After three years of desperation, her release may be a new beginning... or it may be her end. Miscarrying Theodore on Leap Day devastated Mandelyn and Henry in ways that weren’t obvious at first. As year followed year, postpartum depression, marital dysfunction, and ethical corruption quietly metastasized under the guise of a lovely home and stable careers. To free herself of yearning and regret, Mandelyn turns to journaling with a virtual counselor, waxing nostalgic for past loves—sharp-witted Joshua, mercurial Sam, and enigmatic Dante. Never mind that Joshua came out of the closet after years of chaste camaraderie, Sam toyed with her emotions, and Dante, after a steamy year that culminated in a summer trip to India, simply faded from her life without explanation. Never mind that, discovering her journals, Henry makes a heartbreaking decision: “I release you. Go. Find yourself. See if something or someone—in your past or in your future—holds the keys to your happiness. Maybe you’ll find that you have what you need somewhere inside you. If you don’t live this life fully, Mandelyn, it won’t be on my account. I think you know I love you, but if the character of my love doesn’t fulfill you, I don’t have anything else to offer. Quantum nonlocality, Proustian memory, and the energy vortexes of Sedona, Arizona play into the Odyssey takes through the chasms between science and religion, perception and reality, head and heart, love and lust, and forgiveness and gratitude.
I'm actively seeking guest bloggers and guest blogging opportunities. Let me know if you're interested in reaching my audience or having my audience reach you. www.hopenunki.com
I am a former professional mascot, signmaker, thespian, and school teacher. The common thread among these roles is a passion for illuminating common yet complex issues in accessible yet unusual ways. With a degree in theatre arts, communications, and English from Simpson College, I taught, directed plays, and coached speech teams in central Iowa before returning to my roots in the suburbs of Chicago.
With more than 15 years of experience in professional services marketing, I ghost-write and by-lines articles by day. By night, I volunteer her time and opinions far too easily and laugh really obnoxiously. I serve at the pleasure of my Alpha Chi Omega alumnae chapter, the local Panhellenic society, my daughters’ elementary school association, and the Society for Marketing Professional Services. I practice hatha yoga intermittently and run 5K races poorly. My husband and I are raising four daughters who are convinced we are the modern day incarnation of the March family.
Hope is not my real name, but it’s easier to say and spell correctly than my real name.
“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…” ~ Timothy Leary
“We need to dream more and not to be ashamed of dreaming; and we need to have another dream come true, else we forget and become like owls – not only brooding in darkness, but not believing there is any such thing as light.” ~ Daniel Burnham
I highly recommend Release, by Hope Russell Nunki. Fans of Tana French or Sara Gruen will enjoy the lyrical narration, while those inclined towards literary fiction will be surprised by Nunki's stark display of human faults and failings. The portrait of the contemporary human condition is at once startling and oddly familiar. Accessible, but thought provoking, this debut is certain to become a book club favorite. It is truly an enjoyable read- start to finish. Remarkable!
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I have to say that this book was just ok for me. It was also really up and down for me and felt a little drawn out. It may be just that this is not a book for me. I think the author is a strong writer but I feel like the story needs better execution.
I liked the storyline of this book. We have Mandelyn who suffers a miscarriage and feels inadequate because of that which results in a strain on her life and marriage. This story is her journey to find some happiness, self worth and forgiveness of others and more importantly herself.
I feel like there were parts in this book that did not need to be in the story because it did not really impact the story itself. It made the story more complicated and confusing which led to being a bit boring at times. I almost put the book down a couple of times, but persevered and read a couple more pages and the pace picked up again. It could have easily sufficed being a smaller novel which would have made the pacing better. I thought the imagery in the book was good but sometimes it was a bit much with the descriptions.
I was annoyed with the main character, Mandelyn, much of the time. Men treated her poorly or tended to play games with her and she did not really react or stand up for herself, like it was ok. She came across as weak and I wanted her to be much stronger. As the book went on she did become a stronger person but it seemed a little late at that point. But then again it is a 'learning' story so that was probably the Authors intent. I really did not relate to any of the characters, nor did I like too many of them. I guess I favored Joshua more than any of the others. I think he was written pretty well and enjoyed his character.
I am giving this book a 2.5 stars, if it were shorter then I think it would have easily reach 3.5 or 4 stars. I feel like you need a substantial amount of patience to read this book. If you have that then that is who I would recommend this book to.
This was a very good read from a first-time author! The character development was excellent, and the story was very descriptive without being overbearing. I tend to get a little lost when stories have too many descriptive words, but this was a well paced book, and kept my attention the full way through! Can't wait to see what else this author comes out with next, as she is one I would read from again!
