Sunday Book Review – Well Behaved Wives by Amy Sue Nathan

My Sunday book review is for Amy Sue Nathan’s – Well Behaved Wives. This book takes place in the early 60s where most women were coming into themselves and waking up for and beginning to stand up for their equal rights. But there are many places where that kind of ambition and talk is just nonsense. Ruth Applebaum is the main character and will have you cheering for her all through the facade she must keep up, hiding her true ambition.

This book is available on Amazon

Blurb:

Perfect wives, imperfect lives, and upending the rules of behavior in 1960s America.

Law school graduate and newlywed Ruth Appelbaum is acclimating to life and marriage in a posh Philadelphia neighborhood. She’ll do almost anything to endear herself to her mother-in-law, who’s already signed up Ruth for etiquette lessons conducted by the impeccably accessorized tutor Lillian Diamond. But Ruth brings something fresh to the small circle of housewives—sharp wit, honesty, and an independent streak that won’t be compromised.

Right away Ruth develops a friendship with the shy Carrie Blum. When Carrie divulges a dark and disturbing secret lurking beneath her seemingly perfect life, Ruth invites Lillian and the Diamond Girls of the etiquette school to finally question the status quo.

Together they form an unbreakable bond and stretch well beyond their comfort zones. For once, they’ll challenge what others expect from them, discover what they expect from themselves, and do whatever it takes to protect one of their own—fine manners be damned.

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My 5 Star Review:

This story is set in mid-upper class suburb of Wynnefield, Philadelphia, early 1960s. This is where Ruth has moved to with her newlywed husband Asher after she graduated law school in New York and eloped with Asher. They are living with Asher’s parents Shirley and Leon, with the secret that Ruth is a liberal woman who is studying for the bar exam, and decide not to tell Asher’s parents because his pushy mother Shirley expects Ruth to be an obedient, good Jewish wife and be subservient to her husband.

Shirley decides to send Ruth to her friend Lillian’s private housewife etiquette school at her home where a small group of girls learn how to become the perfect wives, shop, cook, clean, have babies, praise their husbands, and of course, after a day’s work, make sure they get changed into fancy dresses and put on make-up to greet their husbands when they return from a hard day’s work at the office, complete with a cocktail in hand upon their return – almost Madmen-esque. Except Ruth is a sharp and educated young woman and has seen and dealt with things growing up and living in New York that this group of girls she meets are oblivious to – until they become woke.

Ruth came from a family where women were treated equally and she lost her mother at four years old. She is forward thinking for the times. She didn’t want to upset the apple cart by sharing her becoming a lawyer intentions with anyone, until she befriends a few girls in the etiquette class and reveals her education to one of them. These girls also went to college, but not so much for the education, but to snag a husband. Ruth also volunteered to help abused women while back in New York, and somehow observes that there is indeed abuse going on in high society where she now lives, which isn’t exposed, nor believed around the good family value circles she’s now living among. The other girls in her group are Carrie, still childless with a secret, Irene who was made to give up her nursing career once married, and now has four young kids, and Harriet, newly engaged to be married, and both envious and curious about Ruth’s ambition.

Through the story we learn that Lillian’s seemingly perfect life isn’t as fulfilling as she wishes it could be Lillian could have had a career too, she comes to realize, once she learns how independent Ruth is. We can sympathize with Lillian, despite how she comes off at first as ‘Miss Manners’, as we get to know more about her sad childhood that comes to light in conversations, discovering she was raised by her grandparents because her mother was put in an institution when Lillian was only eleven and her father was dead. Until one day, Lillian discovers an old photo of herself with her parents, which compels her to go visit her institutionalized mother – with said, dementia, to see if the picture stirs anything of recognition – then a whole new kettle of fish is discovered – and a terrible secret exposed about what caused her mother to be institutionalized.

Ruth’s husband is crazy about her but keeps putting off the time to share Ruth’s ambitions with his parents. Ruth befriends one of the girls in particular and shares her secret that she has graduated law school and studying for the bar. She suspects this friend is being physically abused by her husband, but the girl denies it and makes excuses for her husband and tries to shut Ruth out of her life, afraid to cause trouble. But Ruth instinctively wants to help her, because it’s part of who she is and what she does – defend powerless women. Later in the book the women are forced to confront the realism of domestic abuse and many secrets of the past are revealed about Lillian and Shirley’s past, and secret lives.

