Posted in Book Reviews, contemporary, Fiction - Women's, love story, relationship, suspense, tagged best book, betrayal and deceit, Beyond the Quiet, Book Reviews, books, Brenda Hill, inspirational books, love story, new novels, relationships, suspense, women's fiction, Working Girl Reviews on May 12, 2009 |
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Beyond the Quiet
by Brenda Hill
Vanilla Heart Publishing, 2009
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Quiet-Brenda-Hill/dp/1935407082
Emotionally abused as a child, Lisa Montgomery learned at an early age to keep her feelings well hidden, believing that the only way to be loved and accepted was to be perfect. As an adult, she finds stability and happiness in Mac Montgomery. When Mac loses his battle with cancer after twenty-five years of marriage, forty-four year old Lisa is devastated. On her own for the first time in over two decades, she returns to her job as a real estate agent, desperate to escape the pain of losing her husband and determined to carve out a new life for herself. Just when things seem to be getting better, she receives a strange notice in the mail; a letter stating that Mac’s post office box is due for renewal. The couple had always received their mail through home delivery, so thinking it must be a mistake, Lisa heads to the post office to straighten it out. What she discovers is the beginning of a nightmare as Mac’s secret life of lies and betrayal begin to unravel.
This book took me on an emotional roller coaster ride; a ride that pulled me along and refused to let me go until it reached its final destination. I was gripped by Lisa’s situation from the opening scenes, and with each turn of the page I found myself making more of an emotional investment. Lisa deals with some tough issues that any woman can sympathize with: an alienated daughter, a friend’s betrayal, a husband’s deceit. The plot took many twists and turns as Lisa made her journey to self-discovery, learning how to love again, how to live again. I was right there in every scene, feeling her joy, her anguish, and her outrage.
Brenda Hill succeeded in creating a character that I truly cared about and even loved, and placed her in a setting that became as real to me as my own neighborhood. Beyond the Quiet is a love story, but more than that, it is a life story. It is the story of what it means to be a woman.
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Posted in Book Reviews, contemporary, general fiction, relationship, tagged A Wedding in December, Anita Shreve, Book Reviews, books, Fiction, friendship, Little Brown and Company, novels, relationships, Working Girl Reviews on May 2, 2009 |
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A Wedding In December
Little, Brown and Company, 2005
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Wedding-December-Novel-Anita-Shreve/dp/0316001635 (For the mass market paperback – November 2007)
Twenty-seven years after their high school graduation, seven friends reunite for a wedding at a charming country Inn in the mountains of Western Massachusetts. The occasion, while happy on the surface, is marred by the tragedy that broke the friends apart nearly three decades before, and by the secret demons each of the seven fights.
The cast of characters includes the wedding couple, Bill and Bridget, high school sweethearts separated for twenty-five years. Brought together again by a chance encounter, it would seem Fate were smiling on them, if not for Bridget’s recent diagnosis of breast cancer. Nora, the owner of the Inn, who is recreating herself in the aftermath of her famous husband’s death. Agness, the forty-four-year-old history teacher who never left their old alma mater, and Harrison, who has married well and made a good life for himself in the publishing world but has never gotten over his secret love for Nora.
A Wedding in December is such an amazing book. The story unfolds gently, with each of the characters revealing themselves in small, telling glimpses. The author’s skillful attention to detail breathed life into her creation from the opening paragraph. Though the story centers on the wedding, it is richly layered with sub-plots as each of the characters reflects on the choices they made in the past and how those choices impacted their present lives. This is a story that anyone twenty-plus years out of high school can easily relate to, for who hasn’t taken pause to reflect on their past choices, and the things that might have been?
The novel left me feeling satisfied, if not a little sad. As in real life, the character’s futures are not neatly sewn up, and one gets the sense of ongoing drama for each of them. They are the kind of characters that are not soon forgotten, and I know my thoughts will return to them often. I highly recommend A Wedding In December to anyone who enjoys a soul-searching story about friendships.
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