“Great story about a woman trying to find her true passion and desire in life. A long-ago love story also thrown into the mix....I love Karen White's novels!”see full review » see other reviews »
“I really liked some parts of this story and didn't care for others, over-all it was a good book.”Dianne J wrote this review Monday, October 8, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Quite predictable but a good read non the less. Liked her style of writing”anna finlay wrote this review Monday, August 15, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great story about a woman trying to find her true passion and desire in life. A long-ago love story also thrown into the mix....I love Karen White's novels!”victoria k wrote this review Tuesday, August 9, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Good story and well-paced.”Anne W wrote this review Sunday, December 26, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a contemporary story that takes place in a small town in Louisiana. It's largely told in the heroine's POV - Brenna O'Brien. There are portions told in the POV of the man who broke her heart when they were very young, Pierce McGovern.
The first paragraph is totally inviting:
"The brittle, yellowed paper of the sealed envelope felt light and inconsequential in Brenna O'Brien's hand. Her fingers brushed the elegant, faded script on the front, and she marveled at how something so full of possibility could seem so fragile. Closing her eyes, she considered her thirty-three years for a moment, and realized how much her life resembled the unopened letter: unfulfilled possibilities and potential disappointment kept safe inside the heart of a woman who dared not lift the seal."
I was completely drawn in with this paragraph. It promises something special is going on in this story and that the author has the skills needed to pull it off. I'm ready to read.
Brenna O'Brien's character is constructed with a complexity that makes sense to me. She does nothing without a very good reason. So, facing improbable scenes is not likely, because the character would not participate in that type of thing. I believe her problems are real, when she makes a calculated risk I believe that she would do this, when she is disappointed with a situation in her life I can feel how hard it would be for her to overcome it. The character is written beautifully.
"Recalling her date the previous evening, she fingered through a pile of chains, then pulled out her Saint Jude medal and hung it around her neck. After last night, the patron saint of hopeless causes would be her constant companion."
"She waved to people she had known all her life as she drove past the library, Indianola Elementary, and the house she had grown up in and where her eldest sister, Kathleen, now lived with her family.
It was unremarkable in its familiarity, a pleasing frame around the picture of Brenna's life of nothing special. Except for those two brief years after she'd turned sixteen and her world had shimmered with possibility, her life had become as simple and uncomplicated as a slice of white bread."
The hero in the story, Pierce McGovern, is written just as deeply. Although, I could never quite see his face, I could feel his heart. It felt real. His struggles, though largely internal, were strong and compelling.
"As soon as the door shut behind him, Pierce reluctantly allowed a laugh to escape. He didn't want to, but there had always been something about Brenna O'Brien that made his ears tingle in a completely involuntary reaction to her smile. But that had been when he was young and stupid and still believed the best of people - especially women. Cynicism had come early and cheap for him, brought to him on the smooth, trim heels of a younger Brenna O'Brien."
"Because he was an only child, the neighborhood children had been his siblings, their mothers his surrogates in the absence of his own, who had left him and his father when he was eight. He stared at the fat oak tree in the corner of the property, grown taller and wider since he had last seen it, the thick roots pushing through the grass toward the sidewalk. He felt a special affinity with the old tree. They had both grown, shifting their roots to accommodate a new maturity. But seeing the roots meet the unyielding cement of the sidewalk, Pierce wondered if he, too, had found an insurmountable barrier in his life."
All of the supporting characters were carefully crafted. Very well done. They felt like family and good friends should. Their lives felt complex as well, their concerns real, their love real. Even the over-the-top Aunt Dottie who sometimes seemed disconnected from reality was actually more connected in her own way. There was nothing cliché about anyone in the book. Which was profoundly refreshing and attests to the skills of the writer.
I think overall the strength in this story is largely in the wonderful characters. And in the author's gentle writing. There were several times I reread a section only because it was so beautifully written and touching.
The sense of family is strong. The familiarity of the small town becomes as familiar to the reader as to the characters. The routines are as interesting as the twists and turns in the story. The tension is not extreme through most of the story, but it by-passes the mind and touches the soul.
Although the story is contemporary, when it ran through my mind like a movie, which it did with little trouble, it appeared in soft sepia tones like dark sweet honey. I've always associated that color with the cozy glow of lamps in the perfect home.
“I had the whole thing figured out less than half way through. However, I did keep reading so I guess that's something. The main character was just a little too needy and passive/aggressive for my tastes. But again, I did keep reading. ”booklady wrote this review Tuesday, November 30, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Loved it. The same as the other Karen White books, easy to read and it would make a great weekend or holiday read.”Melanie K wrote this review Sunday, October 3, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Every book I read of hers is magic. This one is about lost loves and hope, trying to move on with a broken heart and settling even if it's not what you really want. This book has more of a huge family aspect to it which was enjoyable, and quite funny at times. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a great love story, with a few sprinkles of life lessons thrown in.”Kristine W wrote this review Friday, July 9, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What a beautiful story about taking chances or living with regret. This was such an emotional read! At first I thought it was going to be fluffy chick lit, or have a stale and predictable love story that so often permeates the genre, but this was lovely. I can't wait to share it.”Melissa Kristine N wrote this review Sunday, June 13, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No