This story takes on many issues about women back in the early 60s. Society dictates what’s expected of them, but some have a voice and go against the norm. Spousal abuse in an upper class surburbia just couldn’t be possible. Respectable men with important jobs would never abuse their wives, would they? And awakenings stir on the topic of mental health, which back in those days didn’t take much to have a woman committed for hysteria or any other dispicable label they could place on one to have them certifiably locked up because their men declared them so.

This book was a time capsule about the place of women back in the early 60s, a nod to how far we’ve come since then, but then again, how much further we have yet to go. I enjoyed this book so much – the characters, the issues, and the development of these ‘Diamond’ girls who learned to take their power. The writing was beautiful, and I should look forward to reading more from this author. At the end of the book, the author offers many resources for abused women to seek help. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – The Second Mrs. Astor by Shana Abe #Historical #Titanic

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing Shana Abe’s hot seller – The Second Mrs. Astor: A Heartbreaking Historical Novel of the Titanic. This is the story of the upper class families of New York in the early 1900s when the Astor family were the creme de la creme of the elite and privileged. A true love story emerges between Jack and his much younger love, Madeleine Force who also comes from a wealthy family, but not quite as elite as Colonel Jack Astor’s.

Blurb:

Blurb:

Blurb:

“Abé is an exquisite storyteller. Rich in detail and deeply moving.” —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace

“One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. A gorgeous, phenomenal novel I won’t soon forget.” —Ellen Marie Wiseman New York Times bestselling Author of The Orphan Collector

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Chiaverini and Marie Benedict, this riveting novel takes you inside the scandalous courtship and catastrophic honeymoon aboard the Titanic of the most famous couple of their time—John Jacob Astor and Madeleine Force. Told in rich detail, this novel of sweeping historical fiction will stay with readers long after turning the last page.

Madeleine Talmage Force is just seventeen when she attracts the attention of John Jacob “Jack” Astor. Madeleine is beautiful, intelligent, and solidly upper-class, but the Astors are in a league apart. Jack’s mother was the Mrs. Astor, American royalty and New York’s most formidable socialite. Jack is dashing and industrious—a hero of the Spanish-American war, an inventor, and a canny businessman. Despite their twenty-nine-year age difference, and the scandal of Jack’s recent divorce, Madeleine falls headlong into love—and becomes the press’s favorite target.

On their extended honeymoon in Egypt, the newlyweds finally find a measure of peace from photographers and journalists. Madeleine feels truly alive for the first time—and is happily pregnant. The couple plans to return home in the spring of 1912, aboard an opulent new ocean liner. When the ship hits an iceberg close to midnight on April 14th, there is no immediate panic. The swift, state-of-the-art RMS Titanic seems unsinkable. As Jack helps Madeleine into a lifeboat, he assures her that he’ll see her soon in New York…

Four months later, at the Astors’ Fifth Avenue mansion, a widowed Madeleine gives birth to their son. In the wake of the disaster, the press has elevated her to the status of virtuous, tragic heroine. But Madeleine’s most important decision still lies ahead: whether to accept the role assigned to her, or carve out her own remarkable path…
 
“A touching, compelling, and haunting love story that will delight fans of historical fiction and enthrall those of us for whom the Titanic will always fascinate.”
—Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of When We Were Young and Brave

 
“An engaging novel told with both heartbreaking care and vivid detail. The Second Mrs. Astor is historical fiction at its gripping and irresistible best.”
—Patti Callahan , New York Times bestselling author of Surviving Savannah and Becoming Mrs. Lewis

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My 5 Star Review:

This book was most beautifully written with great details of characters and settings, taking us right into the times of the early 1900s – the ‘gilded age’, in this fictionalized telling about the true love story between two wealthy socialiates – Colonel John (Jack) Astor, and Madeleine Force. The elite travel in similar circles, which gave young Madeleine the opportunity to meet divorced Colonel Jack Astor – twenty-nine years her senior. The age difference didn’t seem to be a problem back then, as long as there was money mixing with money.

Jack and Madeleine were equally drawn to each other, and theirs became a beautiful and tragic love story. Once Madeleine turned eighteen they could and finally did marry, and with that brought the media press always hounding them. Jack decided to take his bride abroad to visit Europe and Egypt to escape the cold New York winter – and the press, where they shared a most beautiful long vacation, with rich, picturesque descriptions. On their journey back to America they sailed back from Europe on the brand new Titanic on its maiden voyage, and by this time, Madeleine was already with child.

The author does an amazing job of recreating the incident of the Titanic hitting the iceberg.The story will take us right into the lives of these elite families, making us feel we are right there observing the action. Abe did a wonderful job recreating scenes, and as one could imagine, there was a wealth of research done on this period, in fact, the author cites where she did a lot of the research, at the back of her book.

