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All This Belongs to Me by Ad Hudler

First, a big sigh of happiness. For the first time in way too long—a novel that pulled me right in. And whose characters got me feeling like they were real people. Real people to whom I wished occasionally to deliver a lecture.

So here we’ve got two very unlike people, whose lives come together.

Geena is fleeing her unhappy marriage, after the death of her teenage son. On her cross-country drive, she encounters a mail truck accident, from which she recovers an envelope containing a credit card bound for a man named Ellis. (Geena, baby, This is Theft! Cannot condone that activity!)

And—cha!—Ellis, of the credit card, is the other character.

So you might be thinking: romantic comedy! These two will fall in love… which, in a platonic way, they sort of do.

Ellis, a cute-Cute-CUTE! little old man, works as a docent at the Thomas Edison home in Fort Myers and devotes his free time to memorizing obscure facts about the inventor. In fact, he’s obsessed with the guy. (Ellis, buddy, you are the main character in your life! It’s OK!)

So Geena and Ellis meet… and oh, it is good, this book. There’s an is-she-as-evil-as-she-seems new director of the Edison museum; there’s the friendship—built on lies, but what the hay?—that develops between Geena and Ellis; and there are the odd details about the terribly odd Thomas and Mina Edison.

And the Geena running-away-from-her-everyday-life thing reminded me a bit of Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler, which–since I love that book–is a major compliment.

So even as I tsk-tsk-tsk about all that lying and stealing, still… I like these people.