Posted in Behind the Pages, Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads

Behind the Pages with Angie Kim author of Miracle Creek @AngieKimWriter

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim has been nominated for two Goodreads choice awards in best mystery/thriller and best debut categories. Of course, I am doing my famous happy dance over this news. I loved Miracle Creek and I love Angie Kim!! She has joined us twice for a Q & A. Once when we read Miracle Creek in our Traveling Friends Goodreads group and then again in our Behind the Pages Goodreads group. I have been slacking a bit with my posts due to life and haven’t posted till now. Now I am glad I have because I think this is a perfect time for this post.

Angie shared some insight into Miracle Creek, herself, her writing process and some of the most highlighted quotes provided by Goodreads. Today I am sharing some of the Q & A with you. You can find the full Q & A here

Brenda Let’s start with how all the success of Miracle Creek had felt for?

Angie Thank you so much, Brenda! It’s been more than a little surreal, quite honestly. I think all writers dream that their books will find an audience, and I of course did as well. But it’s one thing to have silly fantasies, and another to actually have so many of them come true. Because I’m new to the writing/book publishing world, I didn’t even know about many of the things that have happened to me, including Book of the Month, Indie Next, Amazon Best of Month, Library Reads, and all the magazines that feature most-anticipated and best-of lists. (SO MANY lists!!!!) It’s been really amazing and now that we’re gearing up for paperback publication next April, I’m finding out even more things, which are so exciting and fun. But the most fun and gratifying have been doing things like this and book clubs, where I get to interact directly with readers. So thank you!!

Brenda You wrote about themes you know from your life experiences. Can you share a bit of them that inspired you to write this story or shaped the characters for you?

Angie The three main threads of my life that I mined for Miracle Creek are my own experience being a Korean immigrant as a preteen, my first career as a trial lawyer, and my experience as a mother to three kids who all had medical issues as babies/toddlers. (All are fine now, thankfully!)

The immigrant thread – I moved from Seoul to the Baltimore area when I was 11 (much like Mary in Miracle Creek), and I went through a really rough period of being bullied in middle school, not speaking English at all and feeling lost as a result, and being separated from my parents (who ran a grocery store in a dangerous part of Baltimore). One of the things I loved most about writing Miracle Creek was that I got to explore this experience from my parents’ experience as well as my own. (The mom, the dad and the daughter of the immigrant family all have their own POV chapters.)

The courtroom scenes were amazingly fun to write for me, almost like going back to the courtroom, except that I got to control what the witnesses said! Being in the courtroom and questioning hostile witnesses was my favorite part of being a lawyer, so I loved revisiting that.

Finally, the parenting experience provided the foundation for Miracle Creek. I actually did HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) in a group chamber just like “Miracle Submarine” in the novel with one of my kids. I wrote about it in an essay for Vogue, which you can read here: tinyurl.com/vogueangiekim

Brenda You have a few different and very interesting characters each with their own heartache dealing with being a parent? What came first for you the plot/story or the characters?

Angie I would say the situation and setting came first – the HBOT world and the fact that there would be a disaster that occurs in that group chamber during an active session. Then, the characters–both the Yoo family (the owners of the HBOT chamber) and the patients and their families who are affected by the tragedy. The plot, the trial, what happened that led up to that moment of the fire, etc. – all that came as I was writing.

Brenda What character or characters did you identify more with?

Angie I probably identify the most with Mary Yoo, because she is me (as a preteen/teenager). The Yoos are the characters who are most directly based on people from my own life (me + my parents). As an adult, I also identify with Elizabeth, the mother who’s on trial, mostly because I, like her, felt guilty at times about having a child who had the least severe medical issues in the group HBOT setting and felt a lot of angst about that.

Brenda What does your writing day look like to you? Do you have a routine?

Angie I used to have a routine, which I hope to get back into once travel and events slow down a bit. After the kids are all off to school, I start with reading my previous day’s writing over coffee, and I just force myself to sit in my writing nook for as may hours as I possibly can. I don’t have any word count goals or time goals because it depends so greatly on what I’m working on. If I’m working on the beginning of a scene or chapter, it might take me days to find the right sentence. If I’m working on continuing a scene, I’m usually in the flow and can crank out the last 1/3 of a scene in one sitting.

Brenda On Goodreads you shared some insight into some for the most popular highlighted Kindle passages. Can you give us here some insight into them?