The love shared between Jack and Madeleine both, a pleasure and a heartbreak to read. Jack was a handsome, divorced, rich man who could have had anyone he wanted, but all his love was only for Madeleine. It’s their beautiful love story that keeps us engaged in the story, but later in the book when they embark back for their journey home, our hearts will sink along with the Titanic as we learn what was happening with the ship, what was happening with the passengers, and most of all, what would happen to Jack and Maddie? Would they make it to safety? No spoilers here, but we all know what happened to the Titanic.

After returning home and giving birth to her son Jack Junior – Jakey, young widow Madeleine must decide where her life will take her now. Does she keep her Astor status, will Jack’s eldest son from his previous marriage finally find common ground with Madeleine? You will have to read this beautiful and heartbreaking book to find out.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – #Shameless #Promotion – New Reviews for D.G. Kaye Books

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. As many of you know, I share a book I’ve read here weekly with my review. I always like to share a good book, paying it forward, and give the author some recognition. For this week’s review, I’m going to take the liberty to share some new-ish reviews I’ve been meaning to share, for my own books. As we all know, reviews are both golden currency for an author, plus, sharing them is a shoutout thank- you to the readers who take the time out to review our books.

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I found this lovely review at Mark Bierman’s blog below.

Source: Review of A Conflicted Heart: A Daughter’s Quest For Solace From Emotional Guilt, by D.G. Kaye – Mark Bierman

If there was ever a story that gives a perfect example of peeling away the protective layers in which many of us enshroud ourselves, you’ve just found it.

D.G. courageously shares her story of being raised by an emotionally, and often physically, distant mother and the damaging consequences. I think most of us read stories to connect with the characters, and I found myself highly engaged with the younger D.G., as she tries to navigate through the emotional turmoil of her mother’s rejection; no child should ever have to go through that.    

In spite of her mother’s alienation, D.G. does find strong supporters, within her family and in romantic partners. The reader cannot help but feel relief and joy every time these people turn up in her life.

I grew to admire D.G.’s resilience, kind heart, and appreciated her brutal honesty. The pages are choc full of valuable life lessons.

Life is rarely fair, but there are bright spots that we can soak up, and D.G. is certainly one who has learned to do just that. No one is spared from disappointment and varying degrees of trauma. We all need to find our ‘people’ who will support us.

I recommend this book to anyone with a pulse.  

I’m giving this book, FOUR STARS!  

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Martha Perez, thank you for sharing your reviews on your many social platforms. This one is on Goodreads.

Review of Twenty Years from Martha Perez

Martha Perez 5.0 out of 5 stars HEARTFELT MEMOIR  Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2022

Twenty years started with a promise. D.G. Kaye had no limits for the love of her life.
A heartfelt personal memoir is written beautifully by the author D.G. Kaye. This story is my favorite book by far this year. She shares taking the plunge and commenting on the love of her life, and truth be told, we never could predict the future. Gorden is a lot older than D.G. Kaye. I could feel her worrisome mind. She did take the chance.

The way she talked about her husband and the unconditional love between them is beautiful, even though a marriage is a lot of work. Each chapter of her words was the good, the bad, and the ugly, but her life with Gorden was a lovely daily sprinkle of glitter with love, laughter, stability, health-giving and age differences, respect, and lots of honey past, today, and future.

The author talks about the strength of the struggles they both endured, yet they embrace handling life together with love, kindness, and creative planning.

Kaye is Awe-inspiring with her sincere overpowering words that touch my heart and soul. Life is not perfect; by reading her love story, I could honestly say she came close to the happiness that people wait for a lifetime with faithfulness, honoring their vows to smile and laugh at the end of the day.

The simple things in life are watching the sunset, having morning coffee together, hugs, and making love are a lot more than the little things in a couple’s life. I truly loved reading this book. I learned from others and my own mistakes. The author’s story is a touching and beautiful tribute to her marriage.

Keeping a marriage together and having compassion in everyday life is an emotional task; they choose to handle their day-to-day lives gracefully and in harmony. I highly recommend the extraordinary book. 

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Martha Perez posted on Goodreads.

Martha Perez’s Review

Jul 15, 2022

D.G. Kaye is back, and as she reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines—with her overweight luggage in tow.

I have to say I enjoyed reading this book. When I traveled had the same dilemma overweight luggage baggage charges have become an excess headache. I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one going through this madness.

And when travelers are compulsive shoppers, when nothing fits in our suitcases, that could become a problem. Read and learn. The author gives you an insight into her own experience and shares with us the stratagem of how to fit everything in a suitcase and much more; those tips will be with me for the next vacation.

