Ooh, another Karen White novel! *Rubs hands together with glee* I was excited to tear into this one, and it was classic White style, just what I was hoping for. The story follows Ava Whalen, newly married to Matthew Frazier. They eloped quickly after meeting, and Ava knew with all her heart that he was the only one for her. They decide to live on St. Simons Island, where Matthew’s family has lived for generations. Upon arrival, Ava’s happiness begins to fade. The past starts creeping amongst the shadows – and Ava becomes obsessed with learning about Matthew’s heritage, specifically the story of Geoffrey and Pamela Frazier, who lived in the house in the 1800’s. Ava also learns for the first time about Matthew’s first wife, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death. Her husband couldn’t have played a part in Adrienne’s murder – or could he? The more Ava digs into the lives of the Frazier’s the more confused she becomes. Her obsession with the past soon leads a trail of questions to her own past – and her connection to St. Simons Island.
Loved it! Once I started Sea Change, there was no putting it down. I loved going back and forth between the present and past, and was absolutely enthralled with Pamela Frazier and her sad tale. This book has a great deal about the subject of reincarnation, and I thought it was done in a fabulous way. It’s hard to put into words how gripping I thought this story was. This was a book that I thought of at night when I was supposed to be sleeping, and I could see the characters moving in mind, living out the journey I thought they would or should take. I finished it in about two days because I had to know how it ended, and this is one not miss!
More Reviews for Karen White novels!
Cassie Madison would rather forget her hometown. She has an envious high powered career in advertising in Manhattan, a fabulous apartment and clothes, and a rich successful fiancé. She has worked to get her Walton, Georgia accent to disappear, and hasn’t been back to see her family in fifteen years. Not since her sister Harriett ran off and eloped with her Cassie’s boyfriend. But when her ailing father is on his last breath, Cassie has no choice but head to down Walton to say goodbye. Cassie is reluctant to speak to Harriett, but as time passes and Cassie stays in Walton preparing for the funeral, she can’t help but reconnect with her sister and her sister’s children. She also unexpectedly develops feelings for Sam, the town doctor, who once was the class geek that Cassie ignored. But how can Cassie give up her high powered life and successful fiancé in New York?
I am a big fan of Karen White, but Falling Home just didn’t do it for me. This was a re-released novel of earlier work, and it fell short with me. The plot was good and there were a few suspenseful parts to it, but the characters were a bit boring and slow moving. I found myself unenthusiastic about picking the book back up to read. The story will probably make you cry, I certainly did during the tear-jerker scenes, but the romance was too predictable and uneasy for me to get into. On Folly Beach is still my favorite novel from Karen White.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN
Not too long ago, I was driving in my convertible with the top down (and my little dog in his car seat in the back seat) and a large hawk appeared from out of nowhere, approaching at a ‘v’ trajectory until wham!—he hit the side passenger door. I was stunned (as was my dog—although I believe he was a little relieved, too, that the hawk hadn’t made it inside the car). Despite the damage to my car and the attempt on my dog’s life, the most upsetting thing about the whole incident was that I must have appeared invisible. To a hawk. Isn’t there an expression “eyes like a hawk”??
I usually wouldn’t be so paranoid except for the fact that it keeps happening! I recently made a drastic change to my hair color. My hairdresser loved it, I loved it and when I got home…nothing. My husband didn’t say anything. My children didn’t say anything. My dog remained silent, too, the traitor.
And then it was everywhere—at four-way stops people would proceed through the intersection as if I wasn’t there. Was it my imagination, or were people not responding to my emails as quickly as they used to? And why did my husband wait until bedtime to let me know that I had a smear of toothpaste on my forehead—something I’d apparently had on my face all day, including the time spent sitting across from him at the dinner table?
So where am I going with this and how does it relate to my writing (besides giving me tons of material to work with for future novels)? Basically, it’s justification for my answer to the question, “Do you ever bring your family with you on book tour or other book events?” In a word, “no.”
In a few weeks, I will be speaking in front of about 650 readers in another city as part of my book tour for my November release, FALLING HOME. I’m also booked to speak with lots of book clubs, do magazine, television and radio interviews, and appear at quite a few bookstores where I’ll meet and chat with readers who actually believe that I’m interesting enough to make them want to leave the comfort of their houses to come meet me! In other words, I will be basking in being visible.
I guess I’m admitting to living a double life. In one, I’m a mild-mannered housewife who carpools, drags recalcitrant children to hair and dental appointments, and does so much laundry I’m thinking of moving my desk into the laundry room. In that life, the people I live with (husband, two children, dog) are vaguely aware that I have some kind of hobby that has something to do with books. Their main concern is that they have clean underwear when they need it.
In my second life, I’m a sort-of celebrity who sometimes gets recognized in malls and cruise ships (yes, that’s happened twice), and whose books have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. I actually get paid to speak, and have even been known to have a captive audience of several hundred laugh at my jokes! Booksellers are happy to meet me and invite me to their stores to come speak and sign my books and I get to stay in some really cool hotels with spas. I’m never even expected to be within 300 feet of a laundry room!
