Book cover of Along Came Mary

Along Came Mary

by Jo-Ann Mapson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pages: 384
Paperback
ISBN: 9780743224628






Available to Buy

Overview of Along Came Mary

USA Today called Jo-Ann Mapson's national bestseller Bad Girl Creek "a valentine to oceans of good women who survive bad beginnings and worse men." Now the author, hailed as "one of the most gifted writers of the contemporary urban West" (Los Angeles Times), brings back the hard-luck women of her acclaimed previous novel — and introduces another indelible character into their midst.

After finally wising up to her drunken rodeo crooner lover, Mary Madigan saddles up her twin border collies and takes her act on the road, leaving miles of heartache and highway behind. When she meets Rick, a charming and persistent journalist haunted by his own ghosts, she suddenly has a travel companion and a new lover (with an all-too-familiar set of tricks).

Their travels ultimately bring them to Bad Girl Creek, where the waters have already been troubled. Phoebe's pregnancy is life-threatening, Nance's break-up diet has turned dangerously successful, Beryl is still struggling to adjust to life after prison, and HIV-positive Ness is distancing herself from the "healthy" world — if you can call it that.

But these are the Bad Girl Creek ladies: they are resilient. The ways they pull together, cheer each other on through good times and bad, and cope with every curve life throws at them make up the heart and soul of this powerful and big-hearted novel.

Synopsis of Along Came Mary

USA Today called Jo-Ann Mapson's national bestseller Bad Girl Creek "a valentine to oceans of good women who survive bad beginnings and worse men." Now the author, hailed as "one of the most gifted writers of the contemporary urban West" (Los Angeles Times), brings back the hard-luck women of her acclaimed previous novel — and introduces another indelible character into their midst.

After finally wising up to her drunken rodeo crooner lover, Mary Madigan saddles up her twin border collies and takes her act on the road, leaving miles of heartache and highway behind. When she meets Rick, a charming and persistent journalist haunted by his own ghosts, she suddenly has a travel companion and a new lover (with an all-too-familiar set of tricks).

Their travels ultimately bring them to Bad Girl Creek, where the waters have already been troubled. Phoebe's pregnancy is life-threatening, Nance's break-up diet has turned dangerously successful, Beryl is still struggling to adjust to life after prison, and HIV-positive Ness is distancing herself from the "healthy" world — if you can call it that.

But these are the Bad Girl Creek ladies: they are resilient. The ways they pull together, cheer each other on through good times and bad, and cope with every curve life throws at them make up the heart and soul of this powerful and big-hearted novel.


Publishers Weekly

This follow-up to Mapson's popular Bad Girl Creek introduces a new face to the spirited gang of hard-luck women running a California flower farm. Mary Madigan ("Maddy") Caringella is a rodeo performer who decides to leave her job (and her boozy singing partner and boyfriend) and travel across the country, taking part in karaoke competitions. In Oklahoma City, she hooks up with Rick Heinrich, a fiercely independent middle-aged journalist. While the two are in New Mexico, they meet Beryl Anne, an ex--Bad Girl who's now touring the country with her guitarist beau. In various ways, Maddy and Rick's lives become entwined with the lives of the women of Bad Girl Creek, and eventually they make their way to the farm itself, encountering some rough patches in their relationship along the way. The book is told in the voices of several characters, primarily Maddy, Rick, Beryl and Phoebe, the founder of the flower farm-she is now pregnant and facing a life-threatening delivery. Mapson gives updates on other Bad Girls as well: Ness is learning to live with HIV and Nance is fighting her anorexia, even as she plans a wedding to Phoebe's brother, James, and pines for her old love. Maddy is an appealingly saucy protagonist, though her voice gradually loses its distinctiveness and blends with that of the other narrators (who tend to sound alike) as the book wears on. The story is as sentimental as its precursor, but those who enjoyed the female bonding and entrepreneurial antics of the Bad Girls will be pleased with this chatty sequel. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate. (Jan.)

About the Author, Jo-Ann Mapson

Jo Ann Mapson is the author of five previous novels, including the bestselling The Wilder Sisters and Blue Rodeo, which was made into a CBS-TV movie starring Kris Kristofferson and Ann-Margret. She lives in south-central Alaska.

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Editorials

From the Publisher

Kristin Hannah author of Distant Shores and On Mystic Lake Along Came Mary is a wonderful novel, filled with women so real and honest you feel you've known them all of your life. It is an absolute joy to read this book; you won't be able to put it down. You'll find yourself thinking about these characters, wishing them well, long after you've turned the last page. Along Came Mary is another sparkling gem from Jo-Ann Mapson, a novel about women who laugh through hard times and survive whatever comes their way. Bittersweet, poignant, and ultimately triumphant.

