Southern belle BeBe Loudermilk has lost all her worldly possessions, thanks to a brief but disastrous relationship with the gorgeous Reddy, an "investment counselor" who turns out to be a con man. All that's left is a ramshackle 1950s motel on Tybee Island—an eccentric beach town that calls itself a drinking village with a fishing problem.
Breeze Inn is a place where the very classy BeBe wouldn't normally be caught dead, but with no alternative, she moves into the manager's unit, vowing to make magic out of mud. The work is grueling, especially dealing with the bad-tempered caretaker, a fishing captain named Harry who's trying to earn enough dough to get his boat out of hock. With the help of Harry and her junking friend Weezie, BeBe soon has the motel spiffed up and attracting paying guests.
Then there's a sighting of Reddy in Fort Lauderdale, and BeBe decides to go after him. She puts together a posse, and with the irrepressible Granddaddy Loudermilk snoring in the backseat of the Buick, heads south. The plan is to carry out a sting that may be just a little bit outside the law but that, with any luck at all, will retrieve BeBe's fortune and put the dastardly Reddy in jail, where he belongs. And maybe Harry, who's looking more hunky every day, will finally get his boat back.
Keating is simply delightful in the first-person role of BeBe Loudermilk, a thrice-divorced Southern belle and restaurant owner who falls for a gorgeous, smooth-talking con man who tricks her out of all her money and possessions. Putting on a lively Southern accent, Keating embodies BeBe perfectly, evoking her theatrical personality (wailing melodramatically over her loss), her self-deprecating humor and her never-give-up determination as she tries to pick up the pieces by getting a dilapidated motel up and running. Keating also creates distinct, believable voices for the other characters: a lazy drawl for BeBe's grandfather, whose absent-mindedness hides a shrewd mind; a gritty tone for Harry Sorrentino, the cantankerous hotel caretaker who alternately exasperates and attracts BeBe; and even voices of minor characters, including a Valley Girl-sounding young woman named Emma and a Spanish-accented bank teller. The audiobook is abridged, but you'd never know it: it flows seamlessly. It's a rollicking, entertaining story from beginning to end. This audiobook production makes an already enjoyable book even more fun, perfect for beach listening. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 30). (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.