Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Stranded on a desert island with Melissa Pimentel

Please welcome Melissa Pimentel, author of The One That Got Away as she tackles our Desert Island Interview!

About Melissa:

MELISSA PIMENTEL grew up in a small town in Massachusetts in a house without cable and therefore much of her childhood was spent watching 1970s British comedy on public television. These days, she spends much of her time reading in the various pubs of Stoke Newington and engaging in a long-standing emotional feud with their disgruntled cat, Welles. She works in publishing.

Connect with Melissa:
   Facebook    Twitter   Goodreads

Melissa Pimentel Stranded on a Desert Island

If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

Gone with the Wind.  I read it the first time when I was eleven and completely fell in love with it, and then spent my teenage years rereading it whenever I could. My mom and I still debate about whether or not she gets him back. (I think she does. Come on, it’s Scarlett O’Hara!)

What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with?

I’m not much of a luxury item person (I like to say I’m thrifty. My husband thinks I’m cheap.) but I think Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream would come in handy on an desert island, and it’s definitely more expensive than my usual own-brand stuff.

What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?

Duct tape. Seriously, is there anything duct tape can’t do?

Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?

I would both enjoy it and be driven crazy by it. I like my own company but I definitely start to turn a little weird if I’m left to my own devices for too long. I would 100% be talking to myself non-stop.

If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?

My husband, Simon.

What modern technology would you miss the most?

Water pressure. I love a good power shower.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Cheese. Unless there’s a cow on this island…?

How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

I feel like I could do a month. After that, they’d have to come with a butterfly net.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Facetime with my nieces.

What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?

I am the world’s worst social media person (I think I’m allergic) so I probably wouldn’t say anything at all! I do love a good stalk, though, so I’d probably do a little bit of that to see what everyone had been up to.

The One That Got Away

A modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, where a young woman comes face-to-face with a lost love, proving that the one that got away is sometimes the one you get back. Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago. Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past…

Available at:
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Friday, August 18, 2017

How did this happen? by Mary D. Esselman, Elizabeth Ash VĂ©lez

3.5 Star

From the bestselling authors of The Hell with Love, a fierce, funny, touching collection that takes the sting out of "aging while female."

Sabrina-Kate - 3.5 Star

A funny little anthology of poetry that I sometimes loved and sometimes hated, but that I could entirely understand. How Did This Happen? was a funny little book. Some of the poems were amusing and profane and I loved those ones the best. I recognized some of the writers and some of the others were new to me.

I could have lived without the commentary between poems because I did not enjoy it as much as the poems themselves, and I did not see what it really added to the book as the poems were strong enough on their own.

Sometimes hilarious and also at times poignant, this was a great little book for anyone who is at the end of their 30s and feeling things change.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Mary D.Esselman and Elizabeth Ash Velez:

Monday, August 14, 2017

What Happens in the Alps by T.A.Williams

3 Star

UP IN THE MAGICAL, SNOW-KISSED MOUNTAINS…Two years ago, Annie Brewer’s life was turned upside down when her adrenaline-junkie husband died in a tragic climbing accident. So she’s hoping that moving to the beautiful village of Santorso in the Italian Alps will finally put her life back on track
…ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!    She might be going into business with her oldest friend – notorious lady-charmer Matt Brown – but men are definitely out of the question for Annie! That is, until she bumps into tall, dark and delicious Alessandro Lago on the ski slopes…and spontaneously says ‘Yes’ to a date!
It must be the crisp, mountain air but suddenly, anything seems possible. The only trouble is, chivalrous Matt is looking more gorgeous than ever…
Kathryn - 3 Star
I’m a big fan of T.A. Williams as he writes realistic modern romances with a female protagonist like a pro.  I’ve read every one of his novels that has come out in recent years and loved them all.
Unfortunately this one was not my favourite and I can’t really put a finger on why that was except that I didn’t warm to Annie in the same way I had warmed to the other female leads.  I ought to have done…. she has independence galore and a determination to succeed. She has overcome the loss of a partner which is obviously heartbreaking… I just didn’t desperately want to have dinner with her.
I had a hard time accepting her love interest.  He didn’t seem to fit, though I liked him, and it was very obvious from the start that she should have been looking closer to home instead.
What I did like about this novel was the setting- I loved the mountains, the lodges and the description of the snow.  I liked the skiing, the rock climbing and the workings of a new ski resort.  I felt completely immersed in the scenery.  The trademark mad dog was present all over the mountain and he added a certain freedom to the plot and I adored Annie’s assistant- a completely original character.
Maybe my issue was that I’m not a winter/ski girl?  Maybe I didn’t warm to the novel because I personally prefer warmth and water?  Perhaps that was it was but I certainly won’t let my mixed feelings about this story deter me from picking up the next T.A.Williams release!
Thank you to Penguin Random House for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with T.A.Williams:
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

5 Star

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I simply loved this book. From the gorgeous yet simplistic cover to the story within, The Garden of Small Beginnings is one of my favorite books of this year so far.

