Book Review: The Rift Between Us

When Dad died. Maria, Lauren, and Avery figured they’d never see each other again. Why would they? They hadn’t spoken to each other in two years. But even from the grave, Dad plans to see them become a family again, in The Rift Between Us.

Rebecca L. Marsh, author of When the Storm Ends, now gives fans a second novel: The Rift Between Us. Another wonderful women’s fiction piece, none of my followers will want to miss this great story, filled with life-like characters and real-life problems.

My Thoughts on The Rift Between Us

We look across the auditoriums, restaurants, and church pews at all the people who have life figured out and wonder what’s wrong with us. We’ve gained so much weight our shoes don’t fit, our kids fight nonstop, and the dog has yet to find the patch of grass in the backyard. When is it our turn? When do we get to live a perfect life? And with each question we ask, we refuse to let anyone in on our secrets. After all, what would they think if they knew the truth?

The preface isn’t new. If anything it’s timeless. We listen and enjoy stories with such themes because no matter how much we try to remind ourselves that no one has a perfect life, we forget.

Marsh takes this simple theme and builds her story around it. A widowed father of three daughters raised them into adulthood. Unfortunately, as adults, the secrets they keep from each other are too heavy for any one of them to carry alone. They need sisters, but only Dad knows it.

When trying to bring his girls back together in life fails, this dad gives it one more shot after death. If they want their lofty inheritances, they have to fulfill a difficult task.

The climax of The Rift Between Us comes earlier than in most books, and Marsh spends a good amount of time wrapping up the resolution. In most stories, I find a long resolution boring. However, this wasn’t the case this time around. It’s during the resolution that the characters grow, similar to how we grow in real life. And considering the genre, I find this acceptable and even necessary for this story.

Readers of The Rift Between Us follows the points of view of sisters Maria, Lauren, and Avery. Marsh’s exceptional writing brings depth to each woman, as we experience their anger, fears, and passions. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself with tears in your eyes searching for a box of tissues. These characters are sure to touch your heart. They sure touched mine.

Official Blurb

After a family dinner turns into a bitter fight, sisters Maria, Lauren, and Avery decide to go their separate ways. Their father warns them that someday they will need one another. When he dies suddenly, they learn that he intends to make sure that they do. He’s left them a substantial inheritance, far more than any of them ever imagined.

There’s just one catch. If they want the money, they will have to spend two weeks together at a secluded lake house and follow all of their father’s instructions—no matter how strange.

Their task seems simple enough, but each one is holding onto painful secrets and old grudges the others know nothing about. But if they can learn to trust each other again, they might be able to mend the rift between them and give their father his dying wish.

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Watch Amazon for The Rift Between Us. Coming July 2019

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Book Review: The Stationmaster’s Cottage

When Christie Ryan attends her Gran’s funeral against her fiance’s wishes, she’s suddenly faced with an unexpected inheritance in The Stationmaster’s Cottage by Phillipa Nefri Clark.

Phillipa Nefri Clark, an Australian author of women’s fiction, released a new edition of The Stationmaster’s Cottage in April. Newly edited, this novel from the River’s End series stands alone with ease and brings to life characters from two generations with overlapping love stories.

My Thoughts on The Stationmaster’s Cottage

We look at our families and their histories and wonder at our ancestors’ lives. How did they live? Were they happy? Are there aunts or uncles we know nothing about? What about cousins? As we dive into boxes left behind and find pictures, documents, and keepsakes we know nothing about, mysteries unfold before our eyes. Can we put aside those mysteries? When I discovered my own family history mystery, I couldn’t, and neither can Christie.

Christie Ryan finds her own family history mystery, and it’s a doozy! Moreover, it seems to include the moody artist that lives on the beach. Add to that a fiance that asks her to spend more time with him, and then seems interested in everything but her, and the story of the stationmaster’s cottage lines up.

It sounds like a romance, but there is plenty more to this novel. Christie struggles to find herself and determine what she really wants in life. She also finds herself yearning for more information about the great-aunt no one told her about. In the meantime, she deals with contradicting emotions over Gran’s death.

This book is written exceptionally well. The characters come to life and draw you in. Where one-dimensional characters are often used by authors, Clark adds just the right amount of dimension.

The Stationmaster’s Cottage is easy to recommend and is a book you’re sure to love.

Official Blurb

“There are secrets in that cottage. Questions needing answers.”

