The charm of this novel is its small town Texas setting and the colorful folks that live there. Main character Queenie is scrappy, vulnerable, flawed, and determined to better herself. After mouthing off to a customer, Queenie is fired from her latest job--cooking for a NY city hotel--and she has nowhere left to go but the small town Texas home she’d fled years ago. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else and it’s hard to change people’s opinions. Her mother had a well deserved bad reputation there, and both Queenie and her sister Merry Carole are unfairly assumed to be living up to her name. The romance aspect of Queenie’s story seems weak to me--though she’d loved Everett ever since they were kids he didn’t seem worth pining over--but the rest of the novel has enough poignancy, insight, and humor to more than make up for it.