Tag Archives: fiction

Mistaken Identity

 

I FOUND YOU 9781501154591 Is he a good guy or a bad guy? ‘Frank’ shows up on English coast one day, with only the clothes on his back, no memory of who he is or how he got there. A woman named Alice finds him and takes him in, much to the chagrin of her family and closest friend. Miles away in London, Lilly an Ukrainian immigrant reports her newlywed husband is missing. Knowing no one, she has to figure out who she can trust to learn what happened to him. Decades earlier, a family goes on a seaside vacation in a small coastal community with unforeseen results. These three separate plot lines comprise the story of I Found You. A slow build up leads to an explosive explanation about how the three distinct tales intersect and provide all the answers.

Jewell effortlessly takes the reader back and forth, from present day to 1993. She paints descriptive pictures of each character, allowing for a full image to form and opinions to emerge. As the book unfolds, the two male characters are introduced, and one is likable while the other is not. With the story bouncing back and forth from the past to the present, and ‘Frank’s’ identity slowly forming shape, the reader is left to guess which of the two men he really is.

Highly recommend this suspenseful novel. My book club is going to read it, and I can’t wait to hear their opinions.

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Tracy Ewens Writes Relatable Romantic Fiction

Readers who like romance with modern, real life circumstances will want to read Tracy Ewens’ Love Story series. As of this writing, there are eight books in the series. Ewens introduces a character in one book and features him or her in another. She has both men and women as the main characters, exploring reasons why a relationship will or won’t work. Though there are some formulaic aspects in the series as we can realistically assume the two love interests will work through their obstacles to find happiness together, Ewens manages to make each story fresh. One way she accomplishes this feat is by having many of the storylines take place at different locations, such as a farm, restaurant, city, beach, college, football arena, political venue and more. The characters have a variety of jobs too, which means Ewens appears to do extensive amounts of research to get it right. Their occupations range from chef to bartender to politician to actor to photographer to computer programmer to farmer. Ewens also represents people at different stages of life, which allows the reader to find someone to relate to.

I eagerly await Ewens’ next book, as I am sure it will hold my attention while also teach me something!

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A Mother’s Promise

IMG_2154A Mother’s Promise is one of the most difficult, yet well written books, I have read in years. Hepworth has a great talent and accurately captures the essence of a mother / daughter relationship with finesse and compassion. The main character, Alice, is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has to figure out a way to take care of herself an her 15 year old daughter who suffers from severe social anxiety. Unfortunately, there is virtually no extended family support, so we are introduced to Alice’s primary nurse Kate and a social worker, Sonja, who is also assigned to the case. Though the story centers on Alice’s condition, each person has her own story to tell, and we are fortunate to be introduced to each one’s tale.

As a mom to a teenage daughter, I found it hard to read, because the topic is so difficult to process. Alice’s diagnosis is every mother’s fear and I did not want to consider the ‘what if’ that resonates throughout the book. However, I am so glad I persevered, because it is such a solid piece of fiction. The ending provides resolution and at the same time, keeps the door open for the next stage in the character’s lives. I highly recommend this book to anyone who finds real life books compelling. The story has a few predicable elements, but there are also plenty of unexpected moments, both positive and negative, like real life. I have already told friends about it and will continue to read Hepworth’s novels, as they make me think and help me slow down and appreciate the people I love the most.

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The Secret Sister

secret sister book cover

This is the first book I read by Brenda Novak, but it will not be the last. Novak presents a complex story of familial relationships gone sour. Maisey is the youngest daughter of a very cold, domineering mother and a more easygoing father. Unfortunately, he passed away when Maisey was just a girl, and her mother did not seem to make any effort to show extra affection towards her or her older brother. As a result, when Maisey is an adult she leaves home, intent on never returning. However, life had other plans and Maisey finds herself returning to the family homestead, beaten down by upsetting circumstances, primarily the death of an infant daughter, a divorce from an unfaithful husband, the inability to do her work, and the unsuccessful suicide attempt by her brother, Keith.

