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Shelter Me

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  8,111 ratings  ·  909 reviews
In the tradition of Marisa de los Santos and Anne Tyler comes a moving debut about a young mother's year of heartbreak, loss, and forgiveness...and help that arrives from unexpected sources

Four months after her husband's death, Janie LaMarche remains undone by grief and anger. Her mourning is disrupted, however, by the unexpected arrival of a builder with a contract to add
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Avon Books (first published December 30th 2008)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  8,111 ratings  ·  909 reviews

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Apr 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Okay, I'm listing my own book -- how weird is that. However I did read it ... way too many times!
Mar 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is so amazing, especially since the author, Juliette Fay, admits she's never been widowed and that this book stemmed from her obsessive fear of losing her husband at a young age. In my case, this book was like looking in a mirror. There were times when I had to put it down and walk away as my sobbing disrupted my young daughter's play. Fay really reaches into that deep, dark place we widows walk daily in her beautiful yet flawed character. The young widow's attitudes, anger, ...more
Apr 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2009
Story about a woman who lost her husband in a bicycle accident, and how she must learn to carry on, with her young son and baby daughter. Of course she's mad, and doesn't want to get up in the morning, that's expected. This is about her friendships and how they eventually bring her out of the worst of the grieving period.

I didn't like this nearly as well as the others who have already reviewed it. Seemed like so much of it was drivel, not important to the story. Just boring parts. Maybe it was
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Staci by: Target Book Club and Heather
Shelves: 2009-reads
From my blog:

This is a new author to me and one that I will definitely be reading more of in the future. This book was truly a great read. I enjoyed how the author went between entries of Janie's journal and then back to the story. I loved Janie's character and even loved her when she would get pissed off and throw a fit. She misses her husband so much that she is drowning in the day-to-day monotony of life. With the help of her cousin and aunt, plus a few other
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book.
This is a story about a young widow left to raise two young children after the tragic death of her husband. He leaves behind a request to have a porch built on their house, a porch that will provide shelter for his family. There have been some discussions about the cover of the book. When I look at the cover I see a mother and her child wrapped in a patchwork quilt. Each patch represents an event, a memory, and a person that has provided some sort of assistance to
Miko Lee
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was ok

A widow with two small children learns about herself, her family and rediscovers love. At first I groaned another book that I picked up focused on a woman whose husband died, then as I got in to it I began to like the character. She is a Catholic woman who is really prickly, begins to fall in love with her priest and then falls for the guy who was predictable from the beginning – the carpenter (another bibilical reference!) who keeps adding work on the construction project to be near her. That
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, women-s-fiction
Warning: there are some minor spoilers.
2.5 stars. Mom of two young kids deals with her newly widowed status. Takes place in Massachusetts, with scenes on the Cape, a hallmark of women’s fiction. You have to have a beach house somewhere, right? There are some lovely, real, and raw scenes and it’s easy to root for the main character. She is winsome and flawed and completely believable. I enjoyed her relationship with her Aunt Jude (side note: there are a lot of names starting with J in this book).
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I will admit that I began reading this book assuming I wouldn't like it. Fay is one of my mother's good friends, and it's hard to imagine someone you know having the creativity and intelligence to publish a full-length novel, let alone a GOOD full-length novel. This book is also a genre I would not normally pick up/enjoy.

But read it I did, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I couldn't put the book down once I started- I had to find out what happened to the characters whom I quickly grew to
Jan 29, 2010 rated it liked it
I hesitate to given this three stars without explaining that I think that three stars is a decent rating. The main character is a young woman with two children widowed suddently. The novel takes you through the first year following her husband's accident and all of her emotional adjustment and angst. I found myself somewhat annoyed with her at times because of her insular approach to things, not realizing how her behavior and emotions might be affecting those around her simply trying to ...more
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect 'take me away' book! Fay's easy to read prose allows the reader to immediately identify with her main character. Without spoiling the plot, this tale of a grieving single mom, will make even the greatest cynic into a romantic. I loved the characters, setting, and recipes! (A book with food--Yum!)
Jane Stewart
Depressing and unpleasant. I don’t like the subject. It’s grief and an unlikeable heroine.

