Belle is a treat in her own right—a very believable personality with just enough angst to make her lovable (but not be annoyed with), just good looking enough to want to meet (but not drool over), and has just enough faith to grow with (not roll your eyes at). In her mid-thirties, love has studiously avoided Belle through the years of her ‘prime’. Her career as a disc jockey has soared with the eagles and crash-landed with the dodo birds alternately—making empathy with her story even more attainable.
Second, the story offers an early twist that a thorough synopsis will only spoil. Suffice it to say that Belle comes to Abingdon, Virginia, to anchor middays at a start-up oldies radio station. A former colleague has enticed her away from one of the dodo-bird landings in Chicago, and she accepts, wondering if perhaps there may be more to the job offer than just a job. That’s all you get to hear about that.
She meets Norah, who becomes her landlord and best friend; runs into David (literally), the station engineer, who harbors some subtle secrets of his own; jousts with Patrick, the infuriatingly charming owner and station manager, and—well, there’s a whole cast of characters who color the story in their own unique ways. As you’d expect, adventures and misadventures abound in Belle’s world as she finds her way to love through her angst, her faith and With A Little Help From Her Friends (yes, that’s an oldies pun and I’m just hokey enough to be proud of it.)
Ms. Higgs’ pen again flows with a subtle—and sometimes not so subtle—witty prose that is a joy to read. Gentle sub-plots undergird the story that enhance its pathos and deliver its message of hope in wonderful style. This is another sure bet, if you like quirky realism and human interest that really is interesting.
(Two-timing aside; Emily, if you don't start answering my e-mails, you may just get bumped by Belle. Last chance.)
Thanks, Liz, for another delightful story. (I got all three words in this time, if you noticed.)