Hope After Adversity #FridayFunReads #Fiction #Inspiration

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

 

How to Walk Away: A Novel

by Katherine Center

Copyright 2018.

 

What Amazon Says

 

From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes the instant New York Times bestseller (May 2018), an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best—a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.

 

Buy from Amazon.

 

My Thoughts

 

Given my experience with my late husband Bill, who was partially paralyzed by two strokes, I don’t think this book accurately portrays paralysis. Granted, in the hospital, the author shows Margaret learning to use a transfer board to move from her bed to her wheelchair, and she touches on how Margaret learns to perform certain tasks through physical and occupational therapy. But once Margaret is discharged from the hospital, other than a ramp being built to allow her easy access to her parents’ house, no mention is made of grab bars or other equipment she needs to help her accomplish daily living tasks.

Some authors might think this sort of thing could be left to the reader’s imagination. But some readers who are unfamiliar with paralysis might think it’s easy for people with no use of their legs to manage. However, as Margaret points out in the epilog, losing the use of her legs was the hardest thing for her. This could have been shown earlier in the book.

That having been said, I was hooked from the first page. I liked how the author drew me into Margaret’s story by telling it from her first-person point of view. I loved Ian and couldn’t help wondering what would have happened had Bill worked with a physical therapist like him soon after transferring to the nursing home to recuperate from his first stroke. If Bill were still alive and reading this, he could have identified with Margaret’s feelings of sadness, anger, and frustration during her recovery. If you like a sweet love story with a feel-good ending and no explicit descriptions of sex, you don’t want to walk away from this  book.

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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?

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A Compelling Adventure Story of Forgiveness #Friday Fun Reads

Things You Save in a Fire: A Novel

by Katherine Center

Copyright 2019.

 

What Amazon Says

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about courage, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew—even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all—the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become.

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt and healing tour-de-force about the strength of vulnerability, the nourishing magic of forgiveness, and the life-changing power of defining courage, at last, for yourself.

 

My Thoughts

 

With plenty of riveting action and compelling dialog, this book was hard to put down, especially close to the end. According to the acknowledgements, the author’s husband, a firefighter, helped her with the book.

Two ironies struck me. First of all, most firefighters I’ve met have been nice. But these firemen can make a new crew member’s life miserable, especially if that crew member is a woman.

Also, there seems to be a rule, written or not, that firefighters can’t become romantically involved with other firefighters. Cassie and the rookie are aware of this but eventually no longer able to deny their attraction to each other. It’s interesting to see how they get out of the awkward position in which this places them.

I also enjoyed learning some things about firefighting I hadn’t known before. The ending is satisfying, and I’ll definitely read more of this author’s work.

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By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

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.

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