Highlight My Husband Asked me to Lie

Angie The first version of the beginning of the novel started with “The pounding. It’s the pounding I remember most,” and then went directly into the scene with TJ’s head-banging (in the middle of page 7). This original opening line was a rhythmic homage to Russell Banks’ THE SWEET HEREAFTER, which opens with “A dog—it was a dog I saw for certain. Or thought I saw.” I love the structure of that novel—the exploration of a tragedy, the causation and the aftermath, through four people’s POVs—and I wanted to do something similar with my novel.

But one day, the line “My husband asked me to lie” came to me, and I knew that had to be the beginning of the novel. It seemed so perfect for the themes of the novel, as well as the character arc for Young Yoo, who struggles to find her own voice and to stand up to her husband for much of the novel.

Brenda This is one of my favorite quotes from your book that I really could relate too. I love to see more insight into the quote “But life doesn’t work like that. Tragedies don’t inoculate you against further tragedies, and misfortune doesn’t get sprinkled out in fair proportions; bad things get hurled at you in clumps and batches, unmanageable and messy.”

Angie This is one of my favorites, too! As I commented earlier, I have three boys who all had medical issues. My first child was born deaf in one ear due to a neurological condition, which involved a lot of hospital visits, tests, and therapy when he was a baby/toddler. By the time he was four, when everything seemed resolved with that (and other associated neuropathies ruled out), we found out that he had two OTHER unrelated medical issues—celiac disease and ulcerative colitis—and my other child turned out to have severe anaphylactic allergies. Shortly thereafter, we had two medical scares with our third child for conditions completely unrelated to any of those. (Thankfully, all three kids are fine now.) I was a Philosophy major in college, and this set of events definitely made me think hard about how foolish I’d been to expect that going through one misfortune would mean nothing more would happen to my life, at least for a while.

Highlight “Having a special-needs child didn’t just change you; it transmuted you, transported you to a parallel world with an altered gravitational axis.”

Angie I did HBOT in real life with one of my kids who had ulcerative colitis. The standard treatments weren’t working, and he was in pain, throwing up every day, losing weight, and we became desperate and decided to try this experimental treatment. It was a group HBOT chamber like Miracle Submarine, with kids with chronic illnesses and special needs, including autism and cerebral palsy. It was an intense and intimate environment, with a confessional feel, and we parents talked about our lives and families. No matter what the condition or the severity, the one thing we all agreed on is that when your kids have a chronic condition, it’s not just your actions that change, but the whole world, your outlook, your relationship to society, EVERYTHING changes. One of my favorite things about having written this book is reading reviews and emails from readers who have children with special needs or chronic illnesses—hearing that they appreciate reading sentiments like this because they’ve thought it themselves, and it makes them feel less alone.

Highlight “That was the thing about lies: they demanded commitment. Once you lied, you had to stick to your story”

Angie I think lying is very difficult, precisely because of this. You have to stick to the story you tell, and you have to stick to all the ramifications of that story. My favorite part of being a lawyer (by far!) was being in the courtroom or taking a deposition, questioning a hostile witness and ferreting out and trying to find a weakness in their story. One of the best ways to do that, I found, was to ask them about a logical extension of their main story, something that must be true if they’re telling the truth, and then confronting them with a document or previous statement that contradicts that. The funny thing was, people would often continue to stick to their lie even when faced with incontrovertible evidence that it was a lie. It made them look ridiculous and destroyed their credibility, and yet, they’d persist. I found it fascinating, this commitment to their lies. It often led to a situation in which someone would lie about something little, insignificant, but rather than admit that they lied, shame would take over and they’d end up saying more and more outlandish things in support of that initial little lie, until the lie grew to something big and important. Shame is at the root of so many lies and secrets. I think it may be the most powerful emotion we have, certainly the most long-lasting

Brenda I really connected with the characters in their grief for their children and I loved that you added some of the inner thoughts that in grief we have, the ones that we are too afraid to say for being judged, unliked or feeling bad for thinking them. The thoughts that make us human. “So if a tiny part of us has these thoughts a tiny part of the time, thoughts we shut out as soon as they creep in, is that so bad? Isn’t that just human?”

