Eudora, a small town in the middle of wheat, oil, and cattle country, is on the verge of extinction. And Lottie Dougal, the local stationer with a healing touch, may be the only one who can bring the community back together–if she doesn’t destroy it first.
In a town like Eudora, where everyone knows you from birth to death, it takes a brave woman to color her hair. Since returning to Eudora from a stint in the big city, Lottie Dougal has streaked hers until her aubu`rn curls glow as bright as the neon sign at Chuck’s Beer and Bowl. Clearly, the woman is one of life’s risk takers. So when the town’s new doctor (and the object of Lottie’s affections) fails to produce the anticipated ring at the Snow Ball, rumor has it that Lottie is consulting Herbal Cures and Curses . . . for a spell.
But love potions, like good intentions, can backfire. Dr. Emery does indeed take a bride, but one who hails from a city far from Eudora’s main street. As if the arrival of this temptress and Lottie’s broken heart aren’t enough to keep Eudorans clucking and plotting, the town has its own share of growing pains. The quarry is in financial ruin and the mayoral election unearths long-buried racial friction. An unprecedented drama unfolds–which, naturally and often quite comically, reverberates through the lives of the residents trying to save their livelihoods and the future of the town. As for Lottie and the good doctor, well, Eudora has a plan of its own. . . .
In Thebo's ambitious debut romance, Lottie Dougal, born and raised in Eudora, Kans., runs a stationery store in town and dispenses herbal remedies after hours. Newcomer James Emery is the town physician, and the townsfolk watch the pair's immediate "courting behavior" in fascination. Meanwhile, the number of Mexican workers at the nearby troubled quarry keeps rising, but the population remains "invisible" to the white locals. By the novel's halfway point, the idyll is shattered: James and Lottie's romance is imperiled, and the quarry's travails draw the town into an ugly confrontation whose focal points are Mexican-American banker Hector Rodriguez and us-against-them janitor Barney Lewis. Thebo is a skilled storyteller her characters are carefully drawn, and their interactions sparkle but the novel's conventional romance runs on a different track than its social realist conflict. The two never fall fully into line, despite the liberal doses of humor Thebo injects throughout.