November 29, 2010

Book Review: On Maggie's Watch by Ann Wertz Garvin

Book Description:  Maggie Finley has returned with her husband from the big city to her Wisconsin hometown, where she reunites with her best friend and awaits the any-minute-now birth of her baby. She's determined to create a safe haven on Hemlock Road, a neighborhood that has always meant security, community, and love. One way to do that: resurrect the defunct Neighborhood Watch program.

The Watch folks are mostly concerned with dog poop and litterbugs. But Maggie's done some digging and discovered a potential threat living just around the corner-a threat that must be eradicated. And the more Maggie tries to take control, the more out of control she gets...

Article first published as Book Review: On Maggie's Watch by Ann Wertz Garvin on Blogcritics.

On Maggie's Watch is author Ann Wertz Garvin's debut novel about a dark subject but handled with lightness and humor.  I was interested in the book because I normally find books that revolve around a small community and cast of characters fun to read.  On Maggie's Watch did not disappoint mainly because of main character Maggie's over the top actions and reactions. 

As someone who herself has gone online to see what sexual predators are residing in and around my neighborhood, I related with Maggie's quest to keep her child and her neighborhood safe. I chuckled out loud picturing Maggie in her purple pajamas, on her bike, stalking the stalker and her handful of pranks.  Her attempts at vigilante justice are humorous and yet also have a strong, serious undertone.  In less capable hands, Maggie could have been a brash, borderline annoying character but Ms. Wertz Garvin keeps her from falling in that precipice while also allowing her to remain very relatable, a commendable task.

I enjoyed the supporting characters, from best friend Julia whose no-nonsense personality allows her to tell it like it is to husband Martin who oftentimes seems oblivious to Maggie's obsessive nature to the overzealous Beverly Finker and helpful handyman David.  Personally I would have loved to read more about some of the neighbors - - who knows what delicious secrets and dirt Maggie, heading up the Neighborhood Watch, could have learned - - but the neighborhood cross between Melrose Place and a Fannie Flagg novel  is simply too tasty to resist. 

The best part of On Maggie's Watch is Ms. Wertz Garvin's writing style and overall story.  She has taken a relevant and timely issue and managed to pen a thoughtful, funny and inspiring book.  Maggie's journey, as told through Ms. Wertz Garvin's eyes, is worth the read - - from her marriage teetering on the brink of disaster to the domino effect her Neighborhood Watch sets off to the deep affection she shares with her best friend.  All ring true and will leave you, the reader, anxious to share in Maggie's tale and desperate to know how it all ends. 

For a debut novel On Maggie's Watch is surprisingly poignant and sinfully rich with plotline and personality.  It will strike a powerful chord in every parent out there and every female will relate to the joy and fear pregnancy brings and the inate maternal instinct to protect your child at all costs.   On Maggie's Watch is worth the read and I encourage you to pick it up.

On Maggie's Watch is available for purchase now at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission. 

For more information on author Ann Wertz Garvin, please visit her website HERE

Review copy of this book provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

" surprisingly poignant and sinfully rich with plotline and personality" - I love that! Great review, Lori!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I've read the premise for this one and it's been quite an attention-grabber. Looking forward to tracking down a copy to read away.

Juli Rahel said...

I keep on wondering where you guys get these books from!! Are they sent to you?
Loved your review!!