Safe Within (June 12, 2012)
How often does an adult book come along that is set in a tree house? Safe Within begins with the backdrop of this storybook setting, but this tree house is no child’s fort – it is a full-sized home, populated with a family that is facing some of life’s most realistic struggles. Set in fictional Lowfield, North Carolina, the narrative follows the story of two strong-willed women confronted with unexpected circumstances. Elaine grew up in the tree house cabin, high above the shores of a beautiful lake. Looking up at her, Carson saw a figure out of a fairytale. Then he fell in love. Thirty years and one son later, Carson and Elaine return to the cabin, with Mick, their now 24-year-old son, not far behind. It is Carson’s favorite place, and because he has only weeks-maybe days – to live, this is where he wants to be. But their time by the lake is anything but peaceful for Carson and Elaine. Carson’s headstrong mother, Greta, who has long been estranged from Elaine, sets loose a neighbor’s herd of alpacas because of a land dispute. With Carson too weak to retrieve his mother from police custody, Elaine is drawn into the storm of Greta’s life – a situation that is sure to continue once Carson is gone. Once Elaine finds herself a widow, she wishes to move away from the past, but another crisis with Greta renders this desire impossible. In addition, Mick is determined to find out the truth about his parents and the grandmother he has never known.
An intense exploration of the inevitability of family, Safe Within demonstrates that the hardest bonds to forge can be the most necessary.
Leaving Before It’s Over
When Roy Vines married his wife, Rosalind, he traded his family and his inheritance for love—a painful choice that has blessed them with years of joy nestled in rural North Carolina with their beautiful daughters, sixteen-year-old Lola and little Janie Ray. But their happiness is threatened when Rosalind suddenly falls ill. Desperate to get her the help she needs, Roy does the one thing he swore he’d never do—turn to his heartless and bitter identical twin brother, Mont, for help.The price is steep—and includes opening their home to a teenage boy who believes Roy is the father who abandoned him. As bad blood threatens to destroy her family, Rosalind must make a difficult choice. Should she walk away—like Roy once did—for love, or try to mend wounds that may never be healed? And will the pain of choosing be more than her heart can bear?
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The Last Summer of Her Other Life
From Jean Reynolds Page—the critically acclaimed author of The Space Between Before and After and one of the most compelling voices in contemporary women’s fiction—comes a dazzling novel of loss and redemption, of relationships that damage and those that heal. Thirty-nine and pregnant by a man she’s decided to leave behind in California, Jules’ life is changing. Always the protected daughter, she must now relinquish that role and prepare to be a mother herself. But her efforts are upstaged by shocking allegations from a local teen in her North Carolina hometown. The boy has accused her of what the police are calling “inappropriate sexual contact.” Three men rally in her defense: Lincoln, her brother, who flies in from New York to help her; Sam, her high school boyfriend, who after so many years still offers unconditional support; and Walt, the uncle of the teen, who charms Jules with his intelligence and unanticipated kindness. Her search for the truth about the troubled teenager becomes, for Jules, a first step toward discovering the woman she wishes to be. But with so many wrong choices behind her, how can she trust herself with the future of her unborn child?
The Space Between Before and After
Holli Templeton is afraid that something terrible will happen in her family. From her home outside Manhattan, she watches news accounts of the Space Shuttle Columbia as it breaks apart over her native Texas, and she worries that some devastating event in her own life will follow. Twice before, moments of suffering in her family have run strangely parallel with the large moments of men in space. Her young mother died on the day Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the moon. An unborn child was lost to her on the day the shuttle Challenger exploded.
Three months after losing her young husband, Ben, Gina, who lost her younger sister at age 12, is only going through the motions. But then Ben’s ex-wife, Reese, shows up with her seven-year-old daughter, Angel. Reese isn’t sure if Ben is Angel’s father, and the child unnerves Gina, whose only argument with Ben was over children. And Reese stirs up feelings of jealousy in Gina. In spite of her emotional discomfort, Gina, who is living on Ben’s sailboat in a Charlotte marina, eventually realizes that the intrusion of these two people is bringing her back to the world of the living, and piercing the fog surrounding her. A touching novel about loss and the courage necessary to move beyond the past, Page’s tale is filled with genuine and sympathetic characters that make the reader feel vested in the outcome of the story. –Booklist
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A Blessed Event
Best friends since childhood, Joanne and Darla are now embroiled in a predicament worthy of Solomon’s wisdom. Perennial bad girl Joanne has agreed to carry a baby for infertile homebody Darla. The baby’s father is Darla’s husband, Cal. After a perplexing visit by Joanne, Darla wonders about everyone’s role in these unorthodox circumstances, especially after Joanne, four months pregnant, drives her car into Darla’s bedroom. The accident leaves Joanne severely brain damaged and in a coma; however, the baby survives. Now Darla must battle Joanne’s estranged parents, first for Joanne’s life, then for custody of the baby. As Cal, mysteriously, begins to distance himself from Darla and the tangled situation, Darla looks for answers to Joanne’s inexplicable actions of that fateful night. Her search leads her to an old boyfriend whom Joanne had been confiding in and other family secrets Joanne had been hiding from Darla for their entire lives. Tight plotting, sympathetic characters, and intriguing moral issues will make this book a good choice for reading groups.
“Page’s debut treats readers to a juicy read with a spiritual side, set in smalltown Texas. Childhood best friends Joanne Timbro and Darla Stevens have found an unusual solution to Darla’s fertility.” –Booklist
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