Winner of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer of the Year Award
Melody Mountain Ranch is a gated, planned, suburban heaven for everyone but interior decorator Hope Jordan. As Hope struggles through the letdown of several unsuccessful fertility treatments, her cul-de-sac neighbors Will Pierce-Cohn, a stay-at-home dad and community activist; Frank Griffin, a minister–cum–homeowners' board president; and Tim Trautman, a soon-to-be father of five, jockey for her attentions.
When Hope has a few too many cocktails and inadvertently eats hash-laced brownies at the playground ribbon-cutting gala/Memorial Weekend poolside potluck, she falls into the arms of one of her three wannabe paramours. Maybe all three. She wakes up with only fleeting memories of the evening, and soon discovers that her dream of getting pregnant has become a crushing reality. With all eyes on her, Hope is forced to watch as the walls holding up her picture-perfect neighborhood begin to crumble.
Hull's satisfying debut explores the McMansions of Melody Mountain Ranch, a planned suburb where eating disorders, lesbian affairs, and a coven of teenage witches are just a few of the outrageous secrets hiding behind the idyllic facades. Hope Jordan is obsessed with having a baby, but months of fruitless trying have taken their toll. Her new neighbor, Tim Trautman, has hired her to design a nursery, though he's barely able to hide the fact that his interest in Hope is more than professional and he's not the only one. She's also caught the eye of stay-at-home dad Will Pierce-Cohn and Frank Griffin, the local minister and homeowners' board president. When a batch of laced brownies doses neighborhood Memorial Day picnickers, the residents' hidden desires emerge. But the most toxic secrets of all are hidden by the Ranch itself, and when they come to light, the damage will affect the entire subdivision. Despite a slow start and some awkward one-liners, Hull deftly handles a multitude of complicated characters and brings about a conclusion that will leave readers suitably scandalized.