Angie Thank you so much for highlighting this, which is what Elizabeth says to Teresa in response to what Teresa confesses to her, about her once having a fleeting thought (that she’s extremely ashamed by) of wondering if her life would be better if her daughter had died. This is a passage that Ari Shapiro read on NPR’s All Things Considered and discussed with me. I love that so much because it’s such a pivotal moment that’s at the heart of this novel for me. I think that there’s a Myth of the Good Mother, which is that mothers are and should be saintly. Elle Magazine said that Miracle Creek “tears the ‘Good Mother’ myth apart,” and I hope that that’s true. I think all humans have fleeting, shameful thoughts, but I think mothers who admit openly to having such thoughts are demonized. Being a mother is hard. It’s hard with any child, special needs and chronic illnesses or not. We should be able to be open and honest with each other about it, and not have it be so taboo. I’m not saying that it’s all hard and bad—not at all! There’s intense love and so much joy, but it can be awful sometimes, and we should be able to talk about that and process it with each other, together.

Brenda Can you tell us what your are working on?

Angie I’m working on my next novel (or trying to, anyway!). It’s about a 10-yr old boy who’s nonverbal (with autism) who goes on a walk at the beginning of the novel with his father, who’s his primary caregiver. But only the boy returns home. And because he’s nonverbal, he can’t tell us what happened to the father. His older siblings (17-18 yr old fraternal twins, one boy, one girl) become obsessed with working with him with assistive communication technologies and therapies to get him to communicate

What Angie had to say about us “I know this is an active group filled with passionate readers, and I loved getting a chance to think through and answer such thoughtful, insightful questions. Thank you so much for reading Miracle Creek and for inviting me to take part in this amazing discussion group!”

For more highlights on Goodreads can be found here

Posted in The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads, Traveling Sisters Reads

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger @WmKentKrueger @SimonSchusterCA @AtriaBooks

This Tender Land was our monthly group read for October in our Traveling Friends Goodreads group. This mesmerizing and absorbing read makes for such a great group read. There is so much to think about and talk about. We all lost our hearts to these characters and loved this well thought out story!

This Tender Land swept me away on a thought-provoking adventure along the river with the children here in the story and I lost my heart to them as they searched for their place in the world. I was captivated by the children and their personal journey and adventures. They encounter challenges, threats and kindness from strangers along the way. I loved how with each turn or twist of the river, they learned something about themselves, each other, people and the world around them. In turn, I learned something about myself or saw something different in the world around me.

William Kent Krueger offers up his heart here is this remarkable affecting beautiful story full of hope and possibilities not only for these endearing characters but for us as well.

“In asking you to read This Tender Land, I am, in a way, offering you my heart.”

There is some tension here with the danger lurking in every turn. I found myself rooting, fearing for the children and yes, shouting at them at times. I wanted to protect them and was silently teaching them about the ways of the world in my mind but it was them that taught me something. I highly recommend reading this one and as Odie said “Open yourself to every possibility for there is nothing your heart can imagine that is not so”

I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley.

Posted in Behind the Pages, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads

Behind the Pages Q & A With Kim Michele Richardson author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek @KYBookWoman #behindthepagesgroup

Kim Michele Richardson spend an insightful hour with us answering our questions in the Behind the Pages Goodreads group. We learned so much more about this story and after our discussion we appreciated and love THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK even more.

Brenda Welcome, Kim Michele! Thank you so much for joining us. I have not heard of “blue-skinned people” or the Pack Horse Project before reading your story. I love when I read about something I haven’t. Your story was such an eye-opening.

What inspired you to write about both?

Kim Michele Hi, Brenda! For 80 years these brave, heroic Kentucky packhorse librarians were ignored and only given a nod in a couple of amazing children’s books—the women’s historic legacy, but a small footnote in history. Their courage and dedication for spreading literacy to the poorest pocket of the United States—the hills of eastern Kentucky and during its most violent era, deserved more in literary history. I felt it would be a privilege to tell their story. And when I learned of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky who suffered from congenital Methemoglobinemia, I was determined to give them a voice they’d long been denied.

There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t feel a tremendous honor for the opportunity to finally introduce these fierce, female packhorse librarians, and the blue people from my home state of Kentucky.

Brenda What research did you do?

Kim Michele I spent 5 years on this book with many 12-16 hour days.
Thousands of hours went into exploring everything from fauna to flora to folklore to food, and longtime traditions indigenous to Appalachia. I’m also able to live in that landscape and spend time with native Appalachians who have taught me the lyrics and language of their people and ancestors. Other research took me to coal-mining towns and their history, visiting doctors, speaking with a hematologist to learn about congenital Methemoglobinemia, and exploring fire tower look-outs and their history. There was the fun and interesting research on mules.

