What Matters Most by Helen Bea Kirk

What Matters Most by Helen Bea Kirk

What Matters Most is a contemporary Southern fiction novel written by Helen Bea Kirk. When Meagan Morris entered King’s Pawn, she was on a mission -- to try to reclaim those mementos which were all she had left of her family and her deceased husband. Someone had robbed her of everything that mattered to her: the jewelry her mother and other relatives had passed on to her; the guitar her uncle had given her; the red speed bag Paxton had inscribed when he gave it to her as a present. Methodically, she tracked down each stolen item through Drakeslist and then robbed the seller at gunpoint, figuring either they belonged to the gang who robbed her or were complicit in passing her stuff along.

King’s Pawn was different from the other pawn shops where she hunted for her family’s jewelry. The bearded man behind the counter evoked memories of her Uncle Abe, and both he and his big German Shepherd dog were watching her with suspicion. She couldn’t blame them. Dressed in Paxton’s military gear, with sunglasses, knit cap and false teeth disguising her appearance, it was clearly obvious that something was wrong. When she held him up for the pearl necklace she had been looking at, he managed to trigger off the store alarm, but when the police arrived, King just couldn’t find it in himself to turn her over to the authorities. Meagan was stunned as he put that pearl necklace in a shopping bag and added a jewelry case. In the turmoil, she had left behind the photograph showing the items that had been stolen from her. King put it in his shirt pocket to study later on. There was a mystery behind all this that he was determined to solve.

Helen Bea Kirk’s contemporary Southern fiction novel, What Matters Most, is an engaging and beautifully written story that had me smiling as I read it. King Pullman and Meagan Morris are marvelous main characters whose worlds, which initially seem so far apart, somehow come together as Meagan works to regather the mementos that are all she has left of her family. I particularly enjoyed the unconventionality of these two characters: Meagan is strong and competent, and her marriage, which hints at being decidedly less than optimal and on the abusive side, has left her in no doubt about her abilities to stand up for herself. King, while the image of the handsome and virile landowner, seems almost passive as he waits for her to make the first move and marvels when he finds her hidden under his bed, getting a secret frisson of excitement knowing she’ll see him as he walks toward the shower undressed. Kirk’s supporting cast is equally memorable, and her plot moves very well indeed. What Matters Most is very highly recommended.

Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite.