HARBORED SECRETS

HARBORED SECRETS

IT HAS TAKEN ME DAYS TO BEGIN TO WRITE THIS REVIEW.  I GUESS THIS BOOK JUST DIDN’T GRAB ME LIKE I THOUGHT IT WOULD.  THERE WERE JUST SO MANY SECRETS KEPT IN THIS PRAIRIE FAMILY!  I’M STILL NOT SURE IF THE FATHER IN THE STORY ACTUALLY FATHERED ANY OF HIS CHILDREN – SO MUCH INFIDELITY AND PROMISCUITY IN SUCH A SMALL TOWN.  HE WAS SO DIFFICULT AND HARD ON OTHERS – IT IS A WONDER ANY WOMAN WANTED TO BE WITH HIM!

HE SENT HIS “DAUGHTERS” AWAY AFTER THE DEATH OF THEIR BROTHER IN A FIRE AND THE SUBSEQUENT DEATH OF THEIR MOTHER.  AT EIGHT AND THREE YEARS OF AGE THEY TRAVELED HUNDREDS OF MILES BY TRAIN ALONE TO LIVE WITH THEIR UNCLES WHO DID THE BEST THEY COULD TO RAISE THE GIRLS.  BUT THEY WERE TOO OLD AND EVENTUALLY PAPA HAD TO BRING THE GIRLS HOME.  THIS IS WHEN BLINNY BEGAN TO UNCOVER THE SECRETS THE FAMILY HAD HIDDEN SO WELL.  SHE HAD BEEN TOO YOUNG AND NAIVE TO REALIZE WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THE TIME BUT AS SHE MATURED, SHE BEGAN TO SEE THE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE FIT TOGETHER.

SHE AND HER SISTER, WHO HAVE BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH TOGETHER, FINALLY BEGIN TO  COME TO TERMS WITH EACH OTHER, THEIR FAMILY, THEIR SECRETS AND THEIR ROAD TO THE FUTURE.

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

In May of 1935, Blinny Platt’s homestead shack burns to the ground forever leaving her family asunder, scattering them like the embers flew on the Montana wind. She was only eight-years-old, sent away and in charge of her little sister. She could handle that because Platts take care of Platts.

However, it is the hidden secrets of her parents smoldering beneath the charred remains that haunts Blinny until 1982. She once again leaves the home place to build a house for herself. As the foundation is poured and the walls go up, each of the hurtful memories are uncovered. Finally the mystery, left in the ashes of the burned home, is revealed. How could her mother do what she did?

 

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DECADES

DECADES

DECADES IS ABOUT THREE GENERATIONS OF WOMEN LIVING IN THE 40’s,50’s AND 60’s.  THE ADORING HOUSEWIFE AND MOTHER, THE MISTRESS AND THE DAUGHTER EACH HAVE THEIR OWN STRUGGLES TO DEAL WITH.  IT DOES SEEM THAT LIFE BACK IN THE 40’s WAS SIMPLER BUT THE CHOICES WOMEN HAD WERE LIMITED.  THERE WAS MORE OPPORTUNITY AND FREEDOM IN THE 50’s BUT MORE CHALLENGES CAME FOR WOMEN WHO SOUGHT CAREERS.  PEACE, LOVE AND JOY OF THE 60’s WAS A MESS OF EMOTIONS, DRUGS AND PROMISCUITY – SO MANY PEOPLE JUST TRYING TO FIND THEMSELVES!  AND, OF COURSE, THERE IS A MAN IN THE MIX SCREWING UP EVERYONE’S LIVES WITH HIS CAREFREE AND ROGUE WAYS.  IT REMINDED ME OF MY MOM’S LIFE – WAITING FOR HER BOYFRIEND TO RETURN FROM WWII TO MARRY HIM;  BEING A DEVOTED WIFE AND MOTHER; GETTING A JOB AND EARNING HER OWN SPENDING MONEY LATER IN LIFE.  LUCKILY MY FATHER WAS NOTHING LIKE NICK

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT AND REVIEW:

THREE WOMEN. THREE DECADES. Spanning the years from the optimistic post-War 1940s to the Mad Men 1950s and rule-breaking “Make Love, Not War” 1960s, DECADES is about three generations of women who must confront the radical changes and upended expectations of the turbulent decades in which they lived.

Evelyn, talented but insecure, is a traditional woman of the 1940s. She is a loyal and loving wife and mother whose marriage and family mean everything to her.
Nick, handsome and ambitious, a chameleon who changes with the changing times, is her successful but restless husband.
Joy, their daughter, confused and defiant, a child of the 1960s, needs them both but is torn between them.
Barbara is the other woman, younger than Evelyn, accomplished but alone. She is a transitional woman of the 1950s who wonders if she can have everything–including another woman’s husband.

DECADES, sweeping in scope yet intimate in detail, is the emotional, compelling story of family, marriage, crisis, betrayal and healing.

“The songs we sang, the clothes we wore, the way we made love. Absolutely perfect!” —Publisher’s Weekly

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A VERY GOOD LIFE

A VERY GOOD LIFE

DANA IS A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS WOMAN MARRIED TO A SUCCESSFUL LAWYER WHO IS TRYING TO MAKE PARTNER IN HIS FIRM.  THEIR LIVES HAVE BEEN DRIFTING APART BUT DANA IS TRYING TO WORK ON THE SITUATION AND IN TALKS WITH HER HUSBAND, HE BEGINS TO MAKE PROMISES OF A NEW HOME AND BEGINNING A FAMILY.  WHEN DISASTER STRIKES, DANA FINDS HER INNER STRENGTH AND REALIZES SWIFT CHANGES ARE NEEDED.  SHE WILL OVERCOME THESE OBSTACLES AND LOOK TOWARD FINDING HAPPINESS.

PUBLISHER’S HIGHLIGHTS:

A Very Good Life ranked #1 for 26 hours on Amazon’s list of  Top 100 Free e-Books in Literature & Fiction…..Although A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City, the emotional story transcends any period. Dana McGarry is an “it” girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

A Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment

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RAISING JOHN

RAISING JOHN

An outstanding story.  The orphaned John goes to live with his grandmother and as he grows up he begins to ask more and more questions – Why did his mother have to die?; How come he doesn’t have a father?; Where is his grandfather?; Why do other kids have two sets of grandparents?, etc. Of course, he discovers the answer to his most pressing question from one of his most hated classmates.   But, he will not believe the story until he gets confirmation from his grandmotherThen his life takes a downward spiral.  Find out what happens to this family who is wrought with tragedy.

 PUBLISHER’S SYNOPSIS:

How do you go on living when you have done the unforgivable? How do you love a mother you barely remember? John is an orphan who misses the mother he hardly knew. Robert is the drunk driver who killed her. As the story opens we meet 4-year-old John, who wonders why his mother had to die. Robert wakes up in lockup, expecting to sleep off a blackout and go home, until he learns of the accident he caused.

John grows up under the care of his devoted maternal grandmother, who must confront her guilt over her daughter’s past. Just as John is on the cusp of manhood, he must confront his mother’s death anew and question everything he has come to believe about himself and the people he loves.

Robert is sentenced to 4 years in state prison. His incarceration begins a journey that will have a profound effect on not only himself, but on the life of the boy he orphaned, and on the legacy of the young mother who died.

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WHEN GIRLFRIENDS MAKE CHOICES

WHEN GIRLFRIENDS MAKE CHOICES

THIS WAS A VERY EASY READ WITH VERY LITTLE PLOT.  AT TIMES I JUST WANTED TO REACH IN AND STRANGLE LARA FOR THE CHOICES SHE IS MAKING!  SHE IS TURNING 30 AND ALL HER FRIENDS ARE IN SOLID RELATIONSHIPS OR GETTING MARRIED.  NO REASON TO BECOME OBSESSED WITH THE FORBIDDEN LOVE OF AN OFFICE RELATIONSHIP TO A MARRIED MAN!  AND LARA IS NOT HIS FIRST – OBVIOUSLY SHE WON’T BE THE LAST! FUN READ IF YOU NEED SOMETHING LIGHT AND AIRY!

PUBLISHERS DESCRIPTION:

Lara Kearns has it all — loyal friends, a good job, and a great education. Now she just needs is someone to share it all with. She thinks that Paul Mackenzie might be the one. But he has a secret that will throw her into a moral quandary…

Publisher Description

A novel about forbidden love, the choices you make, and discovering what’s important in life.