And last, during this remarkable and sometimes crazy and dangerous journey of living full time for a year in Appalachia for research and writing, I clumsily fell off a mountain. Alas, I can’t claim a cool story like a ‘bear or snake chased me’. I was simply toting a stack of Pyrex dishes down crooked mountain steps for an elderly mountain woman when I stumbled. The Pyrex flew out of my hands and went bouncing off concrete. I received seven breaks to my arm, but nary a nick or scratch on any of the Pyrex.

A week later, my husband caught Lyme’s disease, which forced us back home to our Kentucky city to seek medical care.

Norma Hi, Kim Michele! Thank you so much for joining us! I am a reader that chooses my books by covers and how intrigued I am by them. The cover design definitely intrigued me and it is one that I knew that I had to read. Did you have a vision of what you wanted the cover to look like? Are you happy with the finished product? Would you mind sharing with us a little insight into how the cover came about.

P.S. – Looks like there are a few different versions of covers out there. I bought my copy in the States and was published by Sourcebooks Landmark.

Kim Michele Hi, Norma, thanks for the question. There are several versions, one for foreign which is Harper Collins Canada, and the U.S. version as well as the ARC.

Publishers create and control covers, and although they will often ask for the author’s input, the publisher has the final decision. This is due to the marketing and art teams that are deemed professional and more skilled than the writer.

On this book we had several designs. Originally, the art team created one of the covers with a vivid blue filter. But sometimes a buyer like Barnes & Noble will come in and ask for changes. In this case, B & N wanted the blue filter removed. After much discussion and input from many, the publisher ended up with this cover.

The design was more of a literal metaphor, both beautiful and sad—the whole concept of being smeared because of color. Sort of like how the gaze of Troublesome’s townsfolk reduces Cussy Mary to a color. . . The U.S. publisher as well as Harper Collins Canada adopted this metaphor for their covers.

DeAnn I really loved this book! I found it interesting that few men were part of the Pack Horse Project. Were you more drawn to this because so many women were involved?

Kim Michele Good evening, DeAnn, and thanks for your question.

The project alone was a fascinating, unknown part of history, but having it mostly women-driven, made it more unique. It showed fierce, courageous women in a unforgiving landscape, accomplishing what many never could, and battling everything from inclement weather, mistrust, treacherous landscapes and extreme poverty, and again, doing it all in Kentucky’s most violent era—the bloody coal mine wars.

Also, women who defy the odds, achieve great measures, both in the past and present, should be recognized as more than a blip in history, and should be lifted up and shown for the true heroes they are.

Brenda My heart went out to the people in your story and I felt the power of words with each. I loved the positive effects the Pack Horse Project had to the people in times of heartbreak. What inspired or motivated you to write about the impact that the books had on the people in your story?

Kim Michele Great question! As a foster child, I remember going to my first library one lonely summer and checking out a book. The librarian sized me up and then quietly said, “Only one? You look smarter than a one-book read, and I bet we can find you more than just one.” She reached under her counter, snapped open a folded, brown paper sack, handed it to me, and then marched me over to shelves filled with glorious books. I was shocked that I could even get more than one book, much less a bag full of precious books, and I was moved by her compassion, kindness, and wisdom.

Librarians are lifelines for so many, giving us powerful resources to help us become empowered.

Mary Beth How did you select the names of your characters? I loved Cully!

Kim Michele Thank you for the question. On selecting names, I chose Cussy because I wanted to have her family come from the tiny village in Cussy, France. Generally, I research old Kentucky social security indexes, and birth rolls and death indexes of my state for names. A few times I’ve used my ancestors, like Mudas (Muddy) Summers in LIAR’S BENCH which was indeed plucked from my great-grandparents.

Brenda Do you have any feel strong emotions for your characters? Is there one that stands out more for you?

Kim Michele Yes, I grew up under the grinding heels of poverty, spending my first decade in a rural Kentucky orphanage and then on to foster care, and beyond, to finding myself homeless at age fourteen. So I can relate to marginalized people, and have much empathy for Cussy and her family, anyone who faces prejudices and hardships. It’s easy to feel pain deeply, particularly if you’ve gone through hardships in your own life.

They are all so dear: Young, innocent Angeline, fire-tower lookout RC, ol’ weak-eyed Loretta— there’s too many to choose just one. We have Junia, Cussy Mary’s protector.

