Category Archives: Realistic Fiction

The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs

Publication Date: 13 August 2019

Publisher: William Morrow

ARC copy from William Morrow and Netgalley.com

 

 

 

The Oysterville Sewing Circle is a story with depth and emotion that depicts the quote “life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans” perfectly.  Caroline Shelby, a young up and coming New York fashion designer, wakes up one day to find herself with a destroyed career and her best friend’s two children whom she unexpectedly has to raise. With few options left, Caroline heads for home in Oysterville, Washington, a small town perched on the edge of the ocean.

Caroline is not a quitter. With inspiration and drive she begins to put her life back together with the help of family and friends. Not only does she begin to rebuild her new life, she reaches out to help other women who have been victims of harassment, abuse, and violence. Part of the rebuilding process involves dealing with Will Jensen, a close friend from her younger years. Complex and problematical, they work to find what the future will hold for them.

 This novel depicts the themes of courage, survival, and trust. The story also highlights the bonds women build when they stand up and support each other during difficult times, as well as the strength of familial bonds.  The characters are real and dynamic. The book is an excellent read and one of the better books I have read this summer. Don’t miss it!

 This ARC copy was received from William Morrow and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#TheOystervilleSewingCircle  #NetGalley

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

Publication Date: July 17, 2018

Ballantine Books

ARC from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com

 

Excerpt: “Still, the cottage by the sea was the one place she could remember where she’d been completely happy. She didn’t know if she’d ever find that sense of peace again, but Annie was determined to try.”

In search of peace, Annie Marlow packs her bags and moves to the tiny beach town of Oceanside. As a physician’s assistant, Annie could have chosen from a vast array of locations, but she was searching for peace and a place to rebuild her life after a terrible tragedy. Going back to a familiar spot from childhood, Annie moves back into a cottage her family rented for many years.

This novel is all about the characters and their eccentric range of personalities. Seth Keaton, a gentle giant of a man, paints rooms and houses by day and quietly paints beautiful murals around town when no one is looking. Soft spoken, awkward and shy his crush on Annie has lasted for years unbeknownst to her. Melody Johnson, rude, ill-mannered and extremely anti-social, never leaves the old house behind Annie’s cottage. As Annie’s landlord, Melody and Annie have an uncomfortable working relationship which Annie is determined to better. A cast of minor characters play a role in Annie’s life and her battle to find her happy place again at Oceanside.

I enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters as well as the comfortable pace of the story. The book is one to read and enjoy slowly in spite of its rather serious tone and nature. Travel Annie’s journey with her to find her serenity and her happy place. Good beach read for the summer for those who want a little depth to their story!

This copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#CottageByTheSea #NetGalley

 

 

 

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Jane of Austin by Hilary Manton Lodge

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Bethany House Publishers

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Waterbrook Multnomah

 

 

“It’s good to have dreams. But sometimes dreams change, or take different forms, or you go down a path and realize that while it’s not the beach, you really like the forest.”

-Jane

 A delightful read for the summer! This unique variation of Sense and Sensibility set in modern day Austin, Texas is a fun, light read. The lives of three sisters, Celia, Jane, and Margo, takes another intriguing turn when necessity forces a change of residence from their native San Francisco to Austin. The city of Austin, lights years different in terms of culture and lifestyle, offers the girls an opportunity for a new start.

Join this intriguing trio of sisters as they set out for Austin and try to move their tea business, plants and all, along with them. The older two, Celia and Jane, each have their own love issues with which to contend, in addition to raising their teenage sister. The girls have character, charisma, and charm.

The book is a poignant story full of family, romance, and the meaning of sisters. If you’ve read Sense and Sensibility, you’ll see the similarities. As a bonus, some wonderful recipes for the amazing baked goods discussed in the story are sprinkled throughout the book. Don’t miss this fun summer read!

This copy was received from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Clean, Contemporary, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Child of the River by Irma Joubert

joubert-irma-child-of-the-riverPublication Date: October 2016

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Copy from The Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson      

                                      

“It’s hard to be a woman, child.”

                                    -Ma Pieterse

Irma Joubert once again weaves an intricate tale of life in South Africa amid the political turmoil of the apartheid and WWII. Pérsomi Pieterse, a thin young girl raised on a dirt poor sharecropper’s farm in the veld of South Africa, values her education and her big brother, Gerbrand, above all else.

