Publisher's Note:  

Welcome to 603 Bowling Avenue, a lush, empty Colonial Revival house tucked away in a leafy Nashville neighborhood. Who’s that in the ratty attic bedroom, holed up like a squirrel, writing real estate ads as fast as she can? Delia Ballenger, former Nashvillian. She’s back in town to sell the house that her tender-hearted big sister inexplicably left her after dying in a car crash. Delia needs to get back to Chicago as fast as possible. But uninvited people keep showing up at the front door: • Her mother, Grace Ballenger. Brilliant federal judge and the number-one reason Delia lives in another state. • A patrician and poorly socialized neighbor, Angus Donald. • Shelly Carpenter, the watchful housekeeper who raised Delia. • Brother-in-law Bennett Schwartz, a wretched surgeon, along with his girls Cassie and Amelia—the nieces she’s never known. • And, most vexing, a charming real estate agent, Henry Peek. Delia finds herself up to her eyeballs in a flood of mysteries, secrets, and the sort of love that sneaks up on you. For everyone who has muttered “You can’t go home again,” here’s what happens when you go anyway. You’ll laugh. You may cry, if you’re the weepy type. And you’ll cheer for Delia even as you wonder how she can eat a Pop-Tart as an entree. Like THE DESCENDANTS, BOWLING AVENUE is a story of learning how to let go, hold on--and bail water.

Bowling Avenue

by Ann Shayne

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Overall Review:  

I've been a huge fan of Ann Shayne's non-fiction for years, so I was thrilled when I learned she'd branched out into fiction writing. I also heard her say in an interview that she wanted to write a romance that kept doors closed when they should be closed, so I had high hopes for a squeaky clean, fun, well-written book. 


The story was definitely well written. Shayne has a way with words that is unparalleled. Her writing makes you feel like a friend is in the room just chatting away and making you laugh your head off. It was also a good story, if a bit predictable. Mending family relationships were at the heart of the story, and those experiences were quite sweet. For a first effort at fiction, I commend Shayne for her ability to weave a dramatic tale. I read the book straight through because I genuinely liked the characters.


Unfortunately, there as a high degree of profanity in the book, although no promises were made by the author in that regard. My previous experience had led me to assume there wouldn't be profanity. My mistake. 


Overall the book was an enjoyable read, and the romantic scenes were definitely covered with a veil, which I appreciated very much. I also enjoyed the amazing fictional retelling of the difficulties Nashvillians experienced during the 2010 flood. Having just traveled to Nashville this summer, I must say I'm extremely impressed with the quick clean-up job. This story has a heart and soul.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 21 religious exclamations; 37 mild obscenities; 6 religious profanities; 10 derogatory names; 7 scatological words; 8 anatomical terms; 16 f-word derivatives.


Violence/Gore: Characters learn of two people who died in car crashes with few details and no blood; a character hits another character with no injuries; a character sustains a serious back injury and subsequent surgeries with few details and no blood.


Sex/Nudity: A character bites another character's fingers suggestively; two characters kiss and embrace several times; two characters spend the night together; a characters refers to "getting to third base"; pornographic magazines are found in storage but not looked at; two characters undress together.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Teen pregnancy; abortion; homosexuality; death of a family member.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults drink alcohol frequently; a character is a recovering alcoholic and prescription drug addict; marijuana is referred to; a character is involved in a drunk driving accident with a fatality.

Reviewed By Leslie
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