When She Flew
By Jennie Shortridge
Penguin Group (USA)
Here’s the blurb from the publisher:
Police officer Jessica Villareal has always played by the book and tried to do the right thing. But now, she finds herself approaching midlife divorced, estranged from her daughter, alone, and unhappy. And she’s wondering if she ever made a right choice in her life.
But then Jess discovers a girl and her father living off the radar in the Oregon woods, avoiding the comforts-and curses-of modern life. Her colleagues on the force are determined to uproot and separate them, but Jess knows the damage of losing those you love. She recognizes her chance to make a difference by doing something she’s never dared. Because even though she’s used to playing by the rules, there are times when they need to be broken…
The Short of It:
When She Flew is a gem of a little book. This story gently unfolds into a beautiful thing.
The Rest of It:
This is one of those stories that flows effortlessly. From the moment I picked it up, I knew it was going to be one of those books. As I was reading about Jessica and her relationship with her own daughter, I was struck with how realistically her life was drawn. The life of a cop, a female cop no less…the need to maintain a game face at all times, the pressure to hold it all together, it all rings true. Women struggle to be everything, to everyone and sometimes fail in the process. Jess isn’t perfect, and we see her flaws but she is an easy character to relate to. I appreciated the fact that Jess was strong, but flawed. It made her more human.
As she deals with Ray and Lindy, the ‘forest people’ trying desperately to make a life of their own on what little they have, we see what happens when oil and water meet. Jess has ideas of what a good parent is and she berates herself daily, over the mistakes she has made with her own daughter. However, when she sees the fierce love that Ray has for Lindy, she begins to realize that there may be more than one way to be a good parent. That providing the basics such as food and shelter is just a part of what being a parent is.
The story is told with alternating points of view, one of which being Lindy’s. Lindy is a delicate bird. At the age of thirteen, she is becoming a young lady and has learned to appreciate all she has. Taken from an abusive mother, her father sheltered her from society, yet raised her to be self-sufficient, to live off the land. She is educated and wiser than her years but she is anything but fragile. Like a bird, she is ready to take flight but possesses a sensibility that most young girls do not possess at this age.
Ray, Lindy’s father, is an Iraq war vet battling post-traumatic stress. He lives on a very small income and creates a sanctuary for Lindy out in the middle of the forest. Shortridge takes great care with Ray. As a reader, you cannot judge Ray. He’s troubled but makes the best decisions he can for the sake of his daughter. I was touched by his tenderness.
While I was reading the book, there was a small part of me expecting a very pat ending. I am happy to report that this is not the case. Shortridge crafts a beautiful story with well-developed characters. When I finished reading it, I felt the weight of it, and lingered in its warmth for a bit.
Check out the rest of Jennie’s tour stops here.
Source: A big ‘thank you’ to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be a part of this tour and for providing me with a review copy of the book.
Jennie Shortridge has provided me with one SIGNED copy to give away to a lucky reader. This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada. There are two ways to enter. Please follow the instructions carefully because I want every entry to count!
1. Comment on this review for ONE entry. Include an email address so that I have a way to contact you.
2. For another entry, Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to include @TiBookChatter. After you Tweet, post a separate comment here telling me you did so. If you do not post a second comment, then it won’t count. Sorry!
This giveaway will run through Sunday, January 3, 2010 (8pm Pacific). The winner will be selected randomly and announced on Wednesday, January 6, 2010. I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address so be sure to include a way for me to contact you.