Lara Kearns has it all. She has her MBA, a successful career in advertising in Seattle, and she’s even living with her best friend and single mom, Robin. Reliable, dedicated, and eager, Lara is the resident go-to-girl, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lara’s that girl who has everything going for her…everything, that is, except for true love. With the big 3-0 on its way and no man in sight, Lara wonders if she’ll always be married to her career, or her cat, and never find the One.

But then, when she least expects it, a handsome and suave executive at her firm, Paul Mackenzie, makes a pass at her. Hesitant at first about striking up an office romance, Lara eventually finds herself falling for her charming colleague. And the best part? Paul is falling in love with Lara, too!

What happens, though, when the man of your dreams loves you… and his wife?

Battling with what the head and the heart want, Lara finds herself in a precarious situation. Life is spiraling out of control, but with the support of her therapist and friends, Lara must make a choice. Is she really prepared to chase after love… at all costs?

This is a provocative story about struggling between right and wrong. About what you will or won’t do for true love. About what happens when girlfriends make choices.

While this Women’s Fiction novel is Book #3 in the When Girlfriends collection, it can be read as a stand-alone.

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THE BURGESS BOYS

THE BURGESS BOYS

I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK – A GREAT STORY FROM START TO FINISH.  IT FEELS SO TRUE BECAUSE EVERY FAMILY HAS A “STORY”!  OH! IT WOULD BE FUN TO WRITE OURS!

HERE IS THE LIBRARY SYNOPSIS:

Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” wrote The New Yorker on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize–winning Olive Kitteridge. The San Francisco Chronicle praised Strout’s “magnificent gift for humanizing characters.” Now the acclaimed author returns with a stunning novel as powerful and moving as any work in contemporary literature.

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan–the Burgess sibling who stayed behind–urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.

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AMY AND ISABELLE

AMY AND ISABELLE

National Bestseller

AN EASY READ WITH LOADS OF MOTHER/DAUGHTER TENSION.  As always the strength of the women in this book bring the novel to life.  From teenage “love” to marriage and infidelity, to losing a breast to cancer and confiding all your secrets to your peers, this book will make you laugh and cry!!

In her stunning first novel, Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout evokes a teenager’s alienation from her distant mother–and a parent’s rage at the discovery of her daughter’s sexual secrets. In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance.  And eating, sleeping, and working side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls doesn’t help matters. But when Amy is discovered behind the steamed-up windows of a car with her math teacher, the vast and icy distance between mother and daughter becomes unbridgeable.

As news of the scandal reaches every ear, it is Isabelle who suffers from the harsh judgment of Shirley Falls, intensifying her shame about her own secret past. And as Amy seeks comfort elsewhere, she discovers the fragility of human happiness through other dramas, from the horror of a missing child to the trials of Fat Bev, the community peacemaker. Witty and often profound, Amy and Isabelle confirms Elizabeth Strout as a powerful new talent.

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JUST BREATHE

Just Breathe

Another good summer read!  Not a difficult plot  – I know, I complain when the plot’s too deep and if there isn’t much of one at all.  I guess my favorite books are murder mysteries – things move fast and the plot twists and turns.  Romance is OK, but whose marriage falls apart and they just happen to have an aunt who has an ocean front house they can stay in for nothing?!

Here’s a brief look at the story:

Sarah Moon tackles life’s issues with a sharp wit in her syndicated comic strip, Just Breathe. With both Sarah and her cartoon heroine undergoing fertility treatments, her fiction often reflects her reality. However, she hadn’t scripted her husband’s infidelity.

In the wake of her shattered marriage, Sarah flees to the coastal town in California where she grew up. There, she revisits her troubling past: an emotionally distant father, the loss of her mother and an unexpected connection with Will Bonner, the high school heartthrob skewered mercilessly in her comics. But he’s been through some changes himself. And just as her heart is about to reawaken, Sarah makes a most startling discovery. She’s pregnant. With her ex’s twins.

The winds of change have led Sarah to this surprising new beginning. All she can do is just close her eyes…and breathe.

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