Warrensburg by Fleury Sommers – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Warrensburg by Fleury Sommers

Book Blurb:

Warrensburg by Fleury SommersHow far will a family go to protect one of their own against injustice? What will it sacrifice?

Moonshiners and small farmers, the Warrens are stunned when the state moves to sterilize one of their own for the “perversion” of epilepsy. Aided by a few close allies, the family fights back in the only way it knows. The price: jail, the breakup of the family, loss of home and farm, cross-country flight, and finally triumph.

His Review:

The Warrens had lived in Warrensberg since the Revolutionary War. Their daughter Millie had a difficult birth and was considered slow by the Warrensburg health officials. Because of her perceived disability, the County Health Officials decided that it would be best if she were sterilized. There was little empathy for poor mountain folk in the hollers of West Virginia.

The family knew that she was very smart and sociable and had no intention of having her “fixed” to satisfy some over-stepping county officials. After WWII her father was only getting $.54 a bushel for his corn crop. Even in good years this was not enough to put food on the table and maintain the farm. There was one product though that her papa made that was profitable and well received in the community. Moonshine!

The corn he raised was much more profitable if turned into the moonshine. The Revenuers were excited to catch him and destroy his still but everyone in the county enjoyed his product. The local sheriff looked the other way when the moonshine went to market after receiving his gallon.

The local storeowner had a number of folks who would buy all of the product papa produced. Prohibition had been enacted and the local city fathers and mothers wanted to capture the product and destroy the still. Most of the mountain people were producing similar products, however, Millie’s papa’s product was considered among the finest in West Virginia.

This story follows closely the plight of the poor mountain people in West Virginia and the ability of the local health departments to meddle in people’s lives. Keeping ahead of “The Revenuers” and the county welfare officials was a constant struggle for the family. The saga is a good exposé of government overstepping its’ authority and trying to control citizens lives.

CE WilliamsI read this book with interest in both topics. Overreach by government and the dangers to people with disabilities rang true to my experiences as a child. Anyone who acted out of the ordinary or even got a divorce could expect interference from county officials. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Historical Fiction  
Publisher: Quality Books
ISBN: ‎ B09TYH2M67
ASIN: B09VDR4J24
Print Length: 349 pages
Publication Date: March 11, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Warrensburg [Amazon]

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Fleury Sommers - author
Fleury Sommers

The Author: My grandmother came from a ranching family in Montana. She was proud of her heritage and loved to travel. Mother kept many of her artifacts, including cowboy chaps, Japanese kimonos, tortoise shell cigarette cases, photographs of stern settlers who survived Indian attacks and others. These objects, belonging to and used by real men and women, suggested to me that history was more than the simple and dry facts we were encouraged to memorize in school.

Later, I began to read history more seriously. I don’t suggest in any way that I’m a scholar, but it does strike me that many of the cruelties inflicted on people derive from rancid ideas, ideas that are popularly supported – at least for a time. The next question, of course, is what happens when people are confronted by such an idea and its consequences. When and how does the little guy take a stand?

I became a professional writer, first in newspapers where I won a couple of awards, and later in public relations where I received no recognition except for an ability to “bat out” copy on demand, a valuable asset in a busy shop. Later, my husband founded a public relations firm specializing in energy affairs and generously credited me as “co-founder,” although my role (and my value) remained much the same.

Years ago the narrator in a Jodi Picoult book (I forget which one) mentioned in passing that a character was a candidate for involuntary sterilization in Vermont. “Vermont?!!” I thought. “Couldn’t be.” I’d assumed those laws were primarily passed and enforced in Southern states. That thought stayed with me and was the germ that resulted in “Warrensburg,” a tale of a moonshining Virginia family’s fight against the eugenics movement when it threatened one of their own. “Warrensburg” will be published soon.

I don’t remember the precise genesis for “Beautiful Angels,” except that blaming the Jews for the bubonic plague was a popular idea embraced against all rationality and in the face of clear evidence of innocence. Yet, the embrace of this “truth” resulted in thousands of deaths by starvation and burning all across Europe. “Beautiful Angels,” is the story of a small group of unlikely allies, united only by their common humanity, who take a stand against the mob in their own small village.

My favorite books are those that are entertaining, but also resonate in some way—just like those chaps and tortoise shell cigarette cases did with me so long ago.

For more, visit my website at http://fleurymillssommers.com
https://www.goodreads.com/Fleury_Sommers

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles – #Audiobook Review – #ComingofAgeFiction

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

The Lincoln Highway  Amazon Charts #5 this week

Book Blurb:

The best-selling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility and master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction returns with a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America

In June 1954, 18-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served 15 months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother Billy and head to California, where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take them all on a fateful journey in the opposite direction – to the city of New York.

