Friday, January 18, 2013

Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson

First of all, will you indulge me for a moment?  I admit shamelessly, that I am a cover snob.  I really appreciate it when a book is published with a cover that goes along with the actual novel. Sometimes I'll be reading along and flip to the cover and be all, "wha??" But in this case, the mother & son on the cover are pictured EXACTLY as described in the book and I SOO appreciated that. 

K, moving on.

I loved this book.  In fact, I pretty much devoured it.  It was a bit tough keeping straight who the narrator was at the time, because there was no particular pattern of who was going to narrate the next chapter.  Sometimes it would be 1/2 page or page in before I realized who was now talking and then I had to go back and re-read that page so I could follow along. So yeah, that was a little frustrating - but overall, I really enjoyed the storyline and dialogue.  But the ending?  COME ON! You're killing me Ms. Koomson! I won't spoil it, cause I never like to, but it was a tad bit rough on me.  PLEASE tell me there's a sequel somewhere or that one is being written as we speak!  I'll for sure be checking out more novels by Ms. Koomson.

You can pick up your copy here. ;-)

Description: From the author of the internationally bestselling novels My Best Friend’s Girl and Marshmallows for Breakfast comes an incredibly moving, powerfully written new novel about motherhood, love, loss, and new beginnings.

Nova will do anything for her closest friend, Mal, whom she has known since childhood. So when Mal and his wife, Stephanie, ask Nova to be a surrogate mother, she agrees—despite her reservations about what it might mean for their friendship. Then Nova’s fears are realized. Halfway through the pregnancy, Stephanie finds a text from her husband to Nova that reads “Goodnight, beautiful.” Already suspicious of their deep connection, Stephanie demands that Mal cut all ties to Nova and their unborn baby, leaving Nova to raise the child alone.

Eight years later, Nova is anxiously waiting for her son, Leo, to wake up from a coma, while childless Stephanie is desperately trying to save her failing marriage. Despite her anger and hurt, Nova wants Mal to have the chance to know his son before it’s too late. Will it take a tragedy to remind them all how much they mean to one another?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saturday Night Widows by Becky Aikman

I got nothing but mad respect for the six women who shared a piece of their lives with us in Saturday Night Widows.  Without having ever been through something as tragic as these women have, this book allowed me the opportunity to be a fly on the wall and observe the struggle and transformation from deep sorrow to indescribable joy.  And I also appreciated the frankness with which they shared how friends to those who are grieving, can best support them - what to say and what not to say. Trust me, I was taking notes. 

One of my closest friends growing up lost her dad to suicide in our early twenties and I wish I had read this book back then, just so I had a better idea of how to respond or what to say or understand a tiny piece of how she was feeling.  As tragic as it is to lose someone so unbelievably intertwined in your life, I finished this book encouraged and hopeful that through it all, time can heal and you can make a choice to grow and heal, ESPECIALLY with the help of friendships.

The first thing I did do upon finishing Saturday Night Widows, was look up Becky Aikman's site to see if she had posted any pictures of these fabulous women - and she did!  Click here for pictures!

Saturday Night Widows was graciously given to me as an Advance Reading Copy by Random House Publishing.  Look for it on shelves, January 22nd and pre-order your copy today!

Description: In her forties – a widow, too young, too modern to accept the role – Becky Aikman struggled to make sense of her place in an altered world. In this transcendent and infectiously wise memoir, she explores surprising new discoveries about how people experience grief and transcend loss and, following her own remarriage, forms a group with five other young widows to test these unconventional ideas. Together, these friends summon the humor, resilience, and striving spirit essential for anyone overcoming adversity.

Meet the Saturday Night Widows: ringleader Becky, an unsentimental journalist who lost her husband to cancer; Tara, a polished mother of two, whose husband died in the throes of alcoholism after she filed for divorce; Denise, a widow of just five months, now struggling to get by; Marcia, a hard-driving corporate lawyer; Dawn, an alluring self-made entrepreneur whose husband was killed in a sporting accident, leaving two small children behind; and Lesley, a housewife who returned home one day to find that her husband had committed suicide.

The women meet once a month, and over the course of a year, they strike out on ever more far-flung adventures, learning to live past the worst thing they thought could happen. They share emotional peaks and valleys – dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves – while turning traditional thinking about loss and recovery upside down. Through it all runs the story of Aikman's own journey through grief and her love affair with a man who tempts her to marry again. In a transporting story of what friends can achieve when they hold each other up, Saturday Night Widows is a rare book that will make you laugh, think, and remind yourself that despite the utter unpredictability and occasional tragedy of life, it is also precious, fragile, and often more joyous than we recognize.
Rating: ****

Recommend: Absolutely.