What a wonderful debut novel! A big, extended, soon to be seen as dysfunctional family gathers at beautiful Sanibel Island off Florida to celebrate thWhat a wonderful debut novel! A big, extended, soon to be seen as dysfunctional family gathers at beautiful Sanibel Island off Florida to celebrate their parents' 50th anniversary. Set against the lush island's locale - the surf, gorgeous sunsets, seashells and shorebirds - we see explored the intense and often so difficult theme of family: love and commitment, infidelity, parents' issues with children both young and adult, sibling rivalry, and marriage gone stale. We also see forgiveness and reconciliation. What is most moving is how the author shows her characters fall from grace, and then struggle back to either change or accept what they cannot change and move on. Kudos to Linda Abbott for creating characters that shine through and prevail, despite their flaws. It is a beautiful story. Five stars! Highly recommended! ...more
Oh what gorgeous writing. This is a deeply moving story of love, of World War II and rationing and the music of that era, but mostly it's a story of tOh what gorgeous writing. This is a deeply moving story of love, of World War II and rationing and the music of that era, but mostly it's a story of the heartbreak of Alzheimer's. Len is a soldier who falls in love with an exquisite young concert pianist. He isn't sophisticated, but becomes enthralled with Natasha's musical passion. She's a fragile girl, however, prone to mood swings. The two love each other and marry, but as the years and decades pass they continue to be very different people.
Cruelly, Alzheimer's hits when Natasha is only forty-five. One's heart breaks to hear Lenny ask, "What is it, dear?" Natasha, who he's just described as treating him like a stranger, answers, "I just sat down at my piano and tried to buckle my seat belt."
This is harrowing. You feel Lenny's sense of loss and emotional devastation. The author's own passion draws you in, makes you feel every wrench of what the characters feel. This powerful, poignant story is absolutely mesmerizing....more
Adult children of divorce, estrangement, and guilt. This story of a dysfunctional family will resound in every heart.
Ben, aged 28, returns home afterAdult children of divorce, estrangement, and guilt. This story of a dysfunctional family will resound in every heart.
Ben, aged 28, returns home after many years, still bitter about the divorce of his parents, Lenny and Natasha. He meets Lenny's new young bride, Anita, and is troubled to find himself attracted to her. His dismay deepens when he learns that his mother Natasha, once a brilliant pianist who he'd thought was on a world concert tour, is instead in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimers.
The story is told alternately through two points of view, Ben's and Anita's. Though uneducated, Anita is a diamond in the rough character who's had a tough life. She's likeable, and feels alone because Lenny, a writer, is self-centered and distant. Lenny has encouraged Ben and Anita to record their thoughts on a tape recorder, which is how we hear their two points of view. Too late, the pair discover that Lenny is listening to their tapes and putting them into his own writing - likely fabricating his own novel from the thoughts of his unhappy son and equally unhappy new wife. How to deal with this heartbreaking, tangled web?
This eloquently written tale provides a look into the long-term emotional scars a broken home leaves on everyone involved. The author's skill shows in her depiction of the three alternating voices of Lenny, Ben and Anita. They are all very different voices, yet each conveys the complex love that both binds them and tears them apart. Highly recommended!...more
A terrifying tale of the most devastating pandemic in the history of the world, and the race to find tissue samples from victims 80 years later to disA terrifying tale of the most devastating pandemic in the history of the world, and the race to find tissue samples from victims 80 years later to discover the genetic make up of this flu, and create a vaccine. What is truly frightening is that both the author - an esteemed health science writer - as well as public health officials warn that another similarly virulent pandemic flu outbreak is not only possible but is in fact probable. A must read, 5 stars...more