So, really, why would I want to mix the two? I actually enjoy being visible. Meeting booksellers and readers is one of the best parts of my job, as is getting to dress up like a girl and wear heels and makeup. I could do that all day—if only I didn’t have to actually spend time writing. J
To be honest, though, it’s also always good to come home; to sleep in familiar sheets, to pull on my favorite sweats, and curl up in my writing chair with my dog and favorite coffee mug. Occasionally, my children and husband actually notice me and say something nice (usually as a precursor for a request for money or clean socks, but still) and they’ll even include me on fun family vacations!
I have to admit that my two lives coexist happily in my head, and I can’t imagine my life without both. One allows me to follow my dream of writing books, and the other allows me to share them with readers. I love them both, and I hope I’m lucky enough to live this double life for a long time. Or at least until my family finds a way to get dirty laundry to me when I’m on book tour.
In My Mailbox: Week of October 17th
Title: Four Thousand Miles
Author: Jesi Lea Ryan
Received: From Jesi Lea Ryan
Synopsis: When Natalie Spencer loses both her career and marriage in the same morning, the emotional shock sends her on a spontaneous journey to England. There, she is nearly mugged in a Tube station, but an introverted songwriter named Gavin Ashby scares off her attackers. Recognizing Natalie’s fragile state, Gavin offers help and invites her to recuperate from her trauma at his country home.
As she adjusts to her new role and surroundings, Natalie finds healing by helping others. Gavin and his family begin to accept Natalie into their hearts, leading her to a choice…abandon her old life in the States and trust in a new chance at love, or flee once again?
Title: Her Latest Supporting Role
Author: Cynthia Ashworth
Received: From Cynthia Ashworth
Synopsis: Jill Barber is a failed former actress and almost-MFA…or so she thinks. A botched exam and her reluctance to submit to a lecherous lecturer’s proposal—sleep with him for a passing grade—land her in summer school, taking a class taught by hot young novelist Jonathan Wunder.
Jill’s nights are spent working to finish her degree, her days at a large Madison Avenue ad agency trying desperately to hang onto its largest account. Tellco Toys’ business is about to walk out the door, and Constable, the agency’s mercurial President, is making everyone’s life miserable: Jill’s bosses, the Über-Producers Sandi and Nick; Petra and Robin (a hip and friendly creative team with a knack for giving Jill the wrong advice); and client-service guy Graham, who has taken quite a shine to Jill. And against her better judgment, she soon finds herself in an ambiguous romantic relationship with her instructor, while trying to deflect the attentions of her straight-laced and smitten co-worker without hurting her budding career.
HER LATEST SUPPORTING ROLE is a romantic comedy set in the funny and frantic world of New York advertising. Jill’s romantic missteps—as she maneuvers between her enigmatic instructor and a charming but hapless colleague—and the agency’s increasingly desperate attempts to save the big account (and everyone’s jobs) are parallel stories that drive toward a surprising climax.
Title: Falling Home
Author: Karen White
Received: From Joy Strazza with Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting
Synopsis: Falling Home is a coming home story about forgiveness and acceptance, and of finding love in the most unexpected of places. Home is where the heart is, but Cassie Madison prefers to think of it as a place where one is born, then outgrows, along with skinned knees and childhood dreams. A humiliated Cassie left Walton, Georgia for Manhattan fifteen years before, vowing never to return.
And then her sister calls. Their father is dying and wants Cassie to come back home. When Cassie’s father dies, saddling her with the family’s antebellum home and letters hinting of an unknown sibling, Cassie finds herself sinking into the red Georgia clay like quicksand. Reluctantly, Cassie is pulled into the lives of her sister and family, and that of Sam Parker, the town doctor.
When tragedy strikes, Cassie is led to discover that home is a place that lives in one’s heart, waiting with open arms to be rediscovered.
In FALLING HOME, an NAL/Accent trade paperback on sale November 2nd, Cassie is pulled away from her fast-track career, her Upper West Side apartment and her metrosexual fiancé by the news that her father has suffered a heart attack. He knows he is dying and wants both of his daughters home by his side. Cassie left Walton, fifteen years ago with no plans to return after Joe, the man she loved, eloped with her sister Harriet.
Cassie can barely handle being with her sister, let alone Joe. Yet, there is no way she can keep her distance from them, not as her father lay dying and not with Aunt Lucinda, who helped raise the girls after their mother’s death, looking on. News that the family home has been willed solely to Cassie creates a new rift when she announces her plans to sell the house and its contents as soon as possible. Even long-time family friend Sam Parker, the town’s only physician and an admirer of Cassie since high school, can’t convince her to delay her decision. Soon, Cassie and her inheritance are at the center of the struggle between developers and the preservationists fighting to protect the small town’s sensibility and historic homes.
