Phillip Powell needs a stroke of good luck. He ditched college and fled his Mississippi Gulf Coast hometown to make a name for himself as a painter in New York. Now, five years later, empty canvases clutter the Hell's Kitchen apartment he can no longer afford, and his latest lukewarm boyfriend dumps him for a poser named Stefan. Then a very special fortune cookie tells him: Everything is about to change.

An ultimatum—and a generous offer—from his imperious grandfather pulls Phillip back to Mississippi, where his beautiful, sweetly deranged mother hides out in the antebellum mansion where Phillip grew up. As he learns to make connections with his Bible-thumping aunt, a tenderhearted leather daddy, and a high school friend with a secret, Phillip rekindles the creative spark he was afraid he'd lost. He also reaches out to a not-so-lost lover who inspires Phillip to make some luck of his own.

Friends who think that reading is always a good fortune: