Family Trust is Ann Miller Hopkins's second novel set in Alabama and Florida. A large family bands together, pooling resources to elevate their golden years and live a far greater lifestyle together that any of the sisters and cousins could experience individually. An attorney and close companion of the extended family forms a family trust, which protects and enhances their last decades on this earth. The novel reveals love and companionship on a higher plane, one shared by the witty, fun-loving elderly.
In Family Trust, a mixed bag of love, laughter, and arguments over whether their favorite dance is the Carolina Shag or the Birmingham Bop keeps the reader laughing out loud. A rehab suicide, a hurricane, and a justified murder at sea add suspense and danger to a thought-provoking plan for a beautiful old age.
Grown children present problems that bring cousins together to stand in the gap and eventually prepare the stage for another generation of family trusts. Jealousy is always an element when beautiful women of any age are in the equation. A grocery store battle in the produce aisle and a volunteer dog-bathing job in a rescue shelter could have been written for Lucille Ball.
Ray, a Nashville singer and songwriter, famous for "Don't Make Cadillacs Like They Used To," is the youngest cousin to commit to the family trust. In her sixties, she writes "Dancing' to Heaven" to tell the world to dance and sing every day with the people they love. Surrounded by family who know each other better than anyone, the cousins and few spouses enjoy a grand lifestyle via family pod living. Secure within the family, the aging cousins and siblings avoid dreaded assisted living and retirement homes. Instead, they enjoy luxurious in-home care. A sprawling Gulf-front beach house flanked by walled gardens of fragrant herbs and orange trees is the setting for renewal of childhood bonds, making the golden years golden.
In this hilarious, coming of age again novel, set in the eighties, Abby Copenhaven is a forty-nine-year-old Southern, former beauty queen, writer, and pageant judge. Throughout her crazy predicaments on the rural pageant circuit, she makes everything into an omen to change her life.
The contestants are an endless supply of material for her comic sarcasm. Anecdotes of former pageant years provide a glimpse into a less secure and more complicated Abby. People she has loved along the way raise her expectations in life. Francine, a Sea Island woman who speaks Gullah, and Bernice, a retired rodeo rider, add to her understanding of those outside the shallow beauty arena. Still, her favorite companion is a Bernese Mountain dog, her buffer against the outside world.
Until she meets charismatic Texas attorney, Tom Ross. He confuses her search for omens with an electric physical attraction neither has felt before. But once her critical juices start flowing, Abby finds it hard to stop judging and embrace a love and life she could never have imagined.