Despite falling in love with her sister’s children, being confused by her reactions to Sam’s advances, and beginning to realize she feels at home in this place where people ask how you are and actually expect to hear the truth, Cassie still plans to walk away. Meanwhile, developers seem to have gained the upper hand, threatening her family’s and the town’s way of life, even as the house itself begins to yield its secrets when letters and belongings from the past raise questions about heritage and legacies. Then, suddenly, an unseen enemy emerges and each member of the family finds their life has been changed forever.
FALLING HOME was originally published in 2002, and is being released again in November 2010 in response to the many readers who reached out after unsuccessfully searching for the out-of-print novel. It has been extensively revised for this new publication. “Readers told me they loved the story and characters, so it was hard to see what I might change,” says Karen regarding the revisions. “Then it clicked. I didn’t want to change the story. I wanted to change some of the writing—to take the experience and education of having written nine other novels and to work at creating a better book.”
A big thank you to Joy Strazza with Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting for supporting this giveaway. I have two copies of Falling Home up for grabs for USA/Canada residents. Post a comment on this post, comment on Facebook, or RT on Twitter to be entered to win. Winners will be chosen on Saturday September 18th.
The winners have been chosen! Congratulations to Renae N Cal Heald & Michelle (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please email me at Samantha@chicklitplus.com with your mailing address by Wednesday the 22nd to claim your prize. Thanks to all who entered!
Q: I read that you aspired to be a writer after reading Gone With the Wind. What about that novel made you want to write?
It completely took me to another world where I wasn’t aware of time passing around me until I’d turned the last page. I lived in London at the time and I remember leaving for the Tube in the morning to go to school and instead going to the roof of our building of flats and staying there all day and doing nothing but reading. I continued to read late into the night until it was done. I _became_ Scarlet O’Hara and I fell in love with Rhett Butler. I laughed, I cried–I actually lived that story. And it left me with the feeling that I wanted to somehow recreate that feeling, which is probably what prompted me to write my first book.
Q: Why did you choose a business degree over pursing writing?
Because my father paid for my college education. I have a bachelor’s in management with a concentration in marketing, and I will never regret having that degree. Marketing a book is a lot like marketing shampoo, and everything I learned in business school applies to my writer’s life, too.
Q: How were you able to get break into the writing industry?
I entered my first book into a writer’s contest in which the finalist judges were top New York literary agents. I didn’t really expect to win, but I did and the finalist judge offered to represent me. She sold my first book to the second publisher she sent it to and is still my agent ten years later!
Q: You will have 13 books published by the end of the year. How do you keep finding fresh ideas for plots and characters?
<quickly calculating in my head> Oh my gosh, you’re right! How did that happen?? Seriously, I’m never at a loss for story ideas. Mostly I owe that to my two teenagers who force me to disappear into the “happy place” in my head quite often which is where I find my inspirations. I also find cool tidbits everywhere. For instance, today in a news flash on AOL I read the story about a woman who found a key and a note about locating the treasure box the key went to inside an antique rocking chair she was restoring. I just might have to put that in my next Tradd Street mystery book!
Q: Do you have a favorite book you have written? One that maybe you enjoyed writing just a bit more than the others, or enjoyed the research more?
Even though picking a favorite book is a lot like picking a favorite child (and for the record, the answer to that is my dog), I have to admit that I love The House on Tradd street and its sequels. I think it’s because I simply love the characters, and because they’re in four books, I get to keep them around me for a very long time. As for research, I absolutely LOVED researching ON FOLLY BEACH (my May 2010 book). Half of the book takes place during 1942 and I just love WWII history. I had way more fun with that than I probably should have. But I’m a history geek, so it couldn’t be helped.
Q: Is there a certain area that you need to be at to get your writing done?
Not really–I think that comes from having children around since I wrote my first book. I just learned to type wherever I was. I still do that and bring my laptop everywhere. I recently discovered that being on an airplane, with all of the ambient noise of the plane’s engines, is very conducive to writing!
Q: Would you say you have any bad habits, either personally or professionally?
Of course! I wouldn’t be human otherwise. What’s ironic is that my bad habits in both of my lives (writing and non-writing) are polar opposites. In my personal life, I’m extremely organized and efficient–almost to the point of being overbearing and dictatorial. In my writing life, I take a very haphazard approach and don’t outline or plan or anything–I just sit down and spit it out.
Q: What are some of your favorite genres to read?
I read it all! I love general fiction, some mystery, some espionage, southern fiction, historical romance, and memoirs.
Q: Where would you love to travel to?
I’ve always traveled. As a matter of fact, I just got back from Costa Rica and this summer we’re going to England, Scotland and France. I’ve been to Egypt, most western European countries, and several South American countries (I lived in Venezuela for 2 years when I was younger). After reading MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA years ago I decided I’d like to travel to Japan. Would also like to go to Australia, although the long plane trip is a big turn off for me. There’s only so much sitting still I can manage!
Q: What would be your best advice for aspiring writers?
To borrow from Nike: JUST DO IT! Talking about it, or thinking about why you don’t have time to do it will not get a book written. Sitting down in front of your computer or note pad is the only thing that will write the book.