Upon her return, Maisey faces her past and her future with a clarity previously unseen. She begins to mend the relationship with her mother, helps her brother figure out his demons, while rediscovering her motivations and purpose. Along the way, she gets reinvolved with a man, Rafe, she knew more than ten years earlier.

I liked many aspects of this story. There is the mystery of whether or not Maisey and Keith had an older sister, the dynamics of her immediate family’s influence and interaction, and the budding romance with Rafe. The pace is quick, though the plot is slower. The first portion of the book is largely devoted to setting up the different events of the relationships of the main character. As a result, the plot takes a while to move to the title point. However, once Novak introduces this point, it goes very fast, and ends with a great conclusion. I really felt for all the main characters, as each had to overcome different trauma in order to move forward. I have already recommended the book to friends, as I think they will enjoy the story. Another reviewer stated this book is the first in a new series, and I hope that is true. I would enjoy revisiting Maisey, while learning more about other characters on the island where she lives.

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Love, Loss, and Forgiveness

Jackie Bouchhard

Jackie Bouchhard

After suffering two losses (husband and beloved pet), within a week of one another, Jane Bailey realizes she needs to make some life altering decisions. Though experts and family caution against making major decisions within the first year of grief, Jane determines she must do just that, as her current life is stifling, making her miserable. Added to the feelings of loss and confusion, is guilt, as Jane wrestles with mixed emotions about her late husband. Their marriage was failing, yet she had not come to terms with her feelings before her husband become terminally ill.

As Jane reconciles what she needs to do, she slowly begins to heal. Along the way, she reconnects to family and friends, makes a few new friends, and adopts a new dog. She had no intention of acquiring another pet, and certainly not so soon, but this dog finds her way into Jane’s life and heart without much fanfare. Jane quickly learns that she can open her heart again too, that pain and guilt are not emotions one has to carry for a lifetime. One funny element throughout the book is Jane’s stance on people…she really does not Ike meeting new people or even socializing with some she knows. Her interactions with others when she is frustrated are quite humorous.

Aptly titled, Rescue Me, Maybe is a story of redemption and rediscovery. Jane puts her life back together, learns more about herself, and begins to carve out a new future. The ending does not wrap up everything in a tight bow, leaving the possibility of a sequel, though it is not a cliffhanger.

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Books with alternate realities

Have you ever wondered about parallel lives? Is it true that we could be living different versions of the same life, at the same time? These books explore what happens when there is a trauma, and as a result, the main character steps out of her daily life and into an alternative one. Ultimately, each time, she has to decide which life is true and which one is where she belongs. See if you can identify with the title character in any of these.

The Bookseller (2015) by Cynthia Swanson introduces us to a woman living two lives, and she does not know which is real and which is her dream life. The book starts out in one life and introduces a dream world, only to have them intersect, cross over and ultimately collide. The reader does not know which world is real and which is not, until the very end. Takes place in the 1960’s, which adds another dimension to the story.

Then and Always  (2014) by Dani Atkins documents the life of a young woman who faces tragedy and lives to tell the tale after a bad accident. Her life is stuck though and after another incident sends her to the hospital, she finds herself living a life she does not recall. Yet she does not have amnesia. She does not know which life is true and neither do we. The ending is bittersweet, yet also fitting for the story.

The Lost  (2014) by Sarah Beth Durst finds main character Lauren discovering a world that does not make sense, while she comes to terms with having a terminally ill mother. She faces adversity while living in a town only known as Lost and has to learn how to take care of herself, for the first time in her life. Only then, will she be able to return home. First in a trilogy, The Lost ends in a cliffhanger; the Missing follows in Fall 2015, and I am looking forward to reading it.

Cecilia Ahern’s There’s No Place Like Here  (2009) explores what happened to someone who disappears without a trace. Where could the person have gone? Sandy spends her life finding missing people, objects, etc. until one day, she too, goes missing and winds up in a land filled with everything and everyone we have lost at one point in our lives (socks, baby blankets, baseballs, as well as people and pets). At first, I thought The Lost and this book had very similar plots, but they do have enough different aspects to make them both good reads.

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