Lilian was one of those characters that you loved and just wanted good things to happen to. Having had a rough past few years, she was as true to life as they come. I felt for her, felt like her and sometimes wanted to be her. I loved how strong she was and what a great role model she was to her own children despite having been through so much.

Admittedly, the story was a bit easy to figure out at times, but that was part of its charm. I really do enjoy books that are inspiring and easy to read and this was definitely all of that and more!

I loved that the plot was endearing and amusing and made me want to cry and give Lilian and hug. I also really liked all of the supporting characters, from her kids, to her sister and to the oh-so-cute gardener. If you give this book a try, you will probably also fall in love as well!

Thank you to Penguin Random House for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Abbi Waxman:
  Twitter    Goodreads

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

After the fall by Julie Cohen

5 Star

When an unfortunate accident forces Honor back into the lives of her widowed daughter-in-law, Jo, and her only granddaughter, Lydia, she cannot wait to be well enough to get back to her own home. However, the longer she stays with Jo and Lydia, the more they start to feel like a real family. But each of the three women is keeping secrets from the others that threaten to destroy the lives they’ve come to know.

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could destroy the “normal” family life she’s fought so hard to build and maintain.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love―or the loss of everything that matters most to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will be forced out in the open in a single dramatic moment that leaves them all asking: is there such a thing as second chances?

Kathryn - 5 Star

After the fall is a book full of emotion from every direction.  Because much of the feeling of loss wasn’t explained fully until the end of the book, I spent a lot of time speculating on what had happened in their mutual past.  It shines a light on today’s society with the sense of detachment we now have from our immediate family and the isolation we can feel by living via social media rather than in person.  

Honor lives alone and is determined to remain independent but a serious fall forces her to have to accept help.   It appears she doesn’t have anyone to turn to except her daughter-in- law and that’s only because the hospital calls her next of kin on her behalf.  Honor is a difficult person to unravel and the reader is immediately curious because Jo is the in-law and we don’t know what happened to Honor’s child?    

Jo’s swamped with two small children, a teenager and a frustrating ex-husband but the notion of leaving Honor to fend for herself isn’t an option.  There’s so much tension between Honor and Jo though that there’s whole sections of the book where you’re feeling edgy because you want them to sort out their issues...

Lydia, Jo’s teenage daughter, is navigating her first feelings of love and she’s not sure she can share how she’s feeling with anyone.  I was really invested in her story andI was thrilled to have her inching closer to her grandmother, to have that bond starting to form because her social life started to spiral rapidly out of control and I desperately wanted someone to catch on...

Overall this book will have you look more closely at the way we relate to each other and how much listening we really do.  I hope it’s given me some insight into how teenagers (particularly daughters) can hide things that are tearing them up inside and to try to be a better communicator. 

Thank you to St.Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Julie Cohen:
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meet me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell

4 Star

1. A brief encounter that could have become so much more...if only everything were different
2. Step-sisters, bitter rivals in every area except one--by unbreakable pact neither will ever steal a man from the other
3. A love triangle that starts out as a mess of secrets and mix-ups, and only gets worse from there

Friendship, family ties, crossed wires and self-discovery, second chances and first impressions

Welcome to Jill Mansell's blustery seaside world. Once you step inside, you'll never want to leave!

Kathryn - 4 Star

If you are a Jill Mansell fan, and I am,  this new novel won't disappoint.  I've read every one of her books and they are all unique in their plot lines (though all romantic in nature) and her characters exude a warmth that is hard to match. It takes only a few pages to feel like you've known them for years and want to invite them around for tea. 

Meet me at Beachcomber Bay has Clemency pursuing her life but still thinking about the stranger she connected with on the plane a few years before. Then suddenly he turns up as her stepsister's new boyfriend (which of course isn't very good at all). The shock has her reeling and the situation isn't ideal. But Clemency is resilient and she puts him out of her mind so as not to break a long time promise to her sister.  Meanwhile, her lovely friend and co-worker Ronan is really longing for Kate to see him as a potential love interest, but that isn't going anywhere quickly. It’s a romantic, tangled mess.

It takes some time but slowly the right couples end up together and it's all lovely and simple in the end. 