This is women’s fiction with some romance at the end. Janie’s husband died in a bicycle accident. The story takes place during the subsequent year.

It’s hard to like a book when you do not like the main character Janie. She is antagonistic, snide, snotty, insufferably irritable, sarcastic, angry, hurting others, and disrespectful to others. One character said to her “You snarl and snipe
Jul 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
A tragic bike accident leaves a family of four struggling to adjust to life as a family of three. A young mother of two: a toddler and an infant, navigates her new life with the help of eccentric characters and friends.

This book, much unlike the others I have read lately, is not a thrilling, page turner. Instead, it moved slowly. Almost too slowly at times. I nearly put this book back on the shelf a number of times but chose to plod through it and am glad I did. While I think chunks of this 415
I really enjoyed listening to this story. Julie LaMarche's husband, Robbie, is killed while out riding his bike and she is left alone to raise two young children. She is consumed by both anger and grief and then meets the contractor, Tug, who arrives to build her a porch, which was the last gift given to her by her husband.

There is so much in this story. The characters are quite colorful, from her crazy aunt to her flamboyant neighbor. I loved living the year through Julie's life. The ending???
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was really taken away by this story and in particular this author's writing style. The thing is it's not an unusual story line, however, the way the author presents it is what makes this book just so very enjoyable. About half way through I started worrying that it would be over. I didn't want the story to end! Lots of humor and wit in every page too. I would say run out to your library or to Target and buy this book!!
Apr 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Juliette Fay's writing is wonderful. She can paint detailed scenes with her words. Unfortunately she wasted a lot of this book painting dull, mundane scenes. I skipped pages after pages of details about the sandwiches the protagonist made for lunch, what she packed for the Cape, what she chose at a bakery, etc. Too bad.
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
What started out as just another "chick-lit" novel became, for me, a truly enjoyable read with characters I really cared about. Sprinkled throughout this tale of love and loss (or more accurately loss and love) are words of wisdom, some humor and a great deal of realism.

This is Juliette Fay's first novel - I hope it will not be her last. I will certainly look for her in the future.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I liked this book alot. It did drag for me abit about halfway but I'm so glad I finished it. Ended up really liking this story and became attached to the characters.
Aug 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: stopped-reading
For the first time EVER in my life, and upon the suggestion of a friend, I returned this book to the library when I was 196 pages invested. I was thoroughly disappointed and utterly disinterested.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is really hard to rate. I'd probably give it a 3 1/2. At some points I loved it and at other points I felt like it really dragged. the story is about loss and grief and the sometimes unexpected people in your life who step in when you really need them. I liked that theme and really enjoyed some of the relationships in the story, but I also felt like a lot of characters were a little underdeveloped.
this story is about Janie and her life after her husband is tragically killed in
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
Janie LaMarche has recently lost her husband Rob in a biking accident. In the four months since his death, she has been balanced on the edge of an overwhelmingly emotional crisis - teetering from heartwrenching grief to blazing anger from day to day. However, her mourning is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of a contractor with a building order to add a porch onto her house. Bewildered by his sudden arrival, Janie slowly realizes that the porch was actually meant to be a surprise from her ...more
Teri Pre
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book!
Mar 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Perhaps I should wait a day or two to write my thoughts about this book, since I just now finished reading it. I have been engrossed in it for the last two days. But my stack of books is tall, and I shouldn't wait lest I forget anything. I think I'll just make a list and see where it takes me.

1. I love the wonderful images Ms. Fay presents with her words.

2. I really, really dislike the foul language. When someone uses words as deftly and compellingly as this author, why would they resort to
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing

What a wonderful little find this was.

Janey is a newly-widowed mother of 38. Her husband died in a motorcycle accident that likely wouldn't have been fatal but for his own carelessness. Janey's grief and anger - released on everyone except her infant daughter and toddler son - have just about consumed her when she finds out about her husband's last gift: a new porch.