Each word is beautifully written for awareness and to educate the people who travel and make it as easy as possible. I appreciate the knowledge that will help me shortly. I highly recommend this fantastic book to mostly those who love to travel.

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Toni Pike recently shared a new review on her blog for Have Bags Will Travel. This was a lovely post Toni put up at her blog to share my book. I hope you’ll pop over there. Her review is below.

5 stars – a delightfully nostalgic travel memoir

D.G. Kaye’s delightful travel memoir is an enjoyable page-turner, and essential reading for anyone wanting to travel overseas. It would be a perfect beach read, or a great book to take with you on vacation – something, perhaps, to keep you entertained while lining up at airports.

The author confesses to being a shopaholic who always travels with too much luggage – a problem shared by so many other travellers, including myself. She had me in stitches with her stories of trying to comply with the ever-varying luggage limits, and her constant struggles to deal with Canadian customs authorities on her trips home.  

Kaye has many useful tips and tricks for the unsuspecting traveller. I couldn’t stop laughing at her description of how to maintain perfect sterilisation and not touch anything inside those tiny airplane toilets.

She has fond memories to share about trips to places like London, Paris and Las Vegas – and some fun times in Venezuela. I could relate to how much she loved Las Vegas in the past, when there were less crowds, much higher dress standards, and the restaurants and hotels offered much better service and value.

A few months in Greece in her youth became a constant struggle with too much luggage and then an accident. At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, she managed to get from one terminal to another in record time with her elderly father in tow.

The author manages to include all sorts of luggage disasters – a topic very relevant at the moment. Shoes also play a big part, but you’ll have to read for yourself to find out more.

The book is written in an easy-to-read style and it moves quickly, so I kept eagerly turning the pages and was very sorry to reach the end. I hope the author writes another travel book one day – and I give this a very well-deserved 5 stars.

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Martha posted on Goodreads blog.

Reviewed on Goodreads by Martha Perez

P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy

Martha Perez‘s review

Jun 26, 2017 and May 2022

it was amazing

Read 2 times

When I started to read this astonishing true story, I have to say I was very proud of D.G. Kaye; this is a heart-wrenching story with so many emotions about a mother and daughter relationship having a narcissistic mother and being so selfish and damaging her child.

A mother is supposed to love and treasure the gift God gave her; instead, she gave her pain and sorrow. I honestly relate to this story. D. G. Kaye is a fantastic woman. It is vital to tell such a heartrending and emotional story; she has so much courage to heal herself and others.

You live with this all your life wondering why? What did I do wrong? You start to question and blame yourself. It’s living with a dysfunctional family; it’s never your fault; it’s all we know until you’re an adult that you realize how messy life is. She has to decide to forgive her mother. I think it’s up to the person that was hurt to make such a tough choice—a page-turner.

Many of us came from a flawed family. Unfortunately, we can’t choose our parents, and when a child is abused, they will carry the pain throughout their lives. It’s an emotional roller coaster; the author speaks from her heart and soul. You will have tears flow down your cheeks. It’s not easy to forgive, but I am glad she has written this book.

A mother’s love should be unconditional, but when they have gambling and other problems, they exercise control over their children by being selfish and not loving. It’s a recipe for disaster. Why her mother wasn’t happy reflects on her daughter’s hurt she carries throughout her life and the neglect and abuse of the family.

I understand why writing her journey was so important. It’s like letting go of a butterfly jarred to be free to fly away from the Suffocation from her past.

I don’t think we can ever understand why some parents do what they do. We must heal from the bad and be grateful for the good. I could relate with D.G. Kaye. My parents were alcoholics and gave us away. It’s important to forgive, but you never forget. I highly recommend this fantastic book.

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I found this beautiful review from Harmony’s posting on Goodreads.

Harmony Kent

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Everyone Should ReadReviewed in the United States on April 28, 2021

As soon as I saw what this book was about, I had to read it, and I am so pleased I did.

Because of the difficult subject matter, and my own history, I had to take a deep breath before I plunged in. Not only has this writer’s honesty and bravery helped me to understand my parents a little better, it has also shown me precisely what my sister has become. I’d missed that, and this explains so very much.

It is a sad fact of life that, all too often, the victim becomes the perpertrator, unless we have the insight and strength to do something about it. I have long joked that I’m the reverse ‘black sheep’ of my family, and it seems to me that Debby is too. For all our successes, and the miracle of growing into well-adjusted adults in spite of it all, we will never be accepted by a parent who demands that we live their lies, manipulations, and abuses. The same with any sibling who demands the same.

