The Last of the Honky Tonk Angels


The Last of the Honky Tonk Angels is a true sequel to The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch in that the action of the story picks up right where the first one left off in Mooney, Texas. Since I very much enjoyed Lucy Hatch I was eagerly anticipating the sequel. I’m pleased to say that the book was every bit as good as I was expecting it to be. The threads left untied in previous novel braid together beautifully in a lovely weave of words in Moyer’s follow-up.

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Lucy Hatch and Ash Farrell are living together in a bubble of love, barely able to make it out of bed, when suddenly their lives are interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Ash’s ex-wife, Marlene, and his daughter, Denny. Marlene drops Denny off with barely a farewell on her way to a new job and new relationship in Chicago. Ash, who hasn’t been a hands-on parent for twelve years and hasn’t even seen Denny in seven, is a bit dumbfounded about what to do with her. Lucy is willing to pitch in – she’s developed tender feelings for Ash’s gawky daughter – except that she is a little busy taking in the fact that she’s unexpectedly pregnant. And Ash isn’t making her feel any better about her news with his awkward welcome and inexpert parenting. Lucy doesn’t know how to tell him he’s going to be a daddy again.

Complicating matters, Ash is also keeping secrets. He’s heard from a Nashville music representative who is interested in his band, but as he’s unsure of how this might shake up his family, he fails to clue Lucy in on the news. The resulting atmosphere of worry and mistrust leads to an uncomfortable situation for Denny who both does and doesn’t want to get to know her father.

It can be a daunting task making the ordinary seem extraordinary and fascinating, but Moyer manages to do just that. The drama in this story is nothing outside of the experience of most people. Almost everyone knows someone who unexpectedly became pregnant, or had a rocky relationship with a parent because of a divorce. Yet this author presents these everyday problems with such funny, heartrending description and sympathy that the reader can’t help but feel what Ash, Lucy, and Denny are going through. She also brings up the subject of infertility through Lucy’s relationship with her sister-in-law Geneva. Geneva, who can’t carry a baby to term, has a hard time dealing with the fact that Lucy got pregnant so easily, and this causes Lucy to feel even more alone. Both Geneva’s and Lucy’s points of view are reasonable, but their estrangement is very sad. It touched my heart.

In many ways Honky Tonk Angels is Denny’s story. I wasn’t expecting this, and when I saw that Moyer was going to alter point of view between Denny’s and Lucy’s, I was a little disappointed. I soon got over this, however, since seeing things through Denny’s eyes revealed a lot more about Lucy and, especially, Ash. When Lucy talks it’s clear that she loves Ash and he loves her, but their feelings are even more vividly apparent when Denny mentally rolls her eyes at their PDA shenanigans and feels a longing for that kind of intense emotion. Denny doesn’t trust Ash; she feels he abandoned her, and her mother’s negative comments over the years have taken their toll. So watching her learn what he’s really made of is very revealing. Ash is in his element with Lucy – he’s charming a woman – but he’s much more awkward and unsure of himself with Denny, and this is telling. I winced at some the things he and Lucy did around Denny. Sometimes they were much more adolescent than parental, but considering the circumstances, that’s understandable. It would have been nice to have a direct peek into Ash’s mind, but most of what is going on with him was covered by Lucy or Denny since they are, in their different ways, rather obsessed with him.

Though Denny is a wonderful addition to the cast introduced in the first book, the few flaws of this book concern her as we, and her taste in music is certainly geared to one much older, but that could be explained by the fact that she’s not a normal teen when it comes to music – it’s her passion and not just a pastime. Also, Denny’s own history is a bit of a blank slate before she sets foot in Mooney. And I did wonder at the ease with which she slipped into Ash’s and Lucy’s lives. That might, however, be explained by the hunger for family all three of them have and hide.

I would not recommend reading The Last of the Honky Tonk Angels independently of the first book. Lucy and Ash are established as characters in The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch and, though they are developed further in this book, you would miss out on most of the progress of their romantic relationship if you didn’t read these books in order. One of the main reasons I graded the first book a B instead of an A was that Denny was introduced as a problem from Ash’s past, but this was not resolved at all. Denny and Ash’s story comes full circle in the second book in such a satisfying way that the books read together make them sort of a group DIK read for me.

The Last of the Honky Tonk Angels made me smile and made me cry. I was so glad to be able to spend more time with Lucy and Ash and to get to know Denny. I hope that this will not be Moyer’s last visit to Mooney, Texas because I’ve become fond of the town and these characters, and I want more of them and more of Moyer’s lovely, graceful prose.

Reviewed by Rachel Potter

Grade: A-

Book Type: Women's Fiction

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date: 22/06/03

Publication Date: 2004

Recent Comments …

  1. excellent book: interesting, funny dialogs, deep understanding of each character, interesting secondary characters, and also sexy.


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