Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Talk - Book Pregnant Friday!

I've mentioned before that I'm a member of an excellent group of debut writers. Book Pregnant is a cross genre group that covers everything from intense autobiography, heart-wrenching literary fiction, historical fiction and well... me. I've already talked about three of my fellow members in previous book talks, so backtrack a little if you're interested in historical fiction by checking out Nancy Bilyeau's THE CROWN, Sophie Perinot's THE SISTER QUEENS, and Anne Clinard-Barnhill's AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN.

Today I'm going to give you a quick rundown of three more Book Pregnant books, all three well worth your time!

THE LOST SAINTS OF TENNESSEE Amy Franklin-Willis does a fantastic job delivering the story of the Cooper family over a period of many years, following the main character - Ezekiel - through different parts of his life that illuminate each other without being in chronological order. His mother's rejection of his twin brother once it was clear Carter had suffered brain damage from a high fever as an infant, how much it pained Zeke to leave his brother and closest friend behind mentally as they matured, and socially as he went on to marry and have children.

The relationships between Zeke, his mother and sisters, his wife at all stages of their relationship, and his alienated teen daughters is harrowing in it's honesty, as the entire book is delivered in tight first-person.

THE UNDERSIDE OF JOY by Sere Prince Halverson I loved The Underside of Joy for so many reasons - do you ever truly know someone, no matter how much you love them? Can you find your only purpose through giving to others? How much can one woman bend before she breaks?

When childless Ella Beane ends up in northern California, both literally and figuratively lost, she has no idea that offering to help a single dad who has his hands full locking up his grocery store while dealing with an infant and a toddler will change the course of her life. His sudden death only a few short years later leaves her as a single parent of children not her own, yet they are her only anchor in her grief. When the long-absent biological mother shows up at the funeral, demanding to see her children and insisting she's tried to be a presence in their lives all along, Ella faces the real possibility of losing what she had finally gained - a family.

The complex relationships between the deceased husband and grieving wife who discovers he may not have been the perfect man she imagined, the glamorous ex who may not be the evil witch she was painted to be, and the children who are torn between everyone they have left, is quite amazing.

THE RULES OF INHERITANCE Claire Bidwell Smith has written a heartbreakingly honest and gritty memoir that takes a hard look at her own choices viewed through the lens of grief. Claire's tale of how she coped with the death of both her parents from cancer while she was only in her twenties is eloquently written, yet sparsely told with a deft touch. Highly recommended, amazing writing, an honest voice.

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