Spanning just 10 days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’ third novel will satisfy fans of his multilayered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.

My Review:

Okay, maybe not for everyone.

Love it or leave it.

I loved it…maybe not the ending so much, but…

From the author for whom most absolutely loved A Gentleman in Moscow, I had no preconceptions, this being my first experience with his books. But I was hooked almost immediately, and then like a mosquito attracted to a red shirt and unprotected skin, I listened with rapt attention to each POV.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor TowlesIt’s 1954, Emmett gets out of work camp early on a family release (his dad passed away) and he’s eager to see his little (8?? year old) brother and leave the old family farm. Nothing left there—indeed—the bank owns it now. Unfortunately, two buddies from Salina stow away in the trunk of the car which takes Emmett home and they have their own ideas what to do with freedom and it isn’t the same as Emmetts’.

Then he discovers Billie is sure he’s figured out where their mother went when she abandoned them and it’s also in the opposite direction of his goal. Who wins the direction out the Lincoln Highway is where the storyline takes us.

The boys are still young, naïve, really no street smarts (except Duchess) although the author would have us believe Billie is gifted, smart, self-taught, and immediately takes a liking to Wooly. Wooly is the product of a very wealthy family. But as smart as Billie is—Wooly isn’t. Wooly, in fact, might be a bit slow and easily manipulated.

Wooly has divulged a secret stash of $150k in the family’s mountain cabin to Duchess. He wants it and easily steals Emmett’s Studebaker. Emmett and Billie resort to a plan to ride the rails to New York to recover their car and in the process are befriended by Ulysses. I loved the character of Ulysses, my heart broke for Emmett, pushed disbelief for the precocious Billie, and railed against Duchess.

But there is much to learn about each of the characters and as the tale winds around each to divulge backstories, sympathies take a subtle change of heart and brings to the reader their flaws and a new understanding of the person within the façade.

It’s a heart-rending story, filled with prose, philosophical observations, revelations of our country in the 50s and as the tension rose, it swung almost angrily into the conclusion.

And I was crushed.

The rug pulled out from under my feet.

I was sure there could have been other ways to resolve the problems of the four going forward. Indeed, it looked like there might have been. But that’s not what happened.

Certainly, a book whose characters have been brought to life. A difficult conclusion to accept and a story that reverberates for some time. Did you read, listen to this book? Did the climax unhinge you as well? How did you feel about Emmett?

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B08WVLSDDR
Listening Length: 16 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Edoardo BalleriniMarin IrelandDion Graham
Publication Date: October 5, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Lincoln Highway [Amazon]
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

Amor Towles - authorThe Author: Amor Towles is the author of New York Times bestsellers RULES OF CIVILITY and A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW. The two novels have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into more than thirty languages. His new novel, THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY, will be released on October 5, 2021. His short stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Granta, and Vogue. Having worked as an investment professional for more than twenty years, Towles now devotes himself fulltime to writing in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife and two children.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Library Lovers Month

Thank you to my local well-stocked library for my audiobooks and to Lynne @fictionophile for letting me know it was #LibraryLoversMonth

TV Netflix Series Firefly Lane vs #Audiobook Fly Away by Kristen Hannah and Susan Ericksen (Narrator) – Family Life Fiction – #TBT

Netflix series Firefly Lane vs Audiobook Fly Away Book 2 of the Firefly Lane series

 

Somewhere in my travels through buddy blogs or Netflix ads, I noticed the novel Firefire Lane and that the book had been picked up for a Netflix original series. I must admit to loving the challenge of listening to the audiobook and then making a mild comparison to the Netflix version. In the past I’ve noticed a radical departure from the original books (not quite so much with Longmire, but seriously rewritten in the Virgin River series).

The storyline by Kristen Hannah in Firefly Lane (Book 1) is about Kate Mularkey, who in the summer of 1974 meets Tully Hart. Kate is in the eighth grade and a doomed bottom feeder whereas Tully is “the coolest girl in the world.” But Tully lives a tenuous life with an addicted and aging flower child and she quickly assimilates into Kate’s family. The ensuing well-paced narrative chronicles the friendship, the bond between the girls through thirty years and several life changes.

Netflix Series

Firefly Lane follows Tully played by Katherine Heigl and Kate played by Sarah Chalke through their coming of age, young adulthood, and the rise of each in their chosen life path. They are BFFs, supporting each other through both the good times and bad into their 40s.

