Allison Winn Scotch’s latest book, The One That I Want, is about reclaiming your dreams.
Tilly Farmer is a 32 year old woman married to her high school sweetheart, working in her old high school as the guidance counselor. She believes she has the perfect life, outside of not having a baby. But she’s working on that. Then one day everything changes. She runs into an old friend, Ashley, who gives her the gift of clarity. Next thing you know Tilly is seeing things before they actually happen. Her father’s relapse and car accident, Tyler (her husband) packing their house and moving, her best friend with another man, etc.
Tilly’s life changes. She sees things she doesn’t want to see. Her perfect little life isn’t so perfect. Her husband is miserable. He doesn’t want to live in their home town. He had dreams. He was supposed to be a star baseball player. He decides to go to Seattle and get a job at the university scouting kids for baseball. But he doesn’t expect Tilly to come with.Tilly is devastated. Continue reading
There is something about summer that compels me to read books centered around beach communities in the Northeast. So it should come as no surprise that I picked up Nancy Thayer’s latest, Beachcombers, a story about three sisters who find themselves all living in their childhood home in Nantucket.
Abbie, the oldest, has been away from the family for two years living in Europe and working as a nanny. She’s enjoying her independence after giving up her dreams for so many years to take care of her sisters after her mother died. Emma, the middle child, was a successful investment banker. When the economy stumbled, she found herself broke, without a job and or a fiance. (He was kind enough to dump her and take up with another banker in their office.) Lily, the baby, lives at home and works for a local newspaper covering the social events on the island.
The book begins when Emma’s job loss forces her to move home and her depression worries Lily so much that she summons Abbie to return home. When Abbie arrives at home she finds that the economy has also placed a strain on her father. He has rented out “the playhouse” to a 40 year old recent divorce from the Midwest. Marina, hurting from her ex-husband’s betrayal, has fled to Nantucket to escape and heal in a place that brought her much joy when she was younger.
Beachcombers is a wonderful story about unexpected relationships and the process of healing. Each of the women becomes involved in a relationship which on the surface may appear complicated or not to work but is exactly what they need. Thayer does an excellent job painting the characters especially Howell, Harry and Mrs. Bracebridge.
My one complaint about this book centered around the character of Lily. At times, I found her behavior too childish for a woman in her early 20s. I also found myself frustrated at times with her sister’s reaction or over-reaction to minor incidents like Lily forgetting to buy milk for the house. I understood what Thayer was trying to do but it just felt a little much.
That being said I highly enjoyed this book. I found myself losing myself in the story and the characters. I would recommend this book and give it a 4.5/5. Now to to check out more books by Thayer….
Jane Green‘s new book, Promises to Keep, should come with a huge warning: Have a box of Kleenex nearby when reading.
I didn’t pay much attention to the book description when I requested the book from my local library. Shortly into the book it became clear that this book was going to be different from Green’s previous books. Jane Green is one of the authors that helped define ‘chick lit’. Imagine my surprise that instead of the light, fluffy escapist read I was expecting, I got a book about a woman dealing with cancer diagnosis leaving her with less than a year to live.
Callie has the perfect life. She’s married to the perfect husband, has two adorable children and a career as a photographer. Her sister, Steffi, is a bit of a free spirit. She lives with a guy in a band that she doesn’t particularly love and works by day as a vegan chef in a tiny neighborhood restaurant. Callie’s best friend recently moved to Connecticut and recently found Mr. Right but he comes with some baggage, a horrid ex-wife and a wonderful son.
Green spends the first part of the book building up how Callie is living the perfect life. You just know that something horrible is going to happen. So when she blacks out and is in a car accident and later finds out her cancer is back it comes as no surprise. The rest of the book is spent on how her friends and family rally around her to support her during her last days. It also focuses on the changes that they make in their life as a result of her battle. The message that life is too short and you need to spend time doing things that are important comes across. Make time and spend it with your children. Be with the right person. Set aside your differences.
What I liked about this book is that it was a bit of a departure from Green’s previous books. Obviously this is personal to her as she dedicates it to her good friend who lost her battle to cancer. I loved the line Love is actually a verb. You need to show your love by actions and they don’t need to be grandiose. Little things are important too.
So while the book is completely predictable, it was a good read. Just remember to have the tissues near.
I adored this book. As someone who was lucky enough to win the stepmother lottery, I enjoyed reading a story from a perspective we rarely read about.
Eve falls in love with Ian, a widower, but is unprepared to cope with the challenges of living with his three children. She turns to her best friend Claire, a single mother with a teenager. Claire has Eve speak with her sister, Lily who is seeing someone with a young daughter. Next thing you know, the Stepmothers Support Group is formed and two additional members are added. The women met at Starbucks to discuss the challenges that they are facing being a stepmother. Eve struggles to get Ian’s oldest daughter Hannah to like her, or at the very least, not hate her. She is also coping with living in a house where another woman still has a very large presence. Claire struggles when her ex, Will, appears wanting to met the daughter he abandoned some 14 years ago. The other women have their own stories, but the plot revolving the characters of Eve and Claire was most defined.
Even though Baker’s book is about the challenges facing mothers/stepmothers, at its core it is really about women and friendship. You don’t need to be a stepmother or mom to appreciate this book. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good summer read.