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I really wanted some sort of clever title for this, but came up with nothing (and am trying to get better about SEO). I won an ARC ages ago from Shelf Awareness (this novel has been on sale since March), where it remained under my desk until I grabbed it to read in the park while I devoured my Subway (if we’re friends on Facebook, you’ll know I’m addicted to their limited edition Orchard Chix Salad footlong).
Though I hate drama and the unknown in real life, I like to read about it. So the promise of “mystery, betrayal, and family tragedy” had my expectations high.
This is Dianne Dixon’s debut novel, and she had me interested for the first few chapters, but also confused: how did this man know the address of his supposed estranged family, but not know the how, the why, or that they’ve died? Unfortunately, these questions are never answered to my satisfaction.
The chapters jump between time and narrator, and after having read the “twist” at the end I believe this author’s style was inspired by Jodi Picoult. It’s an interesting story, but I was left with wanting more. Not wanting more in a sequel, but left feeling unfilled by the explanations and discoveries given. There were too many plots running and none seemed to reach their potential, or a satisfactory conclusion.
THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS wasn’t unenjoyable; I believe if I had read this as a book club pick I would appreciate the discussion and insights from other people instead of leaving my questions bouncing around in my head unanswered. I will buy the next book from this author, but plan to download to my Kindle as I don’t think it would be one I would be compelled to keep in my (physical) library.
I love book blog tours and the lovely hosts at TLC, so was thrilled and honored (and more than a bit nervous) to join this tour for the recently released novel THE ONE THAT I WANT from beloved woman’s fiction author Allison Winn Scotch (visit her lively and fun blog here: http://www.allisonwinn.com/ask-allison). Though I’ve never read her previous two novels, I’m a dedicated follower of Allison on Twitter (@aswinn) and had been hoping to get my hands on her work.
The gorgeous cover initially drew me in. At first glance, it seems to depict a joyful child… when upon cracking open the spine, I realized the “child” on the front was actually Tilly Farmer, main protagonist and a woman who in her 30s had managed to maintain a childlike innocence and happiness. Married to her high school sweetheart, Tilly was content in her unchallenged, consistent, and mundane small town life.
Being from a small town myself, I understood Tilly’s comfort in her in life – knowing everyone and everything, with very few surprises. However, I related much more to the feelings of her husband Tyler, who felt restricted, as if he had settled too early and was missing out on trying new things and new ventures.
Tilly is similar to many people I knew in high school that were content to settle down and make a life for themselves and their family, on the same street they had always known and continued to go to the same grocery store and walk their dog past the same houses. I found it rather frustrating that it took magic forced upon Tilly by an old friend and fortune teller for her to open her eyes and realize that there may be more to life; that her husband may not be sharing her feelings of simple contentedness and things may not always be as they appear.
I’m not usually a paranormal reader, but the “magic” that allowed Tilly to see the future didn’t turn me off, since it just helped her open her eyes to what was already there. Tilly was a tough character for me to root for. You want people to be happy (and I totally believe in happy endings), but she was only happy in her ignorance – which drives me crazy. Like when yet another person from my small town marries their high school sweetheart without having left the state, I kept on asking myself “This is all you want from life? You’re happy with just this?”
Allison writes very convincingly of life in a small town, which intrigues me, since I know from Twitter that she lives in NYC (which is far from Tilly’s comfort zone). The one day it took me to read this book made me have feelings all over the map – a sense of comradeship with Tilly at the beginning over the comfort she feels in her small town, to disgust that she is unwilling to look at her husband’s dreams, to a feeling of “finally! You get it!” towards the end. I must admit, the ending did surprise me. I don’t think this is a spoiler, but just a warning ending is going to be discussed: I was pleased with THE ONE THAT I WANT not having a cookie-cutter happy ending, but I do wish Tilly had expanded her wings just a little bit more instead of throwing in the towel.
I enjoyed THE ONE THAT I WANT and if you’re looking for a not-totally light hearted but still enjoyable summer read, encourage you to pick this one up! While the storyline has been told before, Allison is talented at weaving in many facets (sisterly relationships, a mother’s death, a father’s drunkenness, high school memories) to make it a fresh tale.
I haven’t had my fingers cut off, but I have felt awfully incapable of blogging lately. Maybe because I’m so nervous in anticipation of my first ever blog tour post that’s slated to go up tomorrow! So yes, that means I WILL be updating tomorrow, since I’m a stickler for deadlines, even though I am very, very nervous…
In the meantime, I suggest that you entertain yourselves with two book trailers I’ve recently worked on, both for HOW DID YOU GET THIS NUMBER (since I’m a far more productive worker than blogger, though I love both endeavors).
In case you don’t immediately fall in love with the bear, here’s the book jacket to help you make the connection-