It was important for the packhorse librarians to have trusted mounts. So I gave Cussy a mule since they are stronger and can outlive horses and donkeys. When you think of a mule you think of it being stubborn. But not so, mules are wise and won’t do anything to bring harm to themselves. They are the greatest preservationists. Surprisingly, I’m finding so many are endeared to that ol’ feisty mule, and I receive many sweet and funny letters about her.

Brenda Is there anything you would like readers to get out of your story?

Kim Michele The novel won’t change the world, but if I’ve dropped seeds of courage, empathy and kindness into this sometimes tumultuous and charged world as we know it today, that’s all I could ever hope. Another is that poverty and marginalization are not so much economics or politics or societal issues as much as human issues which are best grappled with by reaching deep into the lives of those suffering them.

What Kim Michele had to say about us The Traveling Sisters group was such a delight—these amazing women are the smart, fierce readers I love to write for

For more Q & A with Kim Michele Richardson and other author Q & A, you can find the group here

Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads, Traveling Sisters Reads

The Whisper Man by Alex North @CeladonBooks @alexnorth @about_thethrill

Hot supreme diggity dang! We are busting out a groove here and boogieing to the beat of excitement with this Traveling Friends group read. We all had a such a hard time putting this one down once we started reading it. It’s one fabulosity read.

Brenda’s review

Alex North does some mighty fine footwork here with this creepy, unnerving, and captivating dark, suspenseful thriller.  It has all the elements here to make this a spooky and compelling read for me. There are some supernatural overtones here that send my imagination into overdrive with some unexplainable elements to this story. That dark and twisted thriller mind of mine had me a little unnerved here while reading this story.   It’s a police procedural with a glimpse into a dangerous and broken killer. It has well-layered characters with complicated and compelling relationship between father and son. I loved the dynamics here between the characters.  

Alex North does such a great job here with Jake who stole the show for us.  It’s not easy to pull off a creepy, story with a child character being the centre of it and he nailed it here for us.  We loved the eerie feeling going on here with the whispering but never felt disturbed by it. The story is entertaining and fun yet just enough dark and twisted.  Just the way I love it! 

I highly enjoyed the time I spend with this spooky story and the characters along with my Traveling Friends!!  I highly recommend it. 

Norma’s review

Suspenseful, a little bit spooky, & definitely full of heart!

THE WHISPER MAN by ALEX NORTH is an engrossing, fast-paced, tense, dark, and eerie novel that had me fully immersed in this story right from the very start. What and who “The Whisper Man” is and represents in this tale is downright brilliant, unnerving and definitely has this creepy and spooky vibe resonating throughout this novel. The following rhyme definitely gave me the chills.

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.
If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass. 
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily say that this novel creeped me out though or scared me out of my wits but it definitely had an underlying spook factor with the supernatural overtones to the story. I found to be quite absorbing and appealing.

ALEX NORTH delivers an atmospheric, intriguing, well-written and irresistibly unsettling thriller here that thoroughly entertained me. The little boy in this book definitely stole the show for me! He was the shining star and I loved his character so much!! He reminded me so much of the little boy in the movie The Sixth Sense.

The story is told in short chapters from alternating perspectives of Tom Kennedy, Jake (his son), DI Amanda Beck, and DI Pete Willis. I was never confused once and I absolutely loved the short chapters as it definitely helped to keep the pacing high to easily hold your attention. 

Lindsay’s review

Intense. Haunting. Addictive. Engrossing. Chilling.

Seven-year-old Jake and his widowed father, Tom, move to Featherbank. A new town for a new start after the passing of Jake’s mom. Featherbank has a past filled with secrets. Jake seems connected to some of these long buried stories and secrets of the small town. Not long after moving to Featherbank, a young boy goes missing which stirs up old memories of a serial killer who once lived in there.

This was a spine-tingling, heart-pounding, sleep-with-the-lights-on story! I am not one for reading scary stories (I’m a big chicken!), but this was so engrossing that I became addicted to the novel from the very start. I couldn’t put it down once I began this shocking and unforgettable journey. The frightening parts were not gory or over-detailed, but simply created an extreme feeling of tension and nervousness that I couldn’t shake. The characters were fantastic! I was invested in them from the first chapter. The changing narratives was perfectly executed and added multiple layers to this mesmerizing novel. Simply put, the writing was excellent! I look forward to what Alex North comes out with next.