The joy about Jill Mandell's novels is truly the genuine familiarity of the characters and it doesn't hurt that her writing is funny, fast paced and current. 

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

Connect with Jill Mansell:
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Would you rather...with Rebekah Louise

Please welcome Rebekah Louise, author of Love, Life & Dreams.


Rebekah Louise:

Rebekah Louise is 32 and lives in Worcestershire with her husband and young son. When she is not busy chasing her son around or writing, she enjoys reading, Pilates and spending time with family and friends preferably in cafes sampling the coffees and cakes.
Love, Life & Dreams is her first collection of five short stories that she has published. 

Connect with Rebekah:
Would You Rather... 
with Rebekah Louise

Chips, chocolate or cheese?


Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Carrie Bradshaw, love Sex in the City. 

Wine, beer or vodka?

Wine, preferably a glass of white or two. 

Camping or spa vacation?

Spa vacation. My husband proposed to me on a spa weekend away. It was heaven! 

Dogs or cats?

Dogs, we have a beautiful Rottweiler crossed with a Rhodesian Ridgeback. 

Coke or Pepsi?

To be honest I can't tell the difference. As long as it's chilled I'll happily drink it. 

Coffee or tea?

Tea, preferably with a chocolate digestive. 

Dine out or take away?

I love both but I think it would have to be dine out. 

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Flip flops, sadly I can't walk in high heels. 

Physical Book or ebook?

Physical book.

Pen or pencil?


Drama or comedy?

Depends on my mood, I probably watch more dramas. 

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Chapstick but I love a bit of lipgloss for a rare night out. 

Facebook or Twiter?


Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

Ideally I would like to plot my stories, however I get halfway through plotting and get impatient and start writing to see where my imagination takes me. 

Life, Love & Dreams

In Doctor’s Orders, meet sisters Emma and Alice. Alice comes to her sister’s rescue after her marriage breaks down. Little does Emma know what the future holds for her. 

In Julie, meet Tom, a successful businessman and a loving father, that is until Julie shows up at his office. 

In Live the Dream, meet Louis and Emma. Share in their moving story about the wonders of love and imagination. 

In Off the Record, meet James. He is a top radio DJ who makes a mistake that leads him to consider his behaviour. 

In Suite 200, meet Ania, a cleaner of a five-star hotel. Life for Ania is arduous and her future looks bleak, that’s until she meets a guest that will challenge her view.

Available at:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Publicist by Christina George

3.5 Star

Welcome to the world of publishing. The ego has landed.

Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t sell, and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan.

Enter the star Editor, MacDermott Ellis: Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author--now as forgotten as last year's bestsellers and his nephew Nick: Tall, gorgeous, sweet, single and ready to sweep Kate off her feet. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions. 

As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week,” she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more sex, more celebrities, and more scandal.

The story only an insider could tell.

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

An interesting novel because it certainly gives some insight into the various roles a book publisher takes on-  I wasn’t completely oblivious to the field but I was still somewhat surprised by the perspective of an insider.   I’m sure there is often a human element that makes this business incredibly difficult and this first novel in the series shows that the relationship between publisher and author is very complicated.

It’s an interesting read because it’s gritty in terms of the publishing world but there’s a romantic storyline that also lightens up the narrative and I’m not sure I was entirely on board with how the two mingled on the pages until the end.  I was fascinated by Kate’s different authors and engrossed in trying to keep them straight and remember who was who so when I was given information about her personal life I was thrown off somewhat.  As if she shouldn’t be allowed a personal life!

I actually like MacDermott Ellis from the start despite (or perhaps due to) the bad brush he’s painted with.  I felt for him immensely and tried to see his perspective and how it had come to be.  I hope I’m not the only one (besides Kate) to find empathy for him and I’m certainly curious to see how things pan out in the next book.

The Publicist is a strong first novel and The Publicist #2 is on my to-read list!

Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Christina George:
Website     Facebook      Twitter      Goodreads

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Mr. Right-Swipe by Ricki Schultz

5 Star

Rae Wallace would rather drown in a vat of pinot greezh and be eaten by her own beagle than make another trip down the aisle--even if it is her best friend's wedding. She's too busy molding the minds of first graders and polishing that ol' novel in the drawer to waste time on any man, unless it's Jason Segel.
But when her be-fris stage an intervention, Rae is forced to give in. After all, they've hatched a plan to help her find love the 21st century way: online. She's skeptical of this electronic chlamydia catcher, but she's out to prove she hasn't been too picky with men.
However, when a familiar fella's profile pops up--the dangerously hot substitute teacher from work (Nick)--Rae swipes herself right into a new problem... 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I loved this book! It was just the exact thing I was craving to read and I happened to receive it at the beginning of a rainy weekend, so the timing was perfect. It was such a fun read, that I actually got through it in one day!

