I love the thrill of reading a really good book written by an author I haven’t previously appreciated. This week’s book, "South of Broad" by Pat Conroy is just such a book. Conroy has enjoyed a long and celebrated career beginning with the self-publication of his first novel in 1969. He has published eleven books to date. No doubt, another of Conroy’s books will soon join the never-ending book stack next to my chair!

At first blush this book seems to be the story of Leopold King, a homely, troubled, lonely southern kid heading into his senior year of high school. After a few chapters, it becomes obvious that there is a lot more – a whole lot more – going on. This novel is a story of friendship, family, tragedy, racial tensions, class distinctions, obsession, betrayal, and redemption. Each character is believable, although not all are likeable. Set in Charleston, South Carolina and spanning the years from 1969 through 1990, "South of Broad" follows an unlikely group of friends through the years as they struggle to understand the world around them and enrich their lives while striving to support each other. Give this one a try – I’ll bet you will find it hard to put down, too!