Those words gave Christie Ryan a reason to stay in River’s End, when she should have gone home after Gran’s funeral. Inheriting a rundown cottage, far from her jet-setting life, she is drawn into a fifty-year-old mystery.
Who wrote the letters hidden in the attic, an outpouring of love to a woman Christie suspects she is related to? What is the significance of a damaged painting kept by Gran but clearly painted in this seaside town?

Local artist Martin Blake may have the answers she seeks, but refuses to help. His dog adores Christie, but Martin keeps his feelings locked away.

As Christie faces difficult decisions about her own future, will the consequences of righting old wrongs be too high a price to pay?

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Purchase your copy of The Stationmaster’s Cottage on Amazon.

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Book Review: The Governess

Despite an abusive husband and rumors circulating through top society, Jane finds a position in the home of society’ finest, in The Governess.

Despite being thrown out of her precious home by an abusive husband and the terrible rumors surrounding her name, Jane finds work in one of the finest households in Berkshire in The Governess.

Noorilhuda, a debut author, has written a story filled with personal trials. Characters overcome grief, abuse, and gossip. The storyline carries through The Governess well, but it is one book with several areas that require readers' caution.

My Thoughts on The Governess

I picked up a copy of The Governess after receiving a review request from Noorilhuda through email that included dates the book would be free on Amazon.

Touted as a well-received, and well-reviewed by such organizations as The Historical Novel Society and Midwest Book Review, I expected more than I should have from The Governess.

Instead of a well-edited and researched story, I found the shell of a novel, that with a little work, could have been a wonderful read. Sadly, the editing felt non-existent. Lines of dialogue were clumped together in single paragraphs, one speaker on top of another. And without proper formatting and few dialogue tags, there are still some lines my mind has not assigned to a specific character. Though editing was the biggest problem, it was far from the only one.

Descriptions of orange trees and mangoes growing in the cold England climate immediately caught my attention, as did the use of certain words within characters' thoughts that were non-existent in during the 1830s, such as peeved. They stood out. Other times, words with similar phonetics were found instead of the correct words, reminding me of such phrases as for all intensive purposes.

Suggested as a clean book, The Governess mentions the main aspect of sex several times in one line zingers that sometimes come out of nowhere. The most memorable comes when John Lockwood is lamenting the death of his wife, which occurred more than five years earlier—the deed, which is described in one line quite crudely—is what comes to his mind instead of her true characteristics and his purpose for loving her. It struck me as odd. That said, there is no explicit sex scene or scenes that required skipping pages, just lines that I wanted to black out with a Sharpie.

The shell of the story is decent. A woman, accused of having an affair, who has been thrown out on her ear by her husband and society, becomes the governess to children of one of society's elite. Something much of society finds egregious. Moreover, the children's widowed father has an affair with a married woman who is also well-respected in society, despite everyone's knowledge of their fraternizing.

Through the slow-moving story, the governess affects the household and changes within the home weave their way into the pages. A great deal about Mr. Lockwood's mistress could be left out. But other than that, the pacing is reasonable for the genre.

Though The Governess intended Jane to be the main character, I struggle to say that she is. I find John Lockwood, the widowed father, struggles most with inner turmoils and that he is the character who shows the most growth. Whereas Jane tends to stand her ground through every bit of turmoil. She shows strength despite her nasty plight. Most of her growth takes place in the backstory, enabling her to be the moral beacon in the Lockwood home.

Obviously, this is not a book I recommend. However, if you choose to pick it up, I hope the information found here enables you look past the errors and enjoy the storyline.

The Official Blurb

“You make it seem like the cross was yours to bear, alone, do you really think you are brave? Let me tell you, who the brave one is, it’s each and every member of your family who didn’t slap you silly the first time you went awry, the first time you brushed your children aside for merriment. It’s your children, Mr. Lockwood, they are the courageous ones. Not you, you are nothing but a coward. And all for what? For your own selfish needs and whims, your own desire to be alone and free. Free from pain, was it? Or do you really want to leave a debauched legacy? Well, are you free Mr. Lockwood? I don’t see any shackles on you; Are you free from the pain and happy, truly happy?……No passion is great enough for you to lose sight of what’s your duty, and the right thing to do. For that is not passion, but madness. You’re mad Mr. Lockwood, completely, utterly, mad.”

Thus begins the fiery odd relationship between Jane, the governess, and her employer, the widowed landowner John E. Lockwood. But Jane has her own crucible as well, and it's hers to bear alone. Find out what Jane, The Governess, is made of. After all, True Worth has no regrets and takes no detours. Should you?

A movingly passionate and introspective character analysis of lonely people living through emotional abuse, grief, and guilt.

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Find a copy of The Governess on Amazon

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