Thursday, May 3, 2012
Review: The Underside of Joy + A Giveaway
Author: Sere Prince Halverson
Length: 307 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Against the backdrop of redwood forests and shimmering vineyards, Seré Prince Halverson's compelling debut tells the story of two women, bound by an unspeakable loss, who each claims to be the mother of the same two children.
To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the northern California river town of Elbow with her husband, Joe, and his two young children. Yet one summer day Joe breaks his own rule--never turn your back on the ocean--and a sleeper wave strikes him down, drowning not only the man but his many secrets.
For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known and has believed that their biological mother, Paige, abandoned them. But when Paige shows up at the funeral, intent on reclaiming the children, Ella soon realizes there may be more to Paige and Joe's story. "Ella's the best thing that's happened to this family," say her Italian-American in-laws, for generations the proprietors of a local market. But their devotion quickly falters when the custody fight between mother and stepmother urgently and powerfully collides with Ella's quest for truth.
The Underside of Joy is not a fairy-tale version of stepmotherhood pitting good Ella against evil Paige, but an exploration of the complex relationship of two mothers. Their conflict uncovers a map of scars--both physical and emotional--to the families' deeply buried tragedies, including Italian internment camps during World War II and postpartum psychosis.
Weaving a rich fictional tapestry abundantly alive with the natural beauty of the novel's setting, Halverson is a captivating guide through the flora and fauna of human emotions.
My Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this book! It was well written and an easy read. The subject matter was not easy but the writing pulled you in and made this book extremely readable. I loved Ella. She was real. I could see myself doing a lot of the things that she does which made me relate to her even though I have not had the same experiences.
This is a story about family in it's many forms, about loss, about not being perfect, and about forgiveness. Do yourself a favor and read this book! I don't think you'll be disappointed!
This is my first giveaway!! Yay!! I purchased this book through Amazon to read for the Manic Mommies Book Club, hosted by Bookworm with a View and then I received a copy in the mail from a giveaway I'd forgotten I'd entered. Thank you Manic Mommies! I would like to pass this second copy along so that someone else can experience this lovely book! Please use the Rafflecopter below and I will announce the winner on Monday, May 14th! Good Luck!
Edited to state that this giveaway is for the US only
a Rafflecopter giveaway