I have never read Michael Lee West's books before and I can't base my opinion on any of her other books. But I'll bring up my opinion based solely on what I read and thought which is this: I loved the book.
The story follows the main character Renata as she is exploring her past while dealing with issues that might affect her future. Her mother, who was much like her best friend, is dead and gone and through the book she is only beginning to know who her mother was and what her mother did in her life.
Her father who is more or less emotionally detached is another mystery whom she slowly begins to understand through all that is unearthed. From cover to cover the course of events are leading towards these two people going from relations to an actual father and daughter.
There is dry humor and banter amongst the grandmother and her friends that keeps the book light and fun even when it's at it's most serious. The descriptions of the homes, gardens, and general southern area and attitude.
I was looking for a book that embodied spring and summer. Something warm and with flowers and this book certainly achieved my craving.
The only issue I had with the book was that every chapter would hop from one characters point of view to another's and they all had the same stylistic voice. It would take me a page or two before I could figure out who was speaking. I've always been told to to make my characters voices distinct so that if I were to change the point of view you would know, before someone called that characters name, who was speaking. But I felt that West lacked in that department.
It's a small annoyance but her descriptive writing and interesting story overall brushes that issue aside. I intend on looking into more of this woman's books and possibly buying a couple of her other works.