“A Bad Day for Sorry” by Sophie Littlefield

Miss Stella Hardesty is not a dominatrix, but she is in the business of making men feel awfully sorry. When she isn’t battling menopause, Miss Hardesty tends to find herself occupied with championing the abused women of rural Missouri—a class from which she only recently graduated with a well-placed wrench to Ollie Hardesty’s head.

Now, she does little jobs here and there, ensuring that women like her have, if not a supportive shoulder to cry on, then a few hot cigarette butts to burn the mean out of their men.

But Stella herself isn’t such a sweet lady. I entered the book expecting a much more compassionate character than the one I ended up reading about. Miss Littlefield spends perhaps a bit too much time attempting to prove exactly how capable Stella “the Hardass” Hardesty really is.

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The end result is a character that is, to me, entirely inaccessible. All of her self-hatred and doubt is reflected rather unfortunately on the characters around her—even Chrissy, a sweet if slow-witted girl whose child she is attempting to recover!

While the descriptions that Miss Littlefield provides are rich and honest in a very refreshing and involving way, they are also often completely off topic or inessential to the point at hand. (I really don’t think I needed to know quite so much about the sheriff’s sexy eyebrows. Or the brief history of everyone Stella has ever known to chew tobacco.)

At times, it comes off as a bit of humor that’s been too enthusiastically attempted. At other times, the digressions are downright frustrating. The search for Tucker is instated early on, but Miss Littlefield spends much more time describing Stella’s ever-raging battle with her own dismal self-confidence than she does engaging in the description of anything of merit.

On more than one occasion, there is lengthy discussion of her chosen beauty products, her tasteful shoes, the dangly little earrings she pairs with a ‘night out’ outfit, or that little spritz of White Diamonds she dashes on just before going out. But concerningly little mention of the kidnapped baby.

I caught myself stopping every now and then to ask, But what about the BABY, Stella? Which is not a good sign. I cared more about a baby that was described in less than two sentences than I did about a main character apparently uninterested in actually improving her surroundings rather than just taking her pound of flesh from every abusive idiot in her rural county.

In the end, A Bad Day for Sorry is a book that I really wanted to enjoy, but even the action billed in the prologue was a false start. What seemed like a book prepped for action and intrigue unusual for a small town turned into something just as slow-moving and lazy as the typical rural stereotype.

The action was inactive, the protagonist was mean, and I found myself unable to make it all the way through the book. I appreciated the buttmonkey more than the heroine, and I’m guessing that’s just not the intended message of the book. Oops.

Final Rating : 2.5 cups of tea. Bitter tea. And you’d better pour some Johnny Walker Black in it, because I really don’t think Stella would have anything else. Ever. She talks more about the booze than the baby. 

I really wanted to enjoy this book. Some of the narration stands out, and I felt for Chrissy because, well, who else was going to? If you don’t mind waiting ages for the action to finally make its way to the page, you might want to give it a try anyway.

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