Pérsomi’s story unfolds as her beloved brother goes off to war, and she struggles to be able to continue her education. Before departing, Gerbrand discloses the fact that Pérsomi’s father is not really the father she has been raised to believe, much to her relief. This fact makes a fundamental difference in the outcome of Pérsomi’s education and life choices.

Follow Pérsomi’s journey to adulthood and her success as an attorney as she strives to lead a life that does not always conform to the beliefs of those around her. A woman of strong values and character, Pérsomi sets a fine example as a strong female role model during a time period when women were dominated by men.

The historical detail adds depth to the novel, and the incorporation of the politics of the apartheid offers an interesting intensity.  The religious and ethnic prejudices encountered in this book are reminiscent of our own history in the United States at different times.

A very intriguing novel! This is not a light read, but the book is excellent for readers of historic fiction and anyone with a specific interest in South Africa.

This copy was received from Thomas Nelson’s Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Ten Miles Past Normal

Ten Miles Past Normal
Frances O’Roark Dowell
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
2011
Library Copy

Janie, a quirky vintage-clad ninth grader struggles to fit in at high school. She hides out in the library at lunch, talks only to her best friend, Sarah, and escapes home to the farm after school each day. After two months of trying to find a place to fit in at the high school, Janie meets Verbena, a new lunch friend in the library, and she meets up with Monster Monroe, a tall, red-headed sixteen- year-old guy who definitely marches to the beat of his own drum. Monster talks Janie and her best friend, Sarah, into joining jam band. Sarah decides jam band is not for her, but Janie begins to find a place to feel accepted. A slight crack begins to form in their steadfast friendship as a result of their growing pains.
“And all of a sudden, I felt larger. Not taller, not heavier, not physically bigger. Larger on the inside. Like suddenly—how do I say this?—I felt like life had possibilities I hadn’t been aware of five seconds before.”

With the assistance of Emma, Sarah’s older sister, Janie and Sarah begin work on a project that broadens the girls’ knowledge of civil rights and works in an excellent lesson on intergenerational relationships. All three girls learn some valuable lessons about the Freedom School, a literacy school where African Americans were taught to read and write in order to vote.
I really enjoyed the fresh, bouncy voice with which Dowell imbues her characters. The freshness is offset by the quirkiness, particularly in Janie and Monster. The story is a fun, light-hearted coming of age story that turns out well for everyone.

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You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart
Publication Date: Oct 25, 2011
Egmont USA/Laura Geringer Books
ARC Copy from Netgalley.com

“I have Baby’s sock in my purse. I have the smell of her in my heart.” For 14 years Emmy Rane has carried a small yellow sock, “the color of a chick” with her. Emmy was an insecure 19 year-old when she married Peter Rane, a domineering young man with a bullying nature. The marriage produced Emmy’s beloved Baby. Emmy’s life is forever changed the afternoon she puts Baby in her swing and runs back inside to get a blanket.
The chapters alternate between Emmy’s narrative of her life at 19 and a young girl named Sophie’s account of her life at 14. Sophie is a sheltered young girl who has never attended public school. She spends her days by herself studying the work her mother leaves for her while she goes off to work. Their life has been a continuous move from one place to another.
Sophie finally makes friends with a young boy, Joey, who lives next door with his elderly aunts, Cloris and Helen. The friendship between the four of them must be kept a secret from Sophie’s mother or they will have to move again. Sophie, at 14, begins to question the life they live and the need to move continually. As Sophie sets out to find answers to these questions, she uncovers secrets she could never have imagined.
Beth Kephart’s writing has a poetic quality that stirs deep emotions. “True, true, the sky is blue,” and she smelled like baby. There is not one single other thing that smells like baby, that cheeks against your cheek like the cheek of a baby.” In addition, her vivid language portrays a clear picture for the reader. “The train screams and pitches. It thunders—such an awful trembling that I do not know how the houses on the banks along the tracks don’t shatter up and crumble.”
The book was incredibly sad, but amazingly beautiful as well. The book touches your heart and you keep thinking about Emmy and Sophie long after you close the cover. Once again Beth Kephart has written a great story that has appeal for young adults and older adults too.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult