Treasure Me – by Christine Nolfi
May 13, 2011 Leave a comment
I was pleasantly surprised by Christine Nolfi’s freshman novel Treasure Me. A feel-good novel that was light, easy to read and full of entertainment. It transported me back to my own small-town upbringing.
Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky has arrived in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart.
The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue’s author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who rose above the horrors of slavery to build a new life in Ohio. According to family lore, Justice left South Carolina at the dawn of the Civil War. Heavy with child, she carried untold riches on her journey north. As Birdie searches for the treasure, she begins to believe a questionable part of the story: a tale of love between Justice and Lucas Postell, the French plantation owner who was Birdie’s ancestor.
If the stories are true, Justice bore a child with Lucas. Some of those black relatives might still live in town. Birdie can’t help but wonder if she’s found one—Liberty’s feisty matriarch, Theodora Hendricks, who packs a pistol and heartwarming stories about Justice. Birdie doesn’t know that an investigative reporter who has arrived in town will trip her up—as will her conscience when she begins to wonder if it’s possible to start a new life with stolen riches. Yet with each new clue she unearths, Birdie begins to discover a family history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she could imagine.
The story is slow to unravel in the beginning. Birdie and Hugh were not a likeable duo on the surface. And the secret Civil War treasure seemed, well, a bit hokey. But Nolfi brings her cast of characters to life with humor, goodwill and a hefty dose of sexual tension. Birdie and Hugh are as cynical and sarcastic as they come. And Theodora Hendricks is a wise-cracking, gun-toting elderly force to be reckoned with. They all come together at The Second Chance Grill. Perhaps aptly named because the townspeople of Liberty, Ohio, are just the kind of folks to give Birdie and Hugh a second chance.
Nolfi’s description of Liberty and its inhabitants makes you feel as though you have lived there your entire life and know everyone personally. This is the kind of book that makes you feel good about humankind again.
An absolute “must read,” and is a steal at only $2.99.