Some lines that resonated with me in particular:

‘A narcissistic mother doesn’t have to be in one’s presence. She can still demand and demean no matter how far away.’

and

‘It is my decision to banish my mother from my life and a resolution to find peace within myself with my decision.’

and

‘[…] if we’re lucky enough to realize the bad, we have the opportunity to steer ourselves in a better direction.’

For a while now, I have struggled to think of what I will do when one or the other of my parents dies. I’m not even sure they would let me know, at this stage. And reading this honest and brave account from D G Kaye has helped me immensely. It has also helped to explain the till-now inexplicable behaviour of my twin sister. She has grown up with emotional neglect, as did I, and has now become a narcissist. This book has helped me to identify why she lives and behaves the way she does.

From my own life, I know how hard it is to go against the grain to become your own person despite your upbringing. It takes work, day by day, to resist some of those unhealthy habits instilled in us as children and to trust our judgements and motives. It takes courage to not give in to the insidious lack of self-esteem with which such adults are often left. The author has overcome much, and I admire her deeply both for her acheivements and for putting her journey into words so that others of us can also be helped.

PS I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy gets a solid and resounding 5 stars from me. A difficult read, but a book everybody should read.

I want to thank Mark, Toni, Harmony, for taking the time and interest to read my books and review. I’d also like to thank Martha Perez for her interest and time for reading three of my books. I am elated that all of you took so much from my words. Author’s gold. 💜💚🧡

©DGKaye2022

Damaged Goods, Warranties, Humor, and the Love of My Life

Damaged Goods –

A popular slang term for a person with a ravaged past, incident, or reputation – no longer perfection. Aren’t we all damaged in some way? Hard to think that anyone has sailed through life unscathed by hurt, pain, or inappropriate abuse. We don’t have to experience physical pain to feel abused  – mental, or emotional, abuse can appear in all forms.

My husband used to joke around with me because three days after we were married, I wound up in hospital – on and off for three months because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, thinking it was a cancer that turned out to be hard to diagnose Crohns disease. No, it wasn’t funny then, but through the years, I had a few other scares, and throughout our marriage when all was well, my humorous husband used to like to say to our friends that he married damaged goods. He’d add to that, in true used car salesman talk, he married a lemon and it was too late to give her back because the warranty had expired.

Yes, that was my husband, always full of humorous slogans. Yes, I can laugh, and so can you, because my husband loved me to the nth degree and would move heaven and earth for anything that would make me happy. I lacked for nothing and never asked for anything, because I didn’t have to. He was always willing to give anything of himself. And he always did.

Damaged goods isn’t an endearing term by any means, typically it is referred to as a product we’ve bought that failed to live up to its projected expectations. Not so pretty when used to refer to a person’s state of being. My Honey had a joke for everything between us, and that’s why we laughed together every single day we were together. Life isn’t always funny, but if you can look past the painful parts and find a way to make light of things, it helps to lighten the load. Having unconditional love allows for such jokes, without that, a comment like that would sound abusive.

My husband had so many funny sayings. He was also always full of surprises. Every year or so he’d come home and inform me that he sold my car again. This was his department not mine. I knew that when he found a happy paying customer to buy a car he didn’t have on the lot for him, but he had one his wife was driving, of course, in mint condition, it was time to sell and make a profit. It became like a side business for him because all my cars were bought at wholesale price, and sold for retail. Getting a new car didn’t cost us anything and we’d buy a newer model. He had always warned me to never get attached to ‘things’.

One day he came home from work while I was sitting outside with a neighbor. He got out of his car, came up to me and gave me a kiss as he did every single day of our lives together, then told me to clean out my car, it was going tomorrow. I’d lament as I always did once I got attached to a car, reminding him how much I loved it and didn’t need a new one. The logic would repeat, he’d laugh and add, “Now Cubby, make sure you don’t stand on this driveway because you can be sold too.” Lol, I always remembered that one. As if! He loved to give the neighbors a laugh, pretending to be the guy with authority when anyone who knew us, knew that it was I who always had the final say. But I let him get his glory moments in, and we’d both burst out laughing at the mere conception that he’d ever give me away for any price.

I miss that man more than I could ever write. My heart breaks daily again everyday I wake up without him, and the painful longing for his embrace and love. I try to keep focusing on our funny moments to overshadow the black hole that resides within me, there were so many moments. It’s a Herculian task to say the least, to struggle daily with missing my other half of me. My husband joked a lot about my being damaged goods, but little did he know that’s exactly how I feel now without him. And there are no jokes possible to lighten this load. But one thing is for sure, the warranty on my love for him will never expire.

