Saturday, July 19, 2014

Synchronized Breathing by Tara Ellison

4 Star

Scarlett Spencer's life is a mess. Her lemon of a marriage has just imploded and she is headed to Beverly Hills, toddler in tow, to move in with her highly over-sexed mother, CeCe. 

Having to move in with her mother at the ripe old age of thirty-five seems to loudly announce her failure as an adult. Scarlett is keenly aware that she is paying the price for her history of poor choices in men - and so is her young son, Oliver.

Living in cramped quarters with one's mother is not without its challenges - even in Beverly Hills. Living amongst the rich and beautiful can really highlight your own perceived shortcomings and Scarlett has never felt more of a failure. Finding employment again after being a stay-at-home mother isn't easy, as she struggles to put together pieces of a puzzle that never quite fit before.

Scarlett's mother CeCe is wildly successful in the men department and has more dates than any woman half her age. CeCe has been married three times, so leaving husbands is a subject she knows something about. She counsel Scarlett that "Husbands are left by putting one foot in front of the other, and never looking back." Of course, the difference is that CeCe usually has the next man waiting in the wings...

After much prodding from CeCe, Scarlett wades back into the Hollywood dating pool - this time as a single mom- and finds that all the rules have changed.

Kathryn - 4 Star

There were so many good things about Synchronized Breathing that I have those warm and fuzzy feelings when I think back on the book. I was enchanted with the various characters and was most impressed with the variety of personalities created by Ellison. From hilarious Cece to darling Oliver I was completely smitten with Scarlett’s family -and they were quite an eclectic bunch. 

I related entirely to Scarlett’s hesitation about moving back in with her mother and teenage brother at this stage in her life. She’d been living away from them for years and had become accustomed to enjoying their company in smaller doses- particularly in the case of her mum. Cece is not your typical maternal mama. Far from maternal in fact, she was constantly giving unsolicited advice about Scarlett’s sex life and dating plans. Cece was sometimes even graphic and unapologetic about it- but you could still feel her warmth and love for her kids and especially little Oliver. She just wasn’t going to change who she was because of their new situation. Another sweet touch was Scarlett’s brother and his girlfriend- they spent time with Oliver and obviously didn’t mind caring for him when they were around. It made my heart warm to witness the generational support of each other, despite the out-there conversations!

My hesitation about the full five star rating came solely down to the pace of the novel- I felt at times as if we could have skipped some of the details as it became a bit “much of the same”. Scarlett’s dating escapades would possibly have benefited from one less interlude here and there with each man. It was a touch dragged out.  Also I wished at times that we knew a little bit more about Scarlett and her ex before their demise- the little we knew about them gave us virtually no idea about their good times- I never understood why they were together in the first place.

I enjoyed Synchronized Breathing particularly for the characters and the interactions between them all.

Thank you to Etch Communications for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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