Winner, USABookNews.com Best Book Award
Finalist, Foreword Reviews Book of the year
Fiction. "Mary Troy's BEAUTIES is a lovely novel, a character-driven anatomy of the odds and ends of relations and friends we cobble together in the modern age as our most beloved possession, our true family. Set in the mean streets of south St. Louis in the endearing, if always failing, Alibi Café, BEAUTIES follows the cynical, one-legged Bev, and the strikingly gorgeous Shelly, as they serve up generous heapings of biscuits and gravy to a ragtag motley of troubled and endearing souls who gravitate to the haven the café offers. Love percolates like drip coffee as Shelly seeks fulfillment with a duplicitous P.I., as the beleaguered Bev struggles through red tape to adopt the neglected Toby from a world that wants to destroy him. More than anything, the ultimate lesson of BEAUTIES is one that deserves the vivid and emotional investigations Troy lavishes on it: that though the world on its surface seems a bruised and broken place, true beauty lies beneath if we only stop to look"—Tony D'Souza.
Following her second divorce, the beautiful and admittedly vain Shelly moves in with her disabled cousin Bev, born with one leg and a lone finger. The pair team up to operate the Alibi Café in a run-down area of St. Louis where, to Troy’s credit, the clientele leans less toward the eccentric folks who typically populate novels and more toward the sort of people you’d find in an actual urban setting—social workers, shopkeepers, and utility-company employees. As Shelly finds her calling as a cook, concocting ever-more elaborate menus, the caustic and cynical Bev, a far cry from the standard “saintly cripple,” opens herself to love and motherhood, attempting to adopt Toby, a troubled boy who frequents the café. Though on separate journeys, the women’s paths bring them closer together. Troy, a short-story writer making her debut as a novelist, struggles with the extended form—tighter pacing and plotting would have made for a more engrossing read. Still, she has created flawed and fascinating characters worth getting to know. --Patty Wetli
Mary Troy is the author of Joe Baker Is Dead, THE ALIBI AND OTHER STORIES, and BEAUTIES. Her stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Boulevard, Greensboro Review, and numerous other publications. She is an assistant professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and director of the MFA Program. She is also a senior editor of Natural Bridge. She has lived in Arkansas and Hawaii as well as Missouri.
Excellent reading for those who value meditative, beautiful storytelling. —Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (starred review) Ramspeck's debut collection abounds with flawed families, tense confirmations, and unlikely mo...
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