There are ten episodes in Season 1 with Season 2 promised some time in 2022. The actors, both the youths and adults, do an incredible job of selling their characters.

Katherine Heigl - actressKatherine Marie Heigl (born November 24, 1978) is an American actress, producer and former fashion model. She started her career as a child model. Heigl and her husband of 13 years — the singer Josh Kelley — have a 4-year-old son together, Joshua Bishop Kelley, Jr. They adopted their daughter Nancy Leigh, 12, from South Korea in 2009 and Adalaide, 8, who is Black, in 2012. [Wikipedia] She may best be known for her role in Grey’s Anatomy.

Sarah Chalke - actressSarah Louise Christine Chalke born August 27, 1976) is a Canadian actress and model. She is known for portraying Elliot Reid on the NBC/ABC comedy series Scrubs. Chalke is engaged to lawyer Jamie Afifi. The couple have a son, Charlie Rhodes, and a daughter, Frances. Her son was diagnosed at age two with Kawasaki disease. [Wikipedia]

My Thoughts

I love finally having female buddy films that women can identify with, enjoy. Of course, Thelma and Louise made some waves when it came out, but I don’t remember seeing a number of similar cinema offerings after. A League of Their Own? (“There’s no crying in baseball.”) First Wives Club? Not sure this isn’t apples and oranges and you no doubt can cite better or more current examples.

In this case, the often bawdy Netflix theme offers adult entertainment from violence and drug abuse to nudity and sex scenes. If that’s not offensive, then behind the restricted content comes the beautiful story of a powerful friendship that manages to survive jealousy, anger, triumphs, and betrayals. Life is a struggle, but the friendship and connection prevails.

Really, if you haven’t discovered this one yet, I recommend the series. Engaging, well-developed and portrayed characters. So far, a “feel good” series, although I understand that changes. 5 stars

Audiobook (Blurb)

The number one New York Times best-selling author returns to the characters in Firefly Lane in her next blockbuster novel, Fly Away. Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than 30 years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. 

But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on…Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate – to be there for Kate’s children – but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people. Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her…until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world. 

Dorothy Hart – the woman who once called herself Cloud – is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs. 

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another – and maybe a miracle – to transform their lives. 

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. 

Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day. Includes a Reading Group Guide Read by Kristin Hannah  

My Thoughts

[Spoiler alert—Book 2 revelations]

Well, damn, try as I might, could NOT get the first book, Firefly Lane, which would have thoroughly supplied the background that Fly Away appears lacking. After a friendship spanning thirty years, Kate dies.

Fly Away by Kristen HannahThere has been a rift between the two, but Tully drops her very successful daytime TV show to spend the rest of the time she and Kate have left together. Tully promises Kate she will be there for her children. The problem, of course, is that Tully has devoted her life to attaining stardom on television. She never marries, doesn’t have children. Has no clue how to play devoted aunt to Kate’s twin boys and sixteen year old Marah.

What follows is a sub-plot involving Marah and her attempt to turn on, tune in, drop out. And there is an intense story in which the reader (or listener) gets the full low down on Dorothy Hart (Cloud—Tully’s flower child mother). Her story is heart-breaking and familiar to many of the older generation.

And finally, Tully’s failed attempt at reconciliation with her world, the cost and the redemption and ultimately a conclusion that somewhat settles the heart.

The narrative is long-toothed on retrospection, coulda, woulda, shouldas. A review of the highlights of the thirty years—the good and the bad. The romances, their families. Overall, I felt it rather morose, sad, not an audiobook to read with depression or happy for that matter—it’ll bring yah down. (And here again, I did not care for the narrator). Really, a rather unfortunate wrap-up for what is otherwise a celebration of a relationship few are privileged to experience. 2 stars

Overall Impression

Sometimes I discover I prefer the (audio)book, sometimes it’s the Netflix version. The Netflix version is usually a compromise of adult material, softened somewhat, or not. Character events are switched, or a major plot-twisting event occurs—not as originally written but what works best for the TV version. In this particular instance, the character that stuck out for me the most from the book that Netflix nailed is Dorothy (Cloud), who eventually looks at least ten years older than her real age. The story of Tully is tragic, really, and although obvious in the Netflix version, concentrates on the stark reality of her childhood and the life-long battle that forges in the Tully character.

I’m all over Netflix Firefly Lane Season 1, but if Season 2 follows Fly Away, I’m out.  

