From Goodreads: thief Birdie Kaminsky has arrived in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart.
The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue’s author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who rose above the horrors of slavery to build a new life in Ohio. According to family lore, Justice left South Carolina at the dawn of the Civil War. Heavy with child, she carried untold riches on her journey north. As Birdie searches for the treasure, she begins to believe a questionable part of the story: a tale of love between Justice and Lucas Postell, the French plantation owner who was Birdie’s ancestor.
If the stories are true, Justice bore a child with Lucas. Some of those black relatives might still live in town. Birdie can’t help but wonder if she’s found one—Liberty’s feisty matriarch, Hendricks, who packs a pistol and heartwarming stories about Justice. Birdie doesn’t know that an investigative reporter who has arrived in town will trip her up—as will her conscience when she begins to wonder if it’s possible to start a new life with stolen riches. Yet with each new clue she unearths, Birdie begins to discover a family history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she could imagine.
My Thoughts: Treasure Me was a lovely combination of a mystery, treasure hunt, love story, and one woman’s quest to find her place in the world. Birdie makes her living as a pickpocket and has a very shallow existence. She has no real family or friends and rarely stays in once place long enough for anyone to get to know her. She travels to the small town of Liberty on a journey to find treasure that family lore says is hidden there. What she doesn’t expect to find is a group of friends who truly care about her and are willing to take her under their wing, no matter how rough around the edges she is.
This novel was a bit slow to get going and it wasn’t until about a third of the way though that the story really picked up. I didn’t care much for Birdie at the beginning of the novel. She wasn’t a very likeable character and it was difficult to sympathize with someone who is constantly picking pockets, lying and closing herself off to the possibility of any real relationships. Birdie had a wall up around her that was nearly impenetrable. About a third of the way into the book though she started to grow and develop some compassion for the people she was living with in Liberty.
"In the past, skirting the truth has been easy. Since arriving
in Liberty, her conscience had risen from a deep slumber.
Something in the water was getting to her. Or the people were
Whatever it was, she didn’t relish lying, even if there was
no other choice."
"In an unexpected way, she experienced a sense of welcome
every time she arrived. For the first time in memory, her
presence in a room mattered to someone. It mattered to the
three women of The Second Chance [grill]."
Treasure Me was so much more than a book about a thief looking for the score of her lifetime. As much as Birdie was on a treasure hunt she was also on a journey to create a life for herself that she could be happy living. She did not necessarily wish to be a thief and did not believe was she was doing in life was right, she simply did not know any other way to live. Through the friendships she made in Liberty, Birdie was able to realize that she was worth being loved and cherished and that strength was what she needed to live the kind of life that she had only dreamed of. The characters that Nolfi created were fantastically written and had so much depth to them it was hard to believe this was a fictional story.
I absolutely loved the intertwined family histories that Nolfi wrote of and for me this was much more exciting than the treasure hunt that Birdie was on. Theodora was my favourite character in the novel. She was fiery, kind and patient and was not the sort of person to give a lecture. She took the time to help Birdie figure out the answers to her bigger questions and was always there to support her, however unconventional her methods may have been.
The love story was a little predictable but it was fun and light and a perfect compliment the other more difficult aspects of the novel. For someone like Birdie who never had anything go easy in her life, it was nice that she was able to find love and acceptance without too much complication.
Treasure Me was a relatively light and sweet read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At first the mystery/treasure hunt aspect had me wondering how much of a connection I would be able to make with the characters. I was so happy to discover that more than just a journey for riches, Treasure Me was about one woman’s journey to finding happiness and fulfillment in her life.
I received a free copy of Treasure Me from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.