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Audrey Nealon and her team from her estate business Another Man's Treasure take us back to Palmyrton, New Jersey, in Treasures in Exile by S.W. Hubbard. After a year of marriage to her detective husband Sean, who volunteers at the Rosa Parks Community Centre coaching the basketball team, Audrey seeks to help the centre get more funding. In addition to Sean, Audrey's father, a top mathematics professor at Rutgers University, volunteers teaching chess there and met his second wife there, another volunteer at the Parks Centre. Audrey's father has decided to retire from Rutgers and is excited about his idea to create a new class for youth showing them how high level math applies to real life. The problem is that the computer teacher doesn't want to share his computers, and the center can't afford to fix their aging facilities, let alone buy new computers just for Audrey's dad to use in his proposed class. Thus, Audrey talks Sean into going to a high class fundraiser for the center hosted by the rich socialite Loretta Bostwick. But during the night, Loretta comes flying off the balcony, killing her, but since it is evident that she didn't fall by accident, did she jump, or was she pushed?
Then word comes that the rich recluse heiress widow Vereena Tate has died in her 90s (or was it 100s?), followed by her African American maid of the same age a week later. Vereena had a tragic life, being a nurse who married a young doctor after a whirlwind courtship during World War II and became widowed, never to marry again, after just two months of marriage. With no living relatives, Vereena shocked the socialite world of Palmyrton by leaving her entire estate to the Rosa Parks Community Centre. They will be able to save their building and also buy the computers Audrey's father needs to start his math club! Even more exciting is the fact that the board is interested in having Audrey handle the estate sale. After some challenges, Audrey gets the job that she will share with Henry, who handles lower- end disposals than Audrey's expertise in art, furniture, and valuable antiques. The exploration into the contents of this house leads to discoveries of hidden secrets about the lives of the top socialites in Palmyrton.
Each time I read a Palmyrton book, I think that book is the best of all four. So once again, this seems to be the best of all. The murder plot is not a major focus of the first half of the book, but the details of exploring the lives of Vereena and Maybelle, along with the other happenings in the book, drew me into the story, effectively preventing me from putting the book down. The conclusion comes with little hints that added up to the solution and seemed noticeable once we saw the actuality but which still came as a shocking surprise to us. The clues gave us plenty of opportunities to guess the answer, but Hubbard is such a good writer that she disguises the solution.
I love and have become invested in the characters in Treasures in Exile. Audrey makes you truly identify with her as your "everywoman." Her employee Ty, a young African American man who is busy making something of his life after spending a year in jail, now becoming an important part of Audrey's business. In addition, in the previous book, This Bitter Treasure, which takes place one or two years prior to the action of this book, Ty decided to take the daunting step of going to college, something unheard of in his lower class family. Now he is doing well in college and even has a scholarship. We also enjoy meeting Audrey's new employee, Donna, who proves to be an eager worker and a friendly person. She shows a secret in her personal life with her husband, so I look forward to seeing more of her history in future books. I enjoyed all of the characters in this book, whether regulars or new people just for this book.
Each book in this series deals with a social issue, and Treasures in Exile addresses the social challenges faced by African Americans during World War II until today. The detailed research put into the book by Hubbard is evident. We also gain a deeper appreciation for the struggles faced by the group that has faced so much discrimination. When the white Audrey just sees a nice class photo, the African Americans see a strong woman teacher who challenged the racist establishment in the 1960s to earn a college degree and become successful enough to teach a multiracial class of 3rd graders. We also see a form of reverse discrimination in the way an African American member of the Rosa Parks Center board doesn't want to hire Audrey because she is white. At first he comes across as just plain racist, but we eventually see that this is his reaction to the discrimination he and others of his race have faced and his desire to try to help rectify this discrimination. It arises out of deep care.
Janelle Tedesco performs the audio version of this book and does a strong job of making this book come alive. She uses effective voices for her characters, and I appreciate that she doesn't try to use stereotypical African African accents for the African American board members. These are educated people who speak with educated diction, so they should not carry the sound of the ghetto that Ty uses. Further, it is nice not to know a person's race until it is eventually revealed in the book's text, so Tedesco makes a solid judgment about her voicing of the characters. She also uses strong expressions to make this book all the more likely and effective.
I really loved the experience of listening to Treasures in Exile. I enjoy a mystery that has a message behind it and not just a good story. Any of the books in this series would be ideal for a book club discussion, with so many interesting themes to talk about. I give this book five stars.
Disclaimer: I received this audiobook for free from the author, but that in no way had any influence in the content of my review.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I was pulled into this book from the very beginning. The story really was well written. It is both a standalone listen and part of a series. I never saw the twists in this book coming. Kudos to S.W. Hubbard for that!!! The imagery in this book was so good. I loved hearing the family secrets that were revealed. Without giving away spoilers, I can truly say I was surprised with the way the book ended, and totally satisfied.
Jenelle Tedesco did an amazing performance with this book with all of the various characters and their distinguishable voices. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. I will definitely listen to more books by this author and narrator.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
an interesting plot with mystery and fun all the way,
the character are great fun and have so much depth,
with the background of another man's treasure house sales this really is a great read,
Having read, and very much enjoyed, the three earlier Palmyrton Estate Sale stories, when I was offered a complimentary copy of Treasure in Exile, via Goodreads, I accepted with alacrity. And I was not disappointed.
Audrey, now married to a police officer, has a new assistant to help her and Ty with the house sales and with two potentially lucrative clearances in prospect, things were beginning to look up financially. But, of course, things do not go as smoothly as she had hoped when the Tate mansion, former home of the very wealthy and reclusive widow, begins to give up secrets long hidden, and Ty's family's past returns to threaten them as well.
Whilst the mysteries within each story are exciting and suspenseful, the real joy of the Treasure books is in the characters involves. Each, even the minor protagonists, is so well drawn they become real people to like, or not, according to the reader's own subjective view. But every one is very human, with their own foibles, ambitions and prejudices. Even though the book always adhers closely to the plot line, the reader nevertheless cannot help but be drawn into a tentative relationship with the people as well as the mystery.
Enhancing the entire experience, narrator Janelle Tedesco returns again to become Audrey. Her pace and intonation beautifully capture her excitements, fears and general care for her agency and friends. The other protagonists are not ignored either, each being skillfully and separately voiced. Her performance turns an already excellent book into a delight.
Although this is the fourth book in the series, Treasure in Exile, like it's three predecessors, is entirely stand alone. Without graphic violence, sex scenes or swearing, but still packing a considerable punch in the thrills department, it is suitable for everyone. And highly recommended.