When author Christine Nolfi approached me requesting that I consider reading and reviewing her debut novel Treasure Me, I jumped on the chance after reading the summary. I had a feeling the book (provided to me in exchange for an honest review) was right up my alley; however, it took a few chapters to meet the characters and settle in to the canvas Nolfi was painting. At first I was a little unsure if I had made the right choice - but around page 50 or so I fell heart and soul for the story.
Birdie's struggles between the aching wish to strike it big so that she can start - not just over, but a new life - felt poignant and real. As she reluctantly waits tables while she waits out her time in Liberty, stealing money when she can from the patrons of the Second Chance Grill, they begin to weave themselves into her life so seamlessly that it was easy for me to tell Birdie had found where she belonged...even if she didn't. Reporter Hugh Schaeffer (down on his luck and potentially unemployed) who comes to Liberty to write an expose on the family he profiled only a short time ago, throws her even further off her game.
Hugh and Birdie's interaction crackled with unleashed sexual tension, which was humorous and a little tense! What I liked best was what we saw in unexpected moments from both of them - the desire to comfort and care for one another. Despite repeated jabs about their possible liaison being only a fling, it was clear early on that both Birdie and Hugh were starting to care deeply for one another, despite, or maybe because of, their own individual issues.
As the hunt for the treasure intensifies, so does Birdie's relationship with Hugh. She wavers between opening her heart to him, and to the townspeople of Liberty (vivacious Delia, who waits tables at the Grill, bossy but lovable cook Finney, and crabby but utterly endearing Theodora, among others) and leaving as soon as she finds what she came for. The end results were unexpected and pleasantly surprising and heart-warming on several levels, and by the time I finished the book, I can honestly say that I felt like - I - had just spent awhile in Liberty, meeting everyone, learning the local history and lore, and like they would all invite me - and Birdie - back any time.