This delightful Debut from Author, Claire Huston, hits all the right marks to keep the reader turning the pages. Our protagonist, Becky Watson, is a single mom with a two year old. She is juggling motherhood and a return to her work as a Life Coach. She’s gifted at keeping weddings on track, even though her clients are often the spoiled well-to-do in this upscale New England town. Through the sister of a handsome, reclusive artist who needs a reboot, Becky takes Charlie on as a client. She gets more than she bargained for. Charlie, who was once an acclaimed artist, hasn’t painted in years. He is grumpy and depressed because his wife left him years before. He isn’t over it. He hides out in his studio while his young daughter worries he’ll never be the father he once was. Becky, struggling with finances, needs this job so she promises more than she thinks she can deliver. Yet, dedicated life coach that she is, through trial and error, she manages to get Charlie back on track, even though while doing so she begins to fall for his off beat charm. At the same time, Charlie becomes enamored with the gallery curator, the beautiful Rachel, introduced to him by Becky. During the course of getting Charlie back on track, Becky and Charlie find they have more in common then previously thought. They become close friends. But will Charlie see beyond Rachel’s beauty to realize how important Becky has become to him? This heartwarming, contemporary novel keeps the reader engaged throughout. I loved all of the characters and the author’s deep understanding of what motivates each character. I highly recommend this wonderful novel.
I’d seen the name when I’d planned the route… though ‘planned’ may be stretching things a bit far; I had a vague idea and my companion had a map. From Kilpeck to Rhyader, somewhere near which we would find our hotel, there are perfectly good ‘A’ roads and the fifty mile trip should take no more than about an hour. But with a ‘B’ road that passes through something called Golden Valley, and through villages with names like Kingstone and Dorstone before leading you up a track called Arthur’s Stone Lane… well, the ‘A’ roads were never really an option. Especially when I’d seen ‘King Arthur’s Stone’ marked in telltale brown on the map.
Not that we had any idea what King Arthur’s Stone might be. “Probably just an erratic,” and if so, we would probably miss it. Such things are seldom signposted and one odd boulder in a field…
Author, Elizabeth Gauffreau, totally immerses the reader into a by gone time, a time when vaudeville shows captured the imagination of both young and old. It was also a time of innocence. It is 1924 in a rural town in Vermont where time seems to move at a snail’s pace. Or so it seems to Faby, a young girl on the cusp of adulthood. Newly graduated from high school, Faby is waiting for her life to begin. When a handsome young man, a hoofer in the vaudeville show that has entranced Faby, shows interest in her, Faby’s choice leads her into a life for which she is unprepared. Author, Gauffreau, tells Faby’s story with depth and poignancy. This novel is deeply researched and rich with details of life in the early part of the century. With the ease of a writer who knows her craft, the author immerses the reader not only into a bygone time, but into the mindset of a young girl grappling with the unexpected turn her life has taken. It is also a story of family and of the ties that bind.
Poignant and beautifully written, I highly recommend this remarkable novel.
I am very pleased to share that I was recently interviewed by Maggie Smith of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association for the podcast “Hear Us Roar.” I roar to Maggie about my debut novel Telling Sonny: what the book is about, the process of researching and writing it, and the road to publication.
We were, as always, up and out early. This time we were on a mission of hope… we hoped the church would be open, as it looked too good to miss and we were meeting the girls a few miles away that morning too.
You might have thought we’d be all churched out after the marathon on Saturday, where we had visited seven of them, but each one is an adventure… you never know what you will find. What we found in Tavistock was an open door and morning prayers in progress. Withdrawing quietly, out of respect, we went for a walk through the old town, watched the birds foraging for breakfast… then tried again. This time, we were in luck.
The church of St Eustachius is one of only two dedicated to the saint in Britain. Eustachius was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity in the second century…
Leaving the church, we gathered in the little garden beside it which, so the church’s Keeper of the Keys would later tell us, had been sold to them for the princely sum of £1, with the sole proviso that the garden be used. Beside its gate is another fragment of the old Abbey, bearing once again the symbol of St Catherine’s wheel… which seemed fairly appropriate considering what we were about to do.
The gardens are a beautiful and peaceful spot, tucked under the wing of the church. The air is fragrant with the perfume of herbs and old roses. Apples grow on carefully tended trees and there are bees and butterflies in abundance. We gathered around a small, paved square lined with benches to start the next part of our adventure.
We had been convinced to hold a workshop at Cerne Abbas because of a feeling and a…