Publishers Weekly

This follow-up to Mapson's popular Bad Girl Creek introduces a new face to the spirited gang of hard-luck women running a California flower farm. Mary Madigan ("Maddy") Caringella is a rodeo performer who decides to leave her job (and her boozy singing partner and boyfriend) and travel across the country, taking part in karaoke competitions. In Oklahoma City, she hooks up with Rick Heinrich, a fiercely independent middle-aged journalist. While the two are in New Mexico, they meet Beryl Anne, an ex--Bad Girl who's now touring the country with her guitarist beau. In various ways, Maddy and Rick's lives become entwined with the lives of the women of Bad Girl Creek, and eventually they make their way to the farm itself, encountering some rough patches in their relationship along the way. The book is told in the voices of several characters, primarily Maddy, Rick, Beryl and Phoebe, the founder of the flower farm-she is now pregnant and facing a life-threatening delivery. Mapson gives updates on other Bad Girls as well: Ness is learning to live with HIV and Nance is fighting her anorexia, even as she plans a wedding to Phoebe's brother, James, and pines for her old love. Maddy is an appealingly saucy protagonist, though her voice gradually loses its distinctiveness and blends with that of the other narrators (who tend to sound alike) as the book wears on. The story is as sentimental as its precursor, but those who enjoyed the female bonding and entrepreneurial antics of the Bad Girls will be pleased with this chatty sequel. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternate. (Jan.)

Library Journal

Fans of Bad Girl Creek will no doubt enjoy reuniting with Phoebe, now pregnant and grieving for her fianc , killed on their wedding day; Ness, who appears to be in remission from AIDS; Beryl Anne, totally in love with Earl, the perfect man, but still dealing with the emotional scars from her time in jail for accidentally killing her husband; and Nancy, engaged to Phoebe's brother James but struggling with a serious eating disorder. They will also enjoy meeting the new (and equally damaged) characters, who include Rick, a 50-year-old writer who's never grown up and, coincidentally, was a primary cause of Nancy's anorexia, and Mary Madigan, an alcoholic singer mourning her twin sister's death in the Oklahoma City bombing. But newcomers to Mapson will be in for a disappointment. Melodrama abounds (this is like an old-timey radio soap opera), and the novel also suffers from being told from multiple viewpoints; as it is, the characters are paper-thin, and with so many of them crowding the pages, it's nearly impossible to distinguish one voice from another. This is definitely not Mapson's best book (that would be Blue Rodeo) and should be purchased only for demand. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/02.]-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

Despite some lurid plot premises and extremely convenient coincidences, the feisty characters and rueful emotional wisdom of this sequel will win over all but the hardest-hearted reader. It's one year since Phoebe, Ness, Nance, and Beryl joined forces Bad Girl Creek (2001) to get over bad health and bad men by working and living on Phoebe's California flower farm, dubbing themselves the Bad Girls in honor of the creek running through it. Hundreds of miles away in Nebraska, 29-year-old Mary ("Maddy") Madigan quits her drunken boyfriend and the rodeo they sing in to head for Oklahoma City, where her twin sister was killed five years earlier in the bombing of the Murrah Building. There, she runs into Rick, the can't-commit music journalist who drove Nance to the Bad Girls. Even before Maddy and Rick fall into bed together, we learn that (1) Phoebe's beloved Juan was killed in a car crash on their wedding day and she's pregnant with his baby, and (2) Nance is going to marry Phoebe's brother James, even though she's anorexic and not exactly over Rick. In a Santa Fe bar hosting a performance by her mysteriously wealthy boyfriend Earl (who might be the legendary studio guitarist Buckethead, always masked in public by a KFC bucket), Beryl befriends Maddy and disapproves of Rick. They arrive at Bad Girl Creek two days before James's wedding, causing Nance to keel over, cut her head, and land in the hospital. Yes, it's a lot to swallow, but undeniably fun to read; the story zips along, powered by the marvelously individual narrators' voices, particularly those of Maddy and Rick, who are both smart enough to know how screwed up they are. The Bad Girls play mostly supporting roles here, but whathasn't changed is the author's hardheaded understanding that some actions cause permanent damage, softened by her cautious optimism that even damaged people can find new love and new purpose. A slight sophomore slump in the series, but enough heart and soul to bring most of Mapson's fans back for installment number three to see how she ties up all those loose ends. Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club alternate selection

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