Big Puppy

©DGKaye2022

Colleen Chesebro Announces The Word Craft #Poetry Contest Winners

Colleen Chesebro ran a contest in June using syllabic poetry, using the theme, ‘dreams’. There were certainly some fantastic entries, and winners. Congratulations to Diana Peach for her gorgeous entry. Today I’m sharing my Tanka prose and poem I wrote for the contest. Tanka is written in 5 lines in 5/7/5/7/7 syllables, and the prose relates to the poem.

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When love is deep, there can’t be measure. The longing for lost lovers never dissipate, but linger in shadows of dreams as we live out the rest of our lives, awaiting glorious reunion.

Waiting

Lost love yearns for time,

Space where all is linear.

Grief seeps into dreams.

Undying love never fades.

Clocks echo love eternal.

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Visit Colleen’s blog to see the list of winners and their entry poetry.

I’m thrilled to announce the winners of the Word Craft Poetry Syllabic Poetry Contest held to honor the Summer Solstice. The theme was dreams, and the syllabic form to write was tanka prose. Many thanks to all the poets who entered this contest. Thanks for being part of our poetry community… Please visit Colleen’s Word Craft to view the winners and their poetry at:

https://wordcraftpoetry.com/2022/07/13/announcing-the-winners-of-the-word-craft-poetry-syllabic-poetry-contest/#comment-116380

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – The Unravelling – A Domestic Noir #Thriller by Thorne Moore

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing The Unravelling by Thorne Moore. I’ve had this book on my Kindle for some time now, always remembering I wanted to push it up for reading. This book is a well written tale about a woman with a damaged memory because of an incident that happened in her childhood. It’s a slow build up to what occurred, which kept me reading because I needed to find out what happened to Karen Rothwell that made her become so emotionally damaged from her childhood experience?

Blurb:

When they were ten everybody wanted to be Serena’s friend, to find themselves one of the inner circle. But doing so meant proving your worth, and doing that often had consequences it’s not nice to think about – not even thirty-five years later.

Karen Rothwell is randomly reminded of an incident in her childhood which just as suddenly becomes an obsession. It takes her on a journey into a land of secrets and lies; it means finding that gang of girls from Marsh Green Junior School and most importantly of all finding Serena Whinn.

Praise for Thorne Moore’s novels

A true page turner
ww.gwales.com

The most chilling part of Thorne Moore’s skill is the way that she represents evil
Helen Tozer, sideline jelly

My 5 Star Review:

A psychologically, gripping tale taking us into the mind of the protagonist, Karen Rothwell. Karen now, 45 years old suffers from crippling memories of a haunting past – a dark event that happened among her circle of friends as a child – that began with a Ouija board. Only now, as her memories begin to surface, she is determined to seek out whatever has become of her old good friend, Serena Whinn since they were ten years old. Karen can’t remember what happened back at Marsh Green all those years ago because she spent the rest of her life blocking it out, but the pain of needing to know what has caused her own mental illness has surfaced and she must now find out what really happened that fateful day when her friend Janice disappeared. This story is the unravelling, delving back into memories that have long been blocked out.

Karen decides to self investigate some of the characters from her past circle of friends- without letting anyone know what she’s up to. She begins by visiting her childhood town and Marsh Green, looking for anyone who remembered Serena Whinn. She begins her journey of visiting that circle of friends – first visiting Ruth Smellie, who no doubt had taken the ‘S’ out of her name. Ruth got pregnant while at school and was forced to get married. Karen soon found out Ruth was still miserable in her unhappy life, but managed to get a clue from her about someone else’s whereabouts in their circle she could approach to learn about Serena’s whereabouts – Barbara Fullerton.

Karen looked up Barb, who was now a lawyer and set out to make a legal appointment with her at Barb’s office so Karen could get more clues about Serena. It was there Karen discovered Serena is indeed alive and well, and discovers some other horrible things Barb reminded of Karen’s childhood once she approached her. This led to seeking out Denise and Angela – two other girls who were part of that girl tribe at the time. But what Karen learned from those two odd women only scared her more and threw her off her original thoughts she had begun to piece together. Karen knew she had to find Serena – she was the key to what really happened that fateful day to Karen’s odd friend Janice Dexter and herself.

Next came Serena. Karen tracked the sweet, innocent Serena down – the girl that everyone envied. And there Karen uncovered a whole new understanding about what actually happened that day that Janice went missing, and this jogging of memory for Karen, curdled her blood. It all came spilling back to Karen. She remembered everything. And the revenge ensues once Karen uncovers all the evil that has been lied about and surpressed for decades.

