Novelist and playwright Sibley (Any Kind of Luck) returns with a melodramatic, spunky tale of good intentions, mistaken identity, and mixed signals. For Lester Briggs, a softhearted man serving a half-decade prison sentence for felonious theft, prison life can get stagnant and restless, and passionate sex with cellmate "Little Ray” only goes so far. So Briggs takes to the personal ads and begins a long-distance correspondence with Laurel Jeanette Yancey, with whom he soon falls in love. Freed on good behavior and filled with anticipation, he heads to Rockport, Tex., to meet his long-distance love face to face, only to discover that "Jeanette” is actually closeted Rev. Philip Yancey, who lives with his lesbian sister, Luz. A forgiving soul, Briggs gels with the Yanceys and becomes enriched (and titillated) by them both. A whirlwind of colorful characters populates Sibley's well-crafted novel including kooky locals Melanie and Daniel, who initially drive Briggs into Rockport and befriend him. While these folks add flavor to Sibley's crisply written narrative, it's very much Briggs's story about burgeoning emotions and living a true life. Sibley demonstrates dexterity in prose, deft characterization, and command of a fresh, contemporary plot line about redemption and starting over that entertains with feel-good appeal.
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013 Release date: 10/01/2012 Genre: Fiction