We read this one along with our Traveling Sister Kim! Check out her review here

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: An eye-catching, relevant, eerie, sinister, brilliant, intriguing, suspenseful, and extremely fitting representation to storyline. This cover definitely caught my attention and I love it! 
Title: Appealing, creepy, suspenseful, significant, intriguing and absolutely love how the title plays so fittingly and meaningfully into storyline. 
Writing/Prose: Well-written, vivid, suspenseful, engaging, captivating, and fluid. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing! 
Plot: Chilling, sinister, suspenseful, unsettling, moving, riveting, fast-paced, clever, absorbing, enjoyable and extremely entertaining. 
Ending: Spine-tingling, rewarding, and thoroughly satisfying!
Overall: An excellent read that had me thoroughly engrossed and immersed in this tale from start to finish! And learning that this story was inspired by the author’s own son who told him he was playing with “the boy in the floor” was quite clever and in itself frightening. I highly recommend!

Thank you so much to Celadon Books for gifting us and our Traveling Sisters a copy of this book. It was an absolute pleasure reading and discussing this book in our group.

#travelingsistersread #travelingfriendsread

Posted in Traveling Friends Reads

Traveling Friends Goodreads Group Read: The Whisper Man by Alex North @CeladonBooks @writer_north @goodreads ##TheWhisperMan #travelingfriendsreads

Our Traveling Friends Goodreads group read for The Whisper Man by Alex North is about to start. The Traveling Sisters are doing some dancing and we are excited to join our friends and dive into this highly anticipated group read. 

Let’s be friends, join the dancing and discussion! We love to hear our friends thoughts!! You can find the group here

From Goodreads

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window… 

Thank you to Celadon Books from all The Traveling Sisters for our copies and making this a very special group read for us!

The Traveling Friends Group Read
Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Friends Reads

Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand #travelingfriendsread #BookReview

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

Brenda’s review

Summer of ‘69 is my first book I read by Elin Hilderbrand and I have to say it was the perfect one to start with.  It’s already coming up to the end of summer and we haven’t had any summer weather and I really enjoyed being swept away to the sun in Nantucket.  The cover alone took me to my happy summer place. 

Elin Hilderbrand weaves a historical fiction, family drama  with a beach read that was the perfect summer read for me. She vividly creates the iconic american summer of ‘69 while capturing each of the characters’ own conflicts that represents a theme of that era.   The writing flows so quietly as Hilderbrand explores a lot of themes here. 

I was immediately drawn into the family dynamics here with their misunderstanding, secrets, headache and worry.  Their relationships are complicated however the dynamics between them is easy and light while still capturing their emotional depth and growth.

I enjoyed every minute of this story and it all came together so well.  I highly recommend! I look forward to diving into one of the many other books by Elin Hilderbrand I own! 

Norma’s review

Evocative, entrancing, & absorbing!

I have been meaning to read one of ELIN HILDERBRAND books for quite a while now and I am so glad that I finally followed through and read my very first book by her. This is some fine storytelling here. I totally loved the dynamics between the characters, was full-heartedly entranced by the setting, enraptured by the premise, and had a deep fondness for the whole story in general. 

SUMMER OF ‘69 by ELIN HILDERBRAND is a nostalgic, fun, touching, moving, and breezy domestic tale that totally enchanted me. I was immediately hooked and fully absorbed within this storyline. Being born in 1966, I absolutely loved being transported back to a place in time and era that totally came alive for me. It was extremely easy to visualize and experience place and time perfectly through the words expressed here. Loved that! 

ELIN HILDERBRAND delivers an intriguing, vivid, atmospheric, beautifully written and retrospective tale here that has woven together some historical moments perfectly into an easy-breezy summer read with heart. I really loved the tone and flow of this novel. It was like sitting down with a good friend on a relaxing summery day while they relayed to me their story. 

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: A feel-good, happy, summery, and lively cover that depicts this time period and storyline perfectly.
Title: Intriguing, appealing, emotive, relevant, and a simply beautiful representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Compulsively readable, expressive, prolific, engaging, and dramatic. 
Plot: Dynamic, steadily-paced, fun, captivating, nostalgic, heartfelt, relevant, and entertaining.
Ending: A beautiful and heartfelt ending that left me feeling totally satiated.
Overall: I thought this was the perfect summer read and absolutely loved reading the authors note in the end where I found out where the inspiration behind the story came from. That just brought in an extra feeling of respect, meaning and warmth for the novel for me. Would highly recommend!

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