Tag Archives: Contemporary Women

Review & Giveaway: More Than You Know

More Than You Know

More Than You Know
By Nan Rossiter
(Kensington, Paperback, 9780758283894, April 30, 2013, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

A wonderful, heartwarming tale about family, faith and the memories that bind us.

The Rest of It:

This is a feel-good book. The kind that warms you from the inside out and puts a smile on your face. I know what you are thinking, “But Ti, you always read such heavy books!” Yes, I know! I do prefer a meaty chunkster to most mainstream fiction but I also like to feel good too and Nan Rossiter has perfected the art of writing books that fall into the feel-good category and her latest is no exception.

Mia Graham’s world changes in an instant when the sudden death of her husband is immediately followed by the delivery of her beautiful baby girl. Beryl and her older sisters Isak and Rumer, grow-up under Mia’s watchful gaze. She is always there for them, helping  them through the challenges of life and when the girls are grown and Mia is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s the girls, especially Beryl who come to her aid. But after a long battle, Mia is taken from them and they are forced to return to their childhood home to go through her belongings and lay her to rest. While going through her things they discover her diary and realize that their mother had been keeping a secret from them for years. Curious, they dive into her story.

There is a lot of “wonderful” in this novel. When the girls gather at their childhood home in New Hampshire, it’s as if they’ve stepped back in time. Suddenly, they are young girls again and remembering all the special little things that their mom did for them. Simple things like making them cinnamon toast and a good cup of tea. The work of preparing the house for sale is bittersweet but its weight is made lighter by the casual conversations and the meals they share together as a family. Their interactions with close friends and the rest of the town, are enough to sustain them. And let me tell you, if you are a foodie, you will want some comfort food on hand as the food talk really got to me at times! Rossiter must have known this because she included recipes of some of the dishes mentioned in the book.

Of course, I made the one dish that was not included in the back of the book! A dip using cream cheese, chili, green chiles and cheese and let me tell you, my family gobbled it up.

More Than You Know Hot Dip

As far as the story goes, I loved the way Rossiter handled the diary aspect. Shared in sections and read by the girls, it took on a very personal tone and when all was said and done, I really felt as if I got to know Mia quite well which made her passing all the more real.

If you’ve not read Rossiter’s work before, I should tell you that she is a dog lover from way back. Her books always include a canine companion which I find especially nice. And this particular book has some surprises in it. Readers of her other books will notice right away what they are. I enjoyed discovering them on my own so I won’t mention any more about them here.

Overall, a very touching and enjoyable read. I can see LOTS of you reading this one over the summer while sipping a tall glass of iced tea. Gosh, I adore Rossiter’s books.

And a little surprise for you, the author has provided a copy for me to giveaway! If you’d like a chance to win a copy, check out the details below.

Source: Review and giveaway copy provided by the author. Thank you!
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

This giveaway is for one copy of More Than You Know and is open to the US and Canada. A winner will be chosen randomly by me. The book will come directly from the author. Only one entry per person.  Giveaway closes on May 17, 2013 (pacific). I will contact the winner for his/her mailing address.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

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Review: Blackberry Winter

Blackberry Winter

Blackberry Winter
By Sarah Jio
(Plume, Paperback, 9780452298385, September 2012, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

Short, sweet story with a little bit of mystery thrown in.

The Rest of It:

Claire Aldridge has suffered a terrible loss and although a year has passed, she is struggling to accept what cannot be changed, and in the process, realizes that her marriage to Ethan might very well be over. As she delves into her work as a newspaper reporter, mostly to numb herself against the pain, she stumbles across a story from the 1930’s. A story about  a young mother by the name of Vera Ray, and her missing three-year-old son, Daniel who disappeared during a blackberry winter. Suspicious over why he was never found, Claire digs deeper, hoping for a story but also curious over what really happened to the little boy. While searching clues, she comes across some similarities to her own life that she finds impossible to ignore.

Out of the three Jio books I’ve read thus far, this was probably the most predictable story of the three. It was too sweet for me in places and the dialogue seemed a tad artificial, but after just a few chapters I was reeled in. Jio’s ability to take a reader back and forth through time is effortless. So much so, that you tend to overlook the fact that there are far too many coincidences in the story to be plausible.

As for the characters, Claire drove me batty. Her insecurities get the best of her and seeing her vacillate between devoted wife and “not so devoted wife” became tiring after a while. I wanted to know more about Ethan, her husband and the mysterious Vera Ray. Whenever a story is interwoven with a story from the past, I am almost always more interested in the story from the past. That was the case here.

Jio’s knack for creating stories that transcend time is what makes her so popular with her readers. However, with this being the third book following the same format, I’d like to see her go in a different direction for her next book. I keep coming back because no matter how “pat” an ending may seem or how many coincidences there may be, I still find myself getting swept up in the story, and you can’t say that with too many books these days.

Overall, a quick read to lose yourself in while the kids run amok around you.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.