This book was a slow build up giving us insight into Karen’s character and state of mind, and once her journey of discovery begins, a difficult book to put down as we follow Karen’s mind and investigative journey into seeking out what really happened all those years ago, who were the good, and who the insideous evil doers really were. Truly a riveting read. I look forward to reading more by this author.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Ending Forever by Nicholas Conley

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book through Netgalley once I read my friend Olga Miret’s review about it, Ending Forever by Nicholas Conley. It’s not too far out of my genre range, considering it’s a fictional story that deals with the afterlife – although in sort of a science fiction sort of way. I typically have been reading nonfiction books on the subject. And since this story has so many elements to it and deals with my top favorite subjects – compassion, humanity, love and grief, and so much more, I had to give it a read, and I loved it. The author himself in his acknowledgments states his book is, “strange, surreal fiction that doesn’t really fit into any specific genre box”.

Blurb:

Axel Rivers can’t get his head above water. Throughout his life, he’s worn many hats — orphan, musician, veteran, husband, father—but a year ago, a horrific event he now calls The Bad Day tore down everything he’d built. Grief-stricken, unemployed, and drowning in debt, Axel needs cash, however he can find it.

Enter Kindred Eternal Solutions. Founded by the world’s six wealthiest trillionaires and billionaires, Kindred promises to create eternal life through mastering the science of human resurrection. With the technology still being developed, Kindred seeks paid volunteers to undergo tests that will kill and resurrect their body—again and again—in exchange for a check.

Axel signs up willingly, but when he undergoes the procedure—and comes back, over and over—what will he find on the other side of death?

My 5 Star Review:

Love the dedication in front of the book: “Dedicated to everyone I have ever lost. Every sunset precedes a sunrise, and what the dead leave behind shapes the future. May the memory of you-each of you- be a blessing.”

Axel Rivers has had a lot of bad things happening in his life, mostly, what he refers to as ‘That bad day’. Down on his luck and funds, and carrying deep sorrow in his heart, he decides to sign up for the Kindred Eternal Solutions experimental program, run by the wealthiest of the elite. Those who’ve suffered hardship and in need of money are the targeted to sign up and receive a big check for taking part in this trial program, along with some of the curious who want to learn what does happen on the other side. Besides the big paycheck for signing up for this series of deaths and resurrections, Axel hopes to be able to see that infamous light so talked about on the other side as well as the privilege to meet up with his dearly missed lost loved ones.

These volunteers are put to a death sleep in a chamber and monitored through their temporary death state by doctors and scientists, and are promised to be brought back to life within hours, and must complete the death/resurrection process daily, six times in a row. The program is researching how to keep people alive through eternity, mainly for the purpose of the rich elite who run the program, trying to discover a way to cheat death for themselves.

At first Axel is very apprehensive but the thought of his overwhelming debt is what keeps him in the program. After his first session he feels disillusioned – he saw no light, no lost loved ones, and felt doom from meeting ‘the stranger’. He felt more depressed after the session, feeling as though he had a visitation from a dead family member later that day after first session. He thought it felt so real, not as though it were a spirit. His second session, he felt a breakthrough, met some of his lost loved ones, and saw the ‘Deathweavers’, – the ones in the next realm who make decision about when those on earth’s time is up.

Axel meets Brooklyn, a fellow partipant, single mother who has suffered many hardships in her own life, and they become friends and go out for drinks after day two of the experiment. On day three, Axel is late for that third session and is booted from the program. He decides to wait for Brooklyn to finish, when he discovers, she never showed up to that session. Axel learns from her sister that a tragedy has taken place and Brooklyn’s daughter Gwen is in intensive care dying from it. Axel’s new awakenings through the first two sessions drive him to approach the scientist at her home where he begs her to put him under one more time because he is sure he can bargain with the ‘Deathweavers’ and plead for Gwen’s life, and for her own scientific knowledge purposes, Dr. Carpenter agrees.

In Axel’s last time returning to death and resurrection, he learns a lot about himself and conquers boundaries that he learned he’d created around himself. He manages to get the attention of the Deathweavers and like everything else in life, they would only agree to let Gwen live if Axel gave up something precious of himself.

This book is about the fragility of life, overcoming one’s own tribulations and grief and gaining the selflessness to help another human being. Despite the paranormal-ish basis of the story, the strength of love and compassion shine through people when they are forced to surrender their own hurt and wounds to help the worse off.

The last few chapters were so captivating and beautiful, it was difficult to read without tears.

