Authors Showcase: Follow Your Heart
January 22, 2013
The Book: Coming Home
The Author: Laurie Breton
The Story: The year is 1974, and aspiring songwriter Casey Bradley is just eighteen years old when handsome, charismatic singer Danny Fiore sweeps into her life and turns it upside down. The first time she looks into Danny’s turbulent blue eyes, Casey is ready to toss aside her entire future for a man who will almost certainly break her heart.
Together with guitar wizard Rob MacKenzie, Casey writes the songs that catapult Danny to a fame beyond their wildest imaginings. But life with Danny isn’t what she expected. The road to success is loaded with land mines, and rivers of darkness flow through her troubled marriage. Every time Danny breaks her heart, it’s Rob who picks her up, dusts her off, and glues the pieces back together.
It isn’t until she suffers an unimaginable loss that Casey begins to question who she is and what she really wants from life. As she searches for herself amid the wreckage, she discovers the bittersweet truth that the choices a woman makes at thirty can differ vastly from those she made at eighteen.
COMING HOME is a poignant story about the seasons of a woman’s heart, and the roundabout route we sometimes have to take to get to where we’re meant to be.
Review by Patricia L. Korbet: If you thought Laurie Breton only wrote romantic suspense or crime oriented stories, this book will debunk that myth. The re-release of her first published novel, Coming Home, illustrates that she has always been able to write smart, strong, yet vulnerable female characters. And that they don’t have to be the kind of women who solve crimes, kick butt or whose lives are in mortal peril.
What this story is not is a crime novel. It is also not strictly a romance novel. It is a great example of what women’s fiction can and should be – written such that most women can understand and relate, even when they do not have shared experiences with the characters. Women’s fiction has many levels, layers and sub-genres. This novel captures the essence of what it meant to be a modern woman in the 70’s and 80’s, struggling with the desire to have it all and making sacrifices because, as we’ve all realized, having it all – at least all at once – isn’t realistic. To that end, given that we’re 30-40 years removed from the story’s timeline, it can almost be placed in a ‘historic’ context. (Shh, don’t tell the author, that will make her feel old).
Starting in 1974, the book chronicles the story of a husband and wife and their mutual best friend over the course of 15 often turbulent years in the music business. The setting plays a role and is often times a testament to the author’s keen powers of observation. But the story is, fundamentally, one of how we define ourselves inside and outside relationships and how that evolving process shapes who we are and who we become. Despite the fact that the main characters – Casey, Danny and Rob – find eventual success and fame by Hollywood standards, this story is not about that part of their lives. It is about the real people inside the artifice that we construct around our celebrities and yet, it was written before our modern-day obsession with such things came into the public consciousness.
If you like strong characters who elicit empathy and settings that make you feel as though you are a fly on the wall of someone’s life, you will love this book. If you know someone who loves Laurie’s romantic suspense novels but you couldn’t bring yourself to read that genre, here is your chance to see why they loved her writing. And if you love this book once you read it, take solace in the fact that there is a second Jackson Falls book out already (Sleeping with the Enemy) and a third in progress.
Review by Maggie: This book was full of raw emotion and it took me on a woman’s personal journey through passion, devastation, self awareness, loss, love, and hope. The story and characters felt real and relatable. I would have preferred this book to be written as a stand alone novel rather than a series because the supporting characters were just that. The depth of this book was in the three main characters so I would have liked a truly final ending. Overall, I would recommend this book.
The Book: Sleeping Tigers
The Author: Holly Robinson
The Story: Jordan O’Malley has everything she ever wanted: a job she loves, a beautiful home, and a dependable boyfriend. When her life unravels after a breast cancer scare, Jordan decides to join her wildest childhood friend in San Francisco and track down her drifter brother, Cam, who harbors secrets of his own.
When Cam suddenly flees the country, Jordan follows, determined to bring him home. Her journey takes her to the farthest reaches of majestic Nepal, where she encounters tests – and truths – about love and family that she never could have imagined. Funny, heartbreaking, and suspenseful, Sleeping Tigers reminds us all that sometimes it’s better to follow your heart instead of a plan.
Sleeping Tigers was a Best Indie Books of 2012 Semifinalist, Kindle Book Review, and a 2011 Book of the Year Fiction Finalist, ForeWord Reviews.
Review by Donna Anastasi: I‘ve seen this book compared to Eat, Pray, Love and while in is of the same genre as Eat, Pray, Love it is fundamentally quite different. From the first page I connected with the main character, Jordan, as very real and in so many ways “could be me.” After the “sleeping tiger” within stretches and scrapes his claws in the form of a breast cancer surgery, Jordan is jolted from her perfect, safe, predictable little world as a middle school teacher engaged to a stable, sort of stick-up-his-@$$ guy (the description of him ironing his wet bills said it all).
She leaves her smothering parents, boring fiance, and conservative New England life and pursues her MIA brother to California and beyond. She has a tight bond with and deep love for her only brother; they serve as each others “true witnesses,” confidants, and heros after growing up as children of an unpredictable, often violent alcoholic. Unlike Eat, Pray, Love as Jordan lets go of the many societal bindings and is stripped of material possessions, she does not let go of relationships.
Rather than going through a “me” phase this is very much a book about the “we.” Jordan never changes her true essence as the responsible, oldest sister, nurturing, mothering type. Instead she allows it to flourish. “Sleeping Tigers” explores all the type of loves women feel so deeply as daughter, sister, girlfriend, lover, and “mommy.” And does it in an often starkly realistic ways including close encounters with vomit, blood, feces, and other bodily fluids that inevitably go along with caretaking.
The novel has many beautiful and descriptive scenes as well including Jordan’s reawakening of her sensual side after being so deeply scarred. The book has a wonderful final scene that closes this chapter of Jordan’s life, and, hopefully, will open another in the form a sequel.
Review by Judith H. Block: This is such a terrific novel. I was “hooked” on it from the beginning (some books are slow starters- not this one! I didn’t want to put it down!) I really cared about the characters – I felt like I knew them forever.
This is a book ultimately about self-discovery, love, bravery, the meaning of family; about commitment, character…all tied into wonderful adventure, an exotic locale, and sprinkled with humor and sex. I never wanted the book to end, but the ending was very right, very satisfying. I hope there will be a sequel, though. I want to know what happens to the characters in the future!
Most definitely, Sleeping Tigers should be made into a film!