She doesn't want this conspicuous reminder of the presence he had in her life and the absence she now has to face. And she
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough how enjoyable I found the experience of reading this book. From the very first page, I felt like I was a part of Janie's life and felt a strong kinship with her pain and heavy grief. Although I am not a mother, nor am I married, the writing style allowed me to empathise with Janie's struggles, rather than to pity her and to admire the strength it took her just to get out of bed in the morning. It made me wonder how I would react if I found someone that I was committed to ...more
Mar 29, 2009 rated it liked it
So far, not liking it. The characters are sweet, but there are tons of tiny descriptive things in the book that are just not right for me. So not right, that they arrest me in the middle of sentences to re-write them. So not right, that she drops useful details so late in the story that you have already developed a different image in your mind in order to fill in what she has left blank.

Some examples:

She describes her baby as sleeping with her arms over her head as if she were "preparing to
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
The staggeringly high GR rating convinced me to set aside my instincts (this looks dumb! Title and cover echo the sentiment! A brief skim shows that much dialogue is in all caps which basically guarantees that this will be BAD!) and read this despite myself, and while it was not as bad as I thought, it was not much better.
Shelter Me takes on the incredibly whiny and unlikable Jane who has lost her husband and now has to take care of her two kids. Jane is a miserable ingrate who blithely accepts
Steph Hundt
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My sister told me to read this book after she finished it so I was quite sure I would love it. She knows exactly the kind of book I like. The last book she told me to read was The Help so she doesn't throw these recommendations around lightly!
I started this novel and fell headfirst into it within the first chapter! The characters are vivid, real, and flawed. Janie is a 38 year old mother with 2 young children in the grips of sorrow after the loss of her husband Robby in a freak bike accident.
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
You wouldn't think a book about a 38-year-old new widow with two small children could be hilarious, hopeful, and uplifting, but "Shelter Me" does just that. Then there are scenes that are so heart-breakingly full of raw grief or sweet poignancy, that your eyes tear up. I think it's this rollercoaster of emotions that makes Janie LaMarche's first year of being a widow, putting the pieces of her life back together, feel so realistic and satisfying.

Janie LaMarche is such a delightful protagonist. I
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Girlfriend, wife, mother, widow...all these titles describe the main character's roles in life as the story unfolded.

Her first year as a widowed mother of two young children was very emotional..she had outbursts that made people stay away and that even included family who she alienated, but as the year wore on she realized she needed everyone and they were trying to help her through this difficult time since her young husband was killed in an accident.

Her life wasn't without love, though...the
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I read this book in less than 24 hours. It wasn't necessarily because it was such an amazing book but it was more because I have always wondered what I would do if my husband were to unexpectedly die. What decisions would I make? How would I respond? I was sucked into Janie's life as she dealt with this life altering event. I admired her commitment to her children as she slogged through the first year following her husband's death. I really enjoyed her Aunt Jude and her lessons in serving and ...more
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Juliette Fay is the author of THE TUMBLING TURNER SISTERS, a USA Today bestseller and Costco Pennie’s Book Club Pick. Previous novels include THE SHORTEST WAY HOME, one of Library Journal‘s Top 5 Best Books of 2012: Women’s Fiction; DEEP DOWN TRUE, short-listed for the Women’s Fiction award by the American Library Association; and SHELTER ME, an Indie Next pick and Massachusetts Book Award “ ...more
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“Loneliness is painful. But suffering is not wrong in and of itself. It's part of the human experience, and in a way brings us closer to all people.” 18 likes
“The Magi in my life have always surprised me. They have often been people I initially felt I had nothing in common with. Sometimes I didn't even like them. But they came bearing gifts. Of wisdom, or acceptance. One or two came to give me a kick in the pants...and some left as suddenly as they came. They returned to their respective homelands or continued on their own journeys. I miss some of them... But we all have to find our way toward what ever miracle awaits us. And to perform miracles, when it is in our power to do so. Maybe the most important question is: how do I serve the Magi for others? How generously do I give my gifts - and not just to the obvious recipients in my life? How far out of my way do go to recognize and pay homage to miracles? Not very far some days. But on good days, just far enough. ” 8 likes
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