Book Details

Fly Away: Book 2 of the Firefly Lane series
Genre: Family Life Fiction, Friendship Fiction, Women’s Sagas
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B000V77082
Listening Length: 16 hrs 4 mins
Narrator:  Susan Ericksen
Audible Release: April 23, 2013
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Fly Away Book 2 [Amazon]

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Kristin Hannah - authorThe Author: Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. It was also named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week. In 2018, The Great Alone became an instant New York Times #1 bestseller and was named the Best Historical Novel of the Year by Goodreads.

The Four Winds was published in February of 2021 and immediately hit #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Indie bookstore’s bestseller lists. Additionally, it was selected as a book club pick by the both Today Show and The Book Of the Month club.

The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with Dakota and Elle Fanning set to star. Tri Star has also optioned The Great Alone and it is in development. Firefly Lane, her novel about two best friends, was the #1 Netflix show around the world, in the week it came out. The popular tv show stars Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke and Season Two is currently being filmed.

http://www.kristinhannah.com

©V Williams V Williams

This Much Huxley Knows: A Story of Innocence, Misunderstandings and Acceptance by Gail Aldwin – #BookReview – Friendship Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

This Much Huxley Knows by Gail AldwinI’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. And Breaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.

Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?

Funny and compassionate, this contemporary novel for adults explores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust. 

His Review:

Huxley is a very precocious young boy. His forté is understanding words by re-spelling them in his head. The fun in the story is his occasional misunderstanding of the meaning and the resultant chaos resulting from this error. His vocabulary is very advanced for his age group. However, in school he is often corrected by his teacher who recognizes his attempted faux pas, and he wonders why his jokes are curtailed.

This Much Huxley Knows by Gail AldwinHe has difficulty making friends. One of his friends is Leonard, a senior invalid in a wheelchair. Leonard understands his jokes and is often good for a small piece of chocolate. The adults in the school community take umbrage to his hanging around the school yard and giving candy to the children. Huxley cannot understand why he is restricted from seeing and visiting with Leonard.

The innocence of youth runs headlong into the wisdom of parents. He is told not to talk to Leonard or go near him. He is confounded by this directive and is hurt by his fathers’ lack of understanding about his friend. Many of the other parents, especially the fathers, take it upon themselves to correct the situation.

The story is replete with suspicion and innuendo. The ending is satisfied when the situation with Leonard is fully understood. Huxley is asked to curtail his visits with Leonard but still has the ability for an occasional visit. The author visits the situation from both the innocence of youth and the suspicion of the parents involved.

CE WilliamsThe manipulation of words by this young wordsmith make the reading fun and amusing. I highly recommend it. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: British Contemporary Literature, Friendship Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ASIN: B0944Q8SGV
Print Length: 217 pages
Publication Date: July 8, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: This Much Huxley Knows [Amazon]
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Gail Aldwin - authorThe Author: Gail Aldwin is a British writer who has lived and worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and Spain. As well as novels, short fiction and poetry, Gail co-writes short plays and comedy sketches with 3-She, a collaborative group of three women writers. Their shows have been staged at theatres and arts centres in South West England. Follow Gail on social media – she loves to interact with readers and writers.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gailaldwin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gailaldwinwriter/
Blog: https://gailaldwin.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney – #Audiobook Review – #literaryfiction – #readingirelandmonth21

Normal People by Sally Rooney

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation – awkward but electrifying – something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship, and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t. 

My Review:

OMG, I HOPE that Marianne and Connell are NOT “normal” people.

The storyline begins while they are still in school in a small town in West Ireland. And then for the next four years, the plot revolves around each with their own POV, going to college in Dublin, meeting other people, discovering new talents or the lack thereof, and maturing, except in their relationship.

Normal People by Sally RooneyBoth knew they had a strong connection early on. But Connell hails from the other side of the tracks. He strongly feels his inferior place in her life—she is a daughter from a wealthy, entitled family. While he is the product of a poor mother who loves and supports him, her family is detached, dysfunctional. They each carry their upbringing on their shoulders. It weighs on them. But each time their lives cross, that mutual powerful attraction between them begins where it left off.

Then they go their separate ways again, each to new lovers or experiences, unsatisfying, incomplete, and, what do you know? Their lives cross again—and again—and still they deny the full disclosure of their feelings toward each other.

The plot explores the sharp divide between classes, bullying, dysfunctional families, self-esteem, and the baggage of childhood—left open ended.

Obvious from the beginning they love each other.

So GET OVER IT!

As the reader progresses through each meet up and hopes they’ll finally have that last, final, heart-to-heart going between them, the time wasted comes ever more sharply into focus.

