Tag: women’s fiction

The Mother’s Promise

Author: Sally Hepworth
Published: February 21, 2017
Paperback Release: January 30, 2018
368 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 17-24, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter, Zoe, have been a family of two, living quietly in Northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works―until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets―secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the most dismal moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters and the new ways in which families are forged.

Jessica’s Review:

This is quite a novel. Alice and her teenage daughter Zoe have been on their own for Zoe’s entire life: They have no one else.  Alice then gets sick and they need help. Kate and Sonja come into their lives and no one will be the same again.

You get to know all four ladies through the novel.  You feel the social anxiety that cripples Zoe; you want her to overcome and succeed. You experience everything Alice does with her journey as well as her thoughts and fears; you want her to defy the odds and survive.  You feel the heartache that Kate has gone through multiple times. You want Sonja to get out of the situation she is in.  And when you find out how all of their lives are connected you can’t help but be shocked.

The chapters are short, which make it a quick read and one you don’t want to put down. It goes in an unexpected direction and has a satisfying ending.  Without giving spoilers, I felt the author could have gone in a different direction, but that would have extended the novel exponentially. This direction would have been perfect for the suspense reader in me. I would have loved that route, but the author took the best route for her as this is an emotional roller coaster of women’s fiction.  There is an satisfying ending, but I wanted more.

We see several ways that someone can be alone, whether they are physically alone or not.  Each woman’s story shows the varying ways that one can be alone.  It is a touching novel that will have you emotional and possibly in tears.  You see the bond mothers and daughters have.

The Mother’s Promise is Recommended.

Special thanks to St Martin’s Press for sending me a copy in anticipation of the paperback release, which comes out tomorrow. It was a pleasure to read!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Second First Time

Author: Elisa Lorello
224 pages in Kindle

Published: November 15, 2016
Dates Read: December 5-11, 2016

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Novelists Jonathan Moss and Sage Merriweather should be a perfect match. They share not only the same publisher but also a deep friendship full of mutual respect and encouragement. But when an ill-fated attempt at taking their relationship to the next level fails in spectacular fashion, it appears as though that once-treasured bond is doomed for good.

One year later, however, the duo gets a chance to salvage their relationship when Jonathan invites Sage on a do-over road trip from Phoenix to Tacoma—the same trip that ended before it began the year before.

Reeling from the sudden death of her estranged father, Sage finally agrees, and the two embark on a journey that will change their lives forever. As the pair moves ever closer to the truth about their feelings, both Jonathan and Sage have to decide what they really mean to each other…or risk losing it all.

My Review:

Jonathan and Sage are best friends who both happen to be authors and share the same publisher. After Jonathan’s marriage falls apart, they decide to take a road trip to see what could possibly happen. This doesn’t work out, the road trip does not happen and Sage ends up with a broken heart. They stop speaking and a year has gone by. This is where The Second First Time begins.

Sage’s estranged father passes away and she needs someone to talk to and she decides to call Jonathan. It is almost like nothing has happened and they begin talking again and Jonathan suggests they actually go on that road trip they planned a year ago. Sage debates this but she does decide to go. This changes everything for Sage and Jonathan and they have to decide what they really want.

The Second First Time is a journey for Sage as she comes to terms with loss on several levels: Dealing with her father leaving her, her sister and mother when she was ten years old, then his death and the loss of the closure she can never get, and losing her best friend Jonathan the year before. We experience her thoughts and are torn with her as she tries to decide what she should do and how she feels about Jonathan. Should she take a chance on love again and possibly be hurt again? More importantly, what are Jonathan’s feelings about Sage? Can they salvage the relationship they had and realize what could have been a year ago, or are the decisions that were made then permanent?

While on their road trip they learn more about each other. You can see Sage debating with herself and we can see how Jonathan feels about Sage. Sage just needs to see it herself. At times I found myself saying, “Hurry up and get together!”.

The book is like a When Harry Met Sally story: Can a man and a woman just be friends or will romance eventually happen? The Second First Time was just okay for me, but it was well written. I did not find myself really attached to the characters. The first chapter does pull you into the story. I can’t really recommend The Second First Time, but I would give Elisa Lorello another chance and read another of her books.

I received a copy of The Second First Time from NetGalley.

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Separate Lives

15710415

 

Author: Kathryn Flett
288 pages in Kindle

Published: July 5, 2016
Dates Read: November 8-19, 2016

My Rating: 2 stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Your partner of ten years, and the father of your children (though not your husband, because the two of you agreed that marriage seems so…old-fashioned), receives a text message. A text message you happen to see when you’re getting ready for work one day:

Start living a different kind of life… P 🙂 xxx

You don’t even know anyone with the initial P, but even if you did, the smiley face and kisses would send a shiver of fear down your spine that everything you and your partner have built and which seemed so strong, might be in danger of collapse. How could you miss that?

Narrated by Susie, her partner Alex, and the mysterious P, this is an achingly funny, moving and honest portrayal of modern romance, parenthood, and adultery.

My Review:

The premise of the book made me want to read Separate Lives. Unfortunately, I got a different book than I was expecting.

I think I was expecting a ‘fight to save your relationship’ kind of book. Separate Lives was very different from that kind of book. I do like books with multiple narrators, as you get multiple points of view to get the whole story. The three narrators are Susie, Alex and P. Susie’s narration was a ‘standard’ type of narration, Alex’s narration was through emails, and the ‘Mysterious P’s narration is through letters to her mother (P turns out to be Pippa, this is not a secret as we quickly find out who ‘P’ is).

Issues I had with the book:

-All three of the protagonists were not likable. I did not really care what happened to them. Yes, Susie discovers the text, but there is something going on with her. I can’t say what without spoilers.

– There were a few twists that were supposed to shock you but my reaction to them was just the opposite. This must have been because I was not attached to the characters.

-Susie and Pippa’s narrations tended to drag on and mentioned things that were not relevant to the story. I found myself scanning through parts of both of their narrations. This happened more with Susie than Pippa, and some of the things Pippa would say in her letters to her mom I would not even say to my mom!

Towards the end of Separate Lives I did start to like Pippa a small amount. The last few chapters of the book did pick up for me. In the end of the book, that original text has so much more meaning that it did at the beginning of Separate Lives. I know some books are not for everyone and unfortunately Separate Lives was not for me.

I received a copy of Separate Lives from NetGalley.

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