Novel Emphasizes Importance of Friendship #FridayFunReads #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

Crossing to Safety

by Wallace Stegner

Copyright 2002

 

What Amazon Says

 

Called a “magnificently crafted story . . . brimming with wisdom” by Howard Frank Mosher in The Washington Post Book World, Crossing to Safety has, since its publication in 1987, established itself as one of the greatest and most cherished American novels of the twentieth century. Tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin, it is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

The introduction by Terry Tempest Williams is too long and drawn out and contains unnecessary spoilers. Since there’s plenty of foreshadowing of what’s to come at the beginning, these didn’t need to be included. But Williams explains how she knew Wallace Stegner, which adds a nice touch.

I like the way these four friends stick together for four decades, supporting each other through good times and bad. The plot and believable characters held my interest throughout the book.

The afterward by T. H. Watkins provides some interesting insights into Stegner’s life and the inspiration behind this, his last novel. If you’re looking for a heartwarming story about friendship that endures, Crossing to Safety is for you.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Facebook

Website

 

 

Red Dress Memories #OpenBookBlogHop #Excerpts #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “What’s the worst wound (emotional or physical) one of your characters has ever had to deal with? How did you react to writing the scene?”

In The Red Dress, my main character Eve attends her high school senior prom with the boy of her dreams. Then something happens. At the time, Eve is wearing a red dress her mother made for her. After the incident, she wants nothing to do with the memories associated with that dress. In the following scene, Eve tells her college roommate the whole story.

***

Eve found herself blurting it all out.

“Mom made that dress for my senior prom. I had a date with Trent Boyer, the cutest boy in school. He was the captain of the football team, and I loved watching him play.”

“Wow, just like Alex.”

“Yeah. Well, at the prom, we danced to that song, and I felt like I truly loved him, and I thought he loved me. Afterwards, he said he had to use the restroom. Other boys asked me to dance, and I got to talking with my friends, and when I looked around the gym later, I couldn’t find him. I asked my friends if they’d seen him, and they just shook their heads.”

“Oh, gosh.”

“Like I said, I thought he loved me. I didn’t think he’d leave me. I decided to go out to the parking lot to see if his car was still there. He’d dropped me off at the entrance, so I didn’t know where he’d parked. It took me a while to find his car, but I did, in a dark corner up against the fence by the football field. I looked in the window and saw two figures in the back seat.”

“Oh, my God.”

“I thought I was imagining things. I was on the driver’s side, so I opened that door, and of course the light came on, and there they were, Trent and my best friend, Adele Matthews. Or at least I thought she was my best friend.”

Eve paused to fight back more tears, and Charlene asked, “Were they actually having sex, or were they just necking?”

“They were totally naked. Of course they stopped when I opened the door, and they both looked at me like I was from another planet or something. I said a few choice words I’d learned from my dad, then slammed the door and ran back into the building.”

***

So, you’re probably wondering who Alex is. Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out and learn what happens next. You can click here to participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ responses.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

 

Accepting and Walking the Journey of a Committed Guide Dog Handler #WordPress Wednesday #Reblogs #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

According to fellow author Patty Fletcher, who has written about her experiences with guide dogs, many people don’t understand that handling a guide dog is different from having a dog as a pet. In order for a blind handler to develop and continue a good working relationship with a dog, handler and dog must be inseparable at all times. The handler relies on the dog to help him/her navigate both indoors and outside.

Surely you wouldn’t ask a friend who depends on oxygen to leave his/her portable tank at home when you go out to eat. The same goes for guide dogs. Now, here’s Patty to elaborate.

***

Today, is forecast to be cloudy and a bit rainy but as I say, the sun is always shining behind the clouds.

Anyhow, this afternoon, I’m Pleased and Privileged to be going out with a friend for another birthday celebration. This makes two friends who have taken me out this year, which is kind of a new thing for me. It’s been many years since I had real friends. Let alone friends who wanted to be part of my life in such a way as to go out with me and my guide dogs.

Read the rest on Patty’s Worlds here.

Friendship in the Face of Bigotry #FridayFunReads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Have You Seen Luis Velez?

by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Copyright 2019.

 

What Amazon Says

 

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde brings heartwarming authenticity to the story of two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear.

Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?

Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.

Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

It’s interesting how we don’t learn right away that Raymond is black. In the beginning, it’s clear that his mother, half sisters, and stepfather, who are all white, are, for the most part, indifferent to him. But the possible reason for this doesn’t come out until later.

I like the author’s realistic portrayal of blindness. Mrs. Gutermann instructs Raymond to put items in her apartment back where he found them. She uses her white cane when out walking with him.

I also recommend this book for its accurate depiction of racism in today’s society. Despite downfall caused by such prejudice, the ending will leave you feeling good.

***

For those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

***

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

A Teenagers Favorites List #OpenBookBlogHop

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. Today’s question is: “Write a top 10 list in the voice of a character. Is your character a person making a bucket list? How about someone listing their greatest fears? What does the list they make say about the character?

***

To me, a top ten list for one of my characters was a tall order. So, I shortened it to five. This list is for my main character Eve’s son in The Red Dress. This should tell you something about him and make you want to read the book, if you haven’t already done so.

***

Thomas Sawyer’s Five Favorite Things

1. My Favorite Baseball Team: The Colorado Rockies. They don’t always play very well, but that’s okay. Their home is in Denver, not far from where I lived, Colorado Springs. Dad and I went to their games whenever we could. For my thirteenth birthday, Mom gave us two tickets, which was really awesome, although they lost big time.

2. Favorite Book: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Dad read that book to me when I was younger. He said that when he and Mom first met, she asked him if he was related to Tom Sawyer in the book. That’s why they named me Thomas.
3. Favorite Food: Mom’s Enchilada Casserole. For as long as I could remember, that was the only thing she made from scratch. Because she was so busy writing, most of the time, she put a frozen meal in the oven, and that was it. But then, she started getting recipes for meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole, and other things. She even learned how to make oatmeal. But her enchilada casserole hit a home run for me every time.
4. Riding My Bike and Hanging Out with My Buddy Andy. I also got a new bike for my birthday. Andy got one for his birthday a few months earlier. So, the two of us had brand new bikes. We also liked going swimming when our folks could take us.
5. Doing Cool Stuff with My Dad. Not only did we go to ball games, but we also played ball in the park a lot. Once, I had to whitewash the fence, just like Tom Sawyer in the book. But I didn’t have to do it by myself. Dad and I did it together, and it was fun.

***

How about you? If you’re not an author, maybe you could make a top five or top ten list about yourself and put it in the comment field below. If you’re a blogger and would like to participate in this week’s hop, click here.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website