©DGKaye2022

Updates – Week One at the Gym…and Marsha

Last week I wrote about getting myself out more and joining the gym. I also talked about my new friend, Marsha, who lives in my building.

Well, week one has passed and as I write this, I am sore! Oye! Last Monday was my first day at the gym. I used the treadmill and then did half an hour with weight machines. This should not have been a problem had I been going to my own building’s gym three times a week like I had done -B.C. – before Covid. Last year, I’d have so say the most exercise I had was packing and moving. I walked miles while in Mexico, but let’s face it, besides carrying my heavy carryon bag through airports, I hadn’t done anything with weights. My body reminded how much I was out of shape. The next day was painful, so I took off two days and went back for more on Thursday. Friday I wasn’t nearly as sore, until I went to my first Yoga class on Saturday. Ouch!

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

I took Yoga classes years ago, and for many years I did Pilates at home, again, until the Covid hit and my husband became unwell. That’s when I threw self-care out the window. Time passing without proper exerise and a couple of years more of aging had me struggling in that class, but I did it! Did I hold all the poses for the whole time? Of course not. Did I shake and have to restart several poses while on one foot? Of course I did. I also found myself having to modify some poses using ‘beginner’ mode, even though I thought I was an old pro. Did my whole body ache the next day? Of course it did! But I am glad I did it and have every intention of going back to next Saturday’s class. I also intend to give a Zumba class a try later this week, ambitious I know! But socially, I haven’t met anyone yet, other than the sweet young girls who work at the club. I seem to have developed a rapport with a few of those girls, and they make me feel welcome every time I come in to the gym. It’s a start.

Back on the Marsha front. I hadn’t seen her all week until we went out for a coffee for a few hours this past Sunday. We had also spoken on the phone a few times this past week. She keeps herself very busy going to her gym/club where she is involved in activities daily. She goes five days a week in the morning and doesn’t return till 5pm. Disciplined girl, but as she told me, she has to get out and keep busy or she’ll go mad with boredom. She doesn’t use a computer, so naturally, she couldn’t fill her days online, which reminds how grateful I am for having a whole other world of online life that keeps my sanity – most days.

I feel like Marsha is one of those people I’ve written about before – people we meet for seasons and reasons. Marsha is a pretty, stylish woman with barely a wrinkle. She has a fun personality, and during our long conversations – talking about our younger days, and our ‘crazy’ mothers, just another thing in common, and we discovered that we are related through marriage. Her father divorced her mother and married my mother’s first cousin. What are the odds? But I had never heard of Marsha before. Perhaps because she is quite a bit older than me. That was the shocker. As I stated in my earlier post upon meeting Marsha, I took her for her early 70s, a good decade older than me, but when I asked her point blank how old she was, she was hesitant on admitting her true age of 81. What??? No way, I said. I always considered myself a great age guesser, this wild woman threw me right off kilter. I knew I had a lot to learn from Marsha.

We talked a lot about love and marriage and our husbands. Her first husband was the love of her life and like me, Marsha had a shocking diagnosis of her husband while in her mid-sixties, her husband developed severe headaches and was given the death edict with a brain tumor. Her life as she knew it took a 180 just as mine did. The caretaking, the love, the anticipatory grief and then the lifelong grief is a bond we have in common. I couldn’t help but ask her how she went on after that, and how did she manage to wed a second time?

Marsha clarified, she never married the second one. She met him, he persisted on going out together, she caved a few months later and started dating him. Circumstances and loneliness combined had her moving in with him, and admitting, that they had a good life for nine years until he too passed away, but she never stopped loving her first husband.

How do you do that? I asked Marsha. ‘It just kind of fell into place organically,’ she responded. He wanted to marry her but she declined. She told me when her time is up, she will be buried with her first husband. No doubt, as whatever happens in my future, anyone else who may enter my life could only ever hold second place.

I enjoy talking with Marsha because she’s funny, she’s down to earth, and I believe I have something to learn from her. My inquisitive mind is always willing to learn, and Marsha has definitely worn the shoes of life – and death. With aging comes wisdom. I know I can look back on my own life and see the errors of my ways and also recognize how far I’ve come mentally and emotionally since my younger days. Surely, someone who has twenty years on me has something more to teach me from her own years of experience.

Connections open doors for us to new paths. We may not always know where those doors will lead, but one thing I know for sure, opportunities and meeting people only happen when we open a path – they don’t come banging on our doors. We first have to open the door and take a step out of our usual routines to allow the universe to let us see what and who are out there to enrich our lives.

©DGKaye2022