Rounded up from a 2.5. I don't know if I'm the appropriate audience for this book as I don't particularly care for romance novels. Still, I wanted to love this book, I really did. I thought I would be able to relate Mandelyn's story, having been through a lot of miscarriages myself (though mine were much earlier than hers); however, I just found her self-absorbed and grating.
I thought that a lot of the dialogue was well-written, but I got bogged down in the overabundance of detail in the narrative. I feel like a good 25% of the book could have been excised without losing any of the main plot. I appreciate that the author did a exhaustive research in preparation for writing, I just felt like it could have been shorter.
All in all, the story was good enough to keep me reading, so this book definitely has that to its credit. I expect to see better and better things from this author.
When tragedy hits your life, you're faced with the question, of "How do I put my life back together, after something so devastating? How do I pick up the pieces of what was, and make something new, and beautiful out of it?"
The path back to "normal" isn't neat and tidy. I feel that Hope has written a book that illustrates this very well. I finished this book in 3 days, I was drawn into the story, and the characters. I didn't necessarily like all of them, but they felt real to me.
The tragedy in this book was different than the one that affected my family. But sometimes you read something that hits you deeply. And reminds you of the lessons hard won through life’s experiences.
I did receive this book free from Goodreads. Realistic adventures in life and a proficient story line that would appeal to most readers. Complexity of life as we all encounter, can you begin again ? This book may have a little of all of us in it! Looking forward to more from Hope.
I received this book as a free book, I believe through a Goodreads drawing, a couple years ago. At the time, I was going through a divorce and it wasn't something I could bring myself to read then. I'm so glad I packed it when we went on vacation to Ocean City, MD recently. It was very well-written and I identified with some of the feelings and reactions to those feelings that the protagonist, Mandelyn, had. The author's descriptions of Sedona, AZ lead me to research the area and put it on my list for a place to go on vacation soon.
There were parts of the this book I really liked and related to - the what ifs? the reminiscing on past relationships? the self exploration? the exploring magical lands while self reflecting. Parts of the book were a little too detailed, like some of the scientific details. I liked more of the personal relationships and interactions. Overall an enjoyable read.
Take this saying and hold it in your mind for a bit, if you will: 'If you love something, let it go. If if comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn't, then it was never meant to be.' (We will revisit this later)..... When I first started reading Release, I thought it was simply a story about a couple who had lost a child. Far from it. This book tapped into every single one of my emotions. As you would expect, there is heartache. When Mandelyn and Henry lose their little Theodore on leap day, I was devastated and not sure where the story was going. Mandelyn took me on a beautiful journey with her and if the truth be known, she is not alone in her self doubts. Many couples experience what she and Henry had evolved into....a marriage dying out at the fork in the road. Which path do you go on when you feel you've failed as a soul mate and as a parent? And how can you continue if you're not even sure you know yourself anymore? Out of desperation, Mandelyn resorts to something relatively new, called virtual counseling and taps into a pretty creepy world of self discovery with a counselor over the internet. When Henry discovers this, he does what he feels Mandelyn wants...He sets her free. On her quest to finding herself, Mandelyn sought answers by seeking out men from her past. Josuha, Sam and Dante - three men all very different who played significant roles at various times of her life. Mandelyn's journey finally takes us to the land of Sedonia,Arizona and New Mexico, where the book takes on a spiritual turn and I finally came to understand the beautiful redeeming message I believe the author was trying to relay. Not going to give any more spoilers, but just remember the first sentence I wrote in my review above... I highly recommend this touching story!
I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways, thank you!
"Release" was one of those books you really can't rush while reading, in order to pick up on the nuances of the writer and the flow of the story. I really enjoyed the writing style as the tale followed Mandelyn on her search to find true happiness. Mandelyn was a sympathetic and true to herself type of character. She is really struggling to come to terms with the loss of her and Henry's baby, Theodore. When Henry finally gets tired of the way they have been living, he 'releases' her to find herself. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Mandelyn's trip to Sedona and the things she experienced there with the vortexes and the people she talked to. Very colorful and amazing descriptors which were a joy to read. I won't give away the ending, but will just note that I really liked the way things came together and worked out. A great read and suitable for any reader, really. Thanks again for the book Goodreads!
I really enjoyed Hope Russell Nunki's novel. Her storytelling comes with ease, as if the reader is sitting down with a girlfriend and a good glass of wine sharing stories. Bits and pieces of the main character's life is revealed through the present and flashbacks. I love this style as it pulls you in trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together just as the main character is trying to do herself. A very impressive first novel!