You may have already seen something about this book. It is awesome. It is Molly’s story and we see the life of present day Molly who is in the process of trying to adopt a baby with her husband as well as Molly at 13, a summer where her life changed forever, but instead of dealing with everything she shuts down and puts as much distance as she can between her, her family and her feelings. Molly grew up with her mother Nora and her father Graham as well her grandmother, aunts, uncles and her birth mother all living together on the large piece of land her family owned, everyone had their own home, but she could walk to everyone. As the summer unfolds Molly has her first kiss, her first concert, and yet there is something else big going on in her family and she knows it is important. Older Molly is having trouble with the idea of an open adoption even though that was how she was raised and she realizes she must put her past to rest so she can be the best Mom she can be and give her daughter the life she wants her to have. A touching story about love and hope and betrayal and families in all their wacky wonderful forms and the secrets they keep. I didn’t want to put it down and read it in two large chunks, a fantastic page turner.
The Black Velvet Coat tells the stories of Anne a struggling artist who really wants to make it work and Sylvia Van Dam a socialite in the 1960’s whose life takes her places she never imagined. Anne finds the coat in thrift store and falls in love with it so much so she spends her rent money on it, but she knows the moment she puts it on that it is meant for her, what she doesn’t realize is that the coat has a story to share with her and piece by piece she discovers Sylvia and her past, but Sylvia’s story ends abruptly and Anne is left wondering what happened. The stories of both women make you root for them and a happy ending, and there are unexpected turns in both their lives and in Anne’s search for an ending. I loved the way the lives of the women overlapped in their own way and I loved watching the puzzle pieces fall into place as Anne searched for answers and found herself along the way.
Chance Harbor is the story of a family that like all families faces it share of challenges. Zoe was a rough and tumble teen and finally left her daughter Willow behind so that she could start over and make a better life for herself. Her sister Catherine and her husband become Willows legal guardians until Zoe comes home and Catherine’s husband turns their world upside down. In the mist of the upheaval in Willow’s life her grandmother has decided to sell the family’s summer home in Chance Harbor and they journey there for one final visit as a family. Each of the characters faces adversity and unexpected circumstances and must decide not only to do what is best for them but what is best for Willow who must figure out who she is and who she wants to be. This story is full of funny and touching moments. I found the bond that forms between Willow and Nola to be comical and heartwarming, but I loved all the characters and their dynamics.
I loved this book. You would think that a cancer memoir would be glum or full of deep thoughts, and while this book does have a few of them overall it is upbeat and thoughtful and runs the emotional spectrum. One of the themes of the novel which makes it quirky and fun is the wigs Sophie acquires during her treatment and recovery. Each wig makes her feel differently and reflects a different personality so her wigs choice becomes tied to her mood, from her first wig Stella which is not a great fit to Bebe that is given to her by a friend and all the ones in between Sophie and her wigs tell a story of hope, promise and fun along the way.
I Take You is by Eliza Kennedy and I loved the quirky mix of pre-wedding hilarity and real life issues, she blended them well and Lilly and her cohorts often had me laughing of course it didn’t hurt that Lilly’s mom restores old homes which is a cause i believe in even if I don’t have nary the skill to do such things, putting stick on tile in my laundry room left me stiff for days… I loved her quirky wedding planner and her odd family logistics, like her mother and her step mother getting along, does that really happen? I suppose if you are lucky if might, I never was. When Lilly’s pre wedding jitters spill over and jepordize her personal life once she decides on a plan of action she does it even if it means doing things she would never have considered before like resorting to blackmail. Best of all though is the new understanding she gains about her fiancee Will which only intensifies her desire to marry him, but she truly wonders if they can make it for the long haul. Lilly kept me running to keep up with her hectic life and waiting to see what choice she would make.
Rita’s story has all the elements of a great story. Her life is in constant upheaval and often flat out danger, she faces peril, heartbreak and sorrow, yet her story is ultimately one of survival, but Rita never has the big picture in mind she is simply surviving day by day and choice by choice, some of her choices turn out well, others no so much and some give her nothing but heartache, yet she endures and finds a way to keep going and it is that spirit that shines though. Her journey is tough and gritty, but I enjoyed traveling it with her through the bitter and the sweet.
Gong home is the beautifully told story of Rebecca a civil war nurse who tends her patient Joseph Forsythe. The doctor wants to write Joseph off, but Rebecca thinks he can survive his injuries and while caring for him she learns he has a wife and a child. Rebecca has recently lost her husband and her child and she empathizes with his unseen wife. We not only get Rebecca’s story but through chapters that alternate in time we get Joseph’s story and we learn how he has worked hard all his life and how it has not always brought him the success he seeks, but he does eventually figure out what he wants, now the real question becomes will his wife Lucy share his dream? A warm and heartfelt tale of love and hard ship and redemption.
I loved this story. Jane returns to Grove Academy her Alma mater years after her graduation as a last chance to turn her life around. Once there she is an English teacher and a dorm mother. Returning to her former school reminds her of her best pals from high school and their adventure and she is reminded of the optimism and hope that she shared with Lissa and Kat, but when reminders of their past that only they would know about surface Jane must figure out what happened to Kat’s long ago manuscript. A beautifully woven blend of friendship and mystery that keeps you turning pages till the end.
Maddie’s life is in flux as it always is when she lands on Queeg’s door step after leaving her boyfriend. Queeg is one of the few people in Maddie’s life that she trusts and he has always been good to her. While she is there she finds out that her grandmother has passed away and decides a road trip to Oklahoma is in order, but once she arrives and tries to figure out he next step in life it is not as easy as she had hoped, but lucky for her the new friends she has made help her figure out her future and her past. I loved Mattie’s irrepressible nature and I felt bad for some of the things that had happened to her, Maddie is one of the heroines that you truly want a happy ending for.
When Whitney returns to Manteo and the Excelsior hotel that her family has ran for generations she is hoping to snag a few family heirlooms and sell the rest to save her own business, but as she cleans and clears away years of neglect she stumbles onto a family mystery. The letters Whitney find are from Alice, and based on what she reads it would seem that Alice was her Grandmother’s sister, but Whitney has never heard from her. As Whitney dives deeper into Alice’s story she learns more about her own past all while trying to figure out her future. She gets help from unlikely sources such as her step father Clyde who she has never had a good relationship with, and Mark an attorney turned shop owner. Whitney’s new friends share her excitement as she unravels the mystery of Alice and her work with the FWP, one of the WPA projects which uncovered the Sea Keepers. Are you hooked yet? This novel does that story within a story idea that I enjoy so much and it is done very well. Whitney not only finds the truth of the past, but she finds her future as well.