Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Safe Within

Author: Jean Reynolds Page
Goodreads Rating: 3.83
My Rating: 4 Stars
Pages: 325
Reviewed By: Nicole

I read The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds Page last summer and loved it, so each time the chance to read another of her books comes up, I seem to jump at it. I got The Last Summer of Her Other Life at Borders as it closed on a whim and her book Leaving Before it's Over was a Free Friday book for the Nook. So when the chance to review it for her blog tour came up, I happily jumped at the chance to be one of the special 10 blogs mentioned on the back cover of the book. (Not mentioned by name, but all the same)

Amazon.com Synopses:

A novel of how family happens—whether you like it or not

Elaine and Carson Forsyth have returned to the tree house—Elaine's childhood home, a cabin nestled high in the branches of two oaks beside a North Carolina lake—where forty-nine-year-old Carson has chosen to spend the waning days of his life. As Elaine prepares for a future without her beloved husband, their solace is interrupted. Carson's mother, Greta, has set loose a neighbor's herd of alpacas and landed herself in police custody. While Carson, remarkably, sees humor in the situation, Elaine can only question what her obligations are—and will be—to a woman who hasn't spoken to her in more than twenty years.

In the wake of Carson's death, Elaine and their grown son, Mick, are thrust into the maelstrom of Greta, the mother-in-law and grandmother who never accepted either of them. Just as they are trying to figure out their new roles in the family, Mick uncovers unexpected questions of his own. A long-ago teenage relationship with a local girl may have left him with more than just memories, and he must get to the bottom of Greta's surprising accusations that he's not Carson's son at all.
The most common theme that I have noticed in Page's books is the idea of forgiveness, and this book had a lot to do with coming to terms with things long past and learning to deal with these past hurts. This book was very much the same, the idea of this woman having to learn to forgive her mother-in-law following the death of her husband, was the focus. Although it stands to be said that it was more about Greta, the mother-in-law forgiving everyone else.

I found this book to be pretty funny, like when Greta, the elderly stubborn matriarch went head to head with her former BFF and threw down some pretty good zingers. The line that stands out to me the most though was Elaine talking to her 24 year old son and saying that "Greta is apparently different things to different people. For us she might be a character-building exercise. For Morty...? Who knows?" I felt that not only was that line pretty clever, but it also characterized Greta's relationship with her son's family perfectly, she may have been so nice to other people but for this family she had nothing but contempt.

I always love going on these journey's with characters because of how you gather the information. Very slowly at first until you have the whole picture and then you can decide how you feel about what happened. Plots like that, although intricate and wonderful, make the job of reviewer harder because I don't want to give too much away!

The character in this book are so vivid from Elaine, the new widow who can't seem to grasp her new life, to her son who has to keep his hormones in check, to the supporting cast of gossipy, wicked, towns people. This book is a quick mellow read with undertones of forgiveness and moving on after a great loss.

Thank you to TLC tours for giving me the chance to check out this book.

1 comment:

  1. "undertones of forgiveness and moving on after a great loss" - I love reading about people who deal positively with tragedy. This sounds like a wonderful read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.



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