Two intelligent adults. And the clock is ticking. Each get-together lacking that all too important communication. Tomorrow is not promised.

It’s downright depressing.

I didn’t realize I was in the conclusion until the whole story ended. There was no plot really, not necessary to tie anything up, it just ended. No change, no closure—there never was going to be one. What was the point? It’s one of those books that just left me—meh.

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B07PC2K62C
Listening Length: 7 hrs 34 mins
Narrator: Aoife McMahon
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Normal People [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three Stars three stars

Sally Rooney - authorThe Author: SALLY ROONEY was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta and The London Review of Books. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she is the author of Conversations with Friends and the editor of the Irish literary journal The Stinging Fly.

Aoife McMahan - narratorThe Narrator: Aoife McMahon was born in 1973 in Clare, Ireland. She is known for her work on Random Passage (2002), Broken (2017) and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013).

©2021 V Williams

In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn – a #BookReview – #souls

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars

Book Blurb:

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

In An Instant by Suzanne RedfearnA deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.

Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.

My Review:

Right from the git-go, you know this trip to Big Bear will not go well. It says so in the blurb.  As Finn Miller turns to gaze at her family, Mo her best friend, sister Choe’s boyfriend Vance, the neighbors and their daughter Natalie, and her brother’s dog Bingo, she realizes she is viewing the scene disconnected. And the scene, and her body, is not pretty.

In an Instant by Suzanne RedfearnThey had gotten to the cabin just fine with only a hint of snow, but had promised Oz, her brother, pancakes for dinner at their favorite resort restaurant and took off again, stopping to pick up a young man at his disabled auto. The snowstorm was becoming dangerous and before they could make the restaurant, circumstances slammed them into a guardrail and over the side of the mountain. It was to have been a long weekend of skiing and snowboarding and instead found them all struggling to survive.

Finn is trapped by the threads of life from everyone aboard, the emotional connection not as quickly severed as her death. Everything Finn has always thought about her family members, the neighbors–best friends of her parents for a long time–begins to twist what her sixteen years had made her believe. Finn can observe, hear, and even discern some of their thoughts and feelings, watching the scene unfold before her eyes as they move to secure her father then go about snugging in the camper van as best they can against the elements of the blizzard. Then they begin to differ on the next step.

Each character handles the trauma differently, Natalie totally detached, Finn’s mother surprisingly rising to the challenge along with Kyle, Mo resourceful. Who made selfless decisions and who abandoned any pretense of sharing or caring for more than their own? Extreme circumstances. Each of the characters are so well-developed you either rooted or loathed them, disbelieving the circumstances surrounding the neurologically handicapped thirteen-year-old Oz could happen. An argument in and of itself.

Underlying the main plot, that of survival under severely shocking conditions and different planes of injury, a sub-plot involving cross characters leads the well-paced storyline through rescue, examining how the characters handle the lingering post-trauma issues. Each character seeing the story through their own eyes, trying to come to an understanding, each playing a blame game. Guilt, loss, regrets. No do-overs.

How would you conduct yourself in similar circumstances? You can’t know until it happens and pray it never does. I’ve been exposed to extreme temps in the mid-west and I can tell you even plunging fingers into water to warm them, heralds some major pain. Freezing to death isn’t painless. Reading the Author’s Note at the end of the book tells her own story of the similar circumstances that formed the idea for her book. The responsibility of your own child can be crushing much less taking on the responsibility of another’s child.

After reading the review for In An Instant on Shalini’s Books & Reviews, I went scrambling to see if I could still get it on NetGalley. I could and did! (Shalini knows a winner when she reads it.) This one totally blew me away–glued and flipping the pages, reaching for tissues, alternately gasping and raging at small tragedies and shouting hoorahs at tiny victories. I am MOST grateful to have been provided this ARC by the publisher in exchange for a review. Totally recommending this heart-stopping narrative of the enduring human spirit and the experiences that shape each individual.

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Women’s Friendship Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

  • ISBN-10:1542006589
  • ISBN-13:978-1542006583
  • ASIN: B07NVD1276

Print Length: 326 pages
Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Source: BookBlogger referral, Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: In An Instant (Amazon)

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Rosepoint recommended

Suzanne Redfearn - authorThe Author: Suzanne is the bestselling author of three novels: In an Instant, No Ordinary Life, and Hush Little Baby.

Born and raised on the east coast, Suzanne moved to California when she was fifteen. She currently lives in Laguna Beach with her husband where they own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza & Beer. In addition to being an author, Suzanne is an architect specializing in residential and commercial design.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

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