This story is one that I can (kind of) relate to. The story of Rae, who is single, trying to live her life. The pressure that is put on her to find love is something that single women face and deal with. Well-meaning friends and family trying to orchestrate meetings and the results.

And yes, I have also done the online dating thing. My time was a bit before the app craze but the results were often similar and equally as disheartening. I think we may even have dated the same guy once or twice. Which is kind of crazy to me, since this is fiction but apparently there is a type.

I laughed and smiled to myself quite often and my family thought I was a bit crazy. But this book is just so bang on hilarious at times that I could not help myself.

I rarely, if ever, say that I hope a book gets made into a movie, but I truly do hope so because this would be a great and fun watch. Pick up this book for your beach reading or anywhere reading actually. But I warn you, you probably won't be able to put it down! 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Ricki Schultz:
Website      Facebook      Twitter      Goodreads

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson

4 Star

Author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when their mother, the surviving parent, dies. 
Now they must empty and sell the beloved family home, which hasn't been de-cluttered in more than half a century. Twenty-three rooms bulge with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum remembers her loving but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the British father, a handsome, disciplined patriarch who nonetheless could not control his opinionated,extroverted Southern-belle wife who loved tennis and gin gimlets. The task consumes her, becoming more rewarding than she ever imagined. 
Items from childhood trigger memories of her eccentric family growing up in a small town on the shores of Lake Ontario in the 1950's and 60's. But unearthing new facts about her parents helps her reconcile those relationships with a more accepting perspective about who they were and what they valued.

Kathryn - 4 Star

I was handed this book by my mother, she told me I would laugh, so I put it on my shelf for a few months until curiosity took over.    I found this memoir completely enthralling.  

It’s strange to find someone else’s family, history and house full of stuff so engaging.  You wouldn’t think it would be of much interest but the family dynamic and history was diverse enough that I wanted to know more.  More importantly though there’s a cathartic nature to the systematic clearing of her parents’ home that almost everyone can relate to if they have experienced loss.  Though they were expecting their mother to pass (as she was of quite an impressive age) the magnitude of the memories evoked by the sorting of a life time’s worth of things seemed to surprise each of the siblings.   While many would see this as a burden, something to get done, I was gifted with the concept of the joy or accomplishment that can be gained by taking things slowly.   

Sometimes I wished to know more about the author’s own family and then I would remember that this was a memoir and not fiction- that perhaps the family wasn’t too keen on having their daily lived paraded through a novel- but that just shows how naturally this book was written.

 It took her months, granted it was a very big house, and at some points I’m sure she was incredibly frustrated but the author also made me laugh and cry and I am so pleased I took my mother’s advice and read it.  Perhaps it was a message of some kind- to slow down sometimes.

Thank you to my mother for this review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Plum Johnson:
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Friday, June 30, 2017

Would you rather...with Loretta Ellsworth

Please welcome Loretta Ellsworth, author of Stars over Clear Lake.

Loretta Ellsworth:

Loretta, who now lives in Lakeville, Minnesota, is a graduate of Hamline University and the author of THE SHROUDING WOMAN, a Rebecca Caudill nominee; IN SEARCH OF MOCKINGBIRD, which won the Midwest Bookseller's Choice Honor Award, was a Teen's Top Ten finalist, was an IRA Notable, and was named to the New York Library's List of Books for the Teen Age; IN A HEARTBEAT, which was named a spring Midwest Connection's Pick and an ALA Notable; and her most recent book, UNFORGETTABLE, which is a Kirkus Pick of the Month.

Connect with Loretta:
Website    Facebook     Twitter   Goodreads

Would You Rather... 
with Loretta Ellsworth

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Unfortunately, avoiding all three to get in shape for my daughter’s wedding.  Couldn’t choose otherwise.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Bridget Jones – like Bridget, I always start my day/year with great intentions despite the problems that ensue.

Wine, beer or vodka?


Camping or spa vacation?


Dogs or cats?

I have one of each – that’s like asking me to choose a favorite child.

Coke or Pepsi?


Coffee or tea?

Coffee – trying to learn to love tea, but can’t quite manage it.

Dine out or take away?

Often too busy for dining out, so take away is the quicker option.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Sneakers – I’m a tennis player.

Physical Book or ebook?

Definitely physical.

Pen or pencil?


Drama or comedy?

Depends on the mood.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Minnesota winters demand chapstick.

Facebook or Twiter?


Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

Have been a panster my whole life, but my agent is turning me into a plotter, or attempting to do so.

Stars over Clear Lake

For the first time in decades, Lorraine Kindred has returned to the ballroom where she was swept away by the big bands during the 1940s - and by a star-crossed romance. As she takes in the magnificent energy and brassy sounds of her youth, the past comes to life, along with the fateful decision all those years ago that forced her to choose between personal conviction and social expectations, between the two men who had captured her heart. It had been a time of great music and love, but also of war and sacrifice, and now, trying to make peace with her memories, Lorraine must find the courage to face buried secrets. In the process, she will rediscover herself, her passion, and her capacity for resilience.

Available at:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle Nook Kobo

Monday, June 26, 2017

No one can pronounce my name by Rakesh Satyal

5 Star

In a suburb outside Cleveland, a community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. For some, America is a bewildering and alienating place where coworkers can’t pronounce your name but will eagerly repeat the Sanskrit phrases from their yoga class. Harit, a lonely Indian immigrant in his midforties, lives with his mother who can no longer function after the death of Harit’s sister, Swati. In a misguided attempt to keep both himself and his mother sane, Harit has taken to dressing up in a sari every night to pass himself off as his sister. Meanwhile, Ranjana, also an Indian immigrant in her midforties, has just seen her only child, Prashant, off to college. Worried that her husband has begun an affair, she seeks solace by writing paranormal romances in secret. When Harit and Ranjana’s paths cross, they begin a strange yet necessary friendship that brings to light their own passions and fears.

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I have always loved books set in India and I also love books about the immigrant experience as I find both so rich and compelling, so as this book was about Indians who had immigrated to America, I suspected that I would love it. And I truly did.

The book is incredibly full of detail and each character is developed in such a way that it felt like I was reading about a friend or neighbor. I loved how attached I became to them and how I wanted them to succeed and be happy- these types of connections can make a good book great.

Harit and Ranjana are two very different people but still have ties that bond them and create their friendship. While I was reading about their somewhat unlikely tale, I kept thinking about how the smallest things can bring us together. In their case, their Indian heritage was enough to forge that link.

Harit is living his life, but barely, due to tragedy in his family. A tragedy that irrevocably changed the lives of those he loved and the pain they feel is palpable. It seemed like he was stuck in a vicious cycle of just surviving until he meets Ranjana, who has her own pain to deal with.

This story is complex, with so many threads, that all tie together. A wonderful tale about friendship and love and the human experience that I will not soon forget.

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

Connect with Rakesh Satyal:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

After You Left by Carol Mason

3.5 Star

You want to know what the worst thing is? It’s not the embarrassment, or the looks on people’s faces when I tell them what happened. It isn’t the pain of him not being there—loneliness is manageable. The worst thing is not knowing why.

When Justin walks out on Alice on their honeymoon, with no explanation apart from a cryptic note, Alice is left alone and bewildered, her life in pieces.

Then she meets Evelyn, a visitor to the gallery where she works. It’s a seemingly chance encounter, but Alice gradually learns that Evelyn has motives, and a heartbreaking story, of her own. And that story has haunting parallels with Alice’s life.

As Alice delves into the mystery of why Justin left her, the questions are obvious. But the answers may lie in the most unlikely of places… 

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

After You Left is a tale of two women's stories that merge into one. I confess that I didn't warm to Alice until the very end of the novel.  I think I could have used more time with Alice and her husband to truly get a feel for her. His leaving was abrupt, to say the least, but because I didn't feel invested in their marriage I found her floundering perplexing. This was likely intentional by the author.  If you felt attached to their marriage then his disappearance would have felt devastating and would have been hard for the reader to move past it- let alone Alice.  His reason for leaving is explained but it seems a flimsy choice to me. Though he obviously needed to refocus most of his attention for a period was their really a reason to leave his wife?

My connection came when we met Evelyn- a woman who is so lively and intriguing that you couldn't help wanting to know all about her. Through their emerging friendship I grew to like Alice more and was appreciative of the quiet strength and support they were giving each other.

The novel isn’t filled with rainbows and unicorns- there weren’t a lot of moments when I felt pure joy from either of our protagonists.  There was so much sadness and misunderstanding in both their lives, even as children I felt that they had been given a very subdued start to life.   And yet neither of them had really had a bad or difficult life, just perhaps not the one that could bring them joy.  Though I didn’t always love reading the novel it did linger with me as I thought about living for the sake of living and living for the joy of life.  

There was a twist towards the end that actually did come as a surprise to me. I certainly don’t want to give it away but it does a lot to explain both Alice and Evelyn.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Carol Mason:
Website      Facebook       Twitter     Goodreads


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