Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review: The Underside of Joy + A Giveaway

Title: The Underside of Joy
Author: Sere Prince Halverson
Length: 307 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased
My Rating:SmileySmileySmileySmiley
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!


Giveaway!!!

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

31 comments:

  1. Hurray for your first giveaway. They're so much fun, thanks for doing it. This sounds like such a good read. thedavi4(at)gmail(dot)com.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good luck on your first giveaway - I want to do one soon myself!

    kayswed at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've heard great things about this one. Good luck everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds really interesting and a good read. Thanks for running the giveaway. :)

    tribb99(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can't wait to read this book -- it's been on my TBR list since I first heard about it! Can't wait! juliamunroemartin(at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've only heard good things about this book, would love to read it!
    sahara_diane@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with Julia - I've heard great things about this book, and it's been on my radar, too. So happy to see you reviewed Little Bee as well. It's in my to-read stack!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oops: melissa(at)azcommpro.com (and thanks for adding the name/url for comments). Nice to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just stopping by to say that I enjoyed this one as well - glad u did as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by! It was good, wasn't it?! Would you mind passing on info about the giveaway if you have a chance? Thanks!

      Delete
  10. Giveaways are fun! I have a few of my own going on that you should come enter!

    Colletta

    collettaskitchensink [at] yahoo [dot]com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for entering! I'll take a look at your giveaways! They are so much fun!

      Delete
  11. Thank you for this awesome giveaway!! :)

    Pauliina O
    pieniatarinoita@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. First giveaway! I hope it keeps coming! ;) just kiddin'
    Thanks for the opportunity!

    maneesha.s.haroon@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great first giveaway!!!!

    bridget.howard@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Here's my email info: puttputt1198eve(at)comcast(dot)net
    Thanks for the first giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the giveaway!

    mdh0115(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the chance to win!!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you so much for your wonderful review and, also, for making this book available as a giveaway. I absolutely adore fiction like this, that peeks into the human condition and psyche. The premise seems really interesting, and I'd for a chance to win/read this book.

    Name: Hira Hasnain
    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for this opportunity, and good luck on your first giveaway! I know how fun it can be, I'm a fairly new book blogger myself. Stop by and see me sometime @ compelledbywords.blogspot

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congrats on hosting your first giveaway...very exciting! I'd not heard of this title before, and after reading the description, it sounds like a good read!
    Beth :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oops...forgot...my email is beth.diiorio@yahoo.com

      Delete
  21. I've heard great things about this book. I'm pretty anxious to read it. Good.luck.
    dianebojda@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would love to read this book.

    julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I wanna want this one.

    hailgil.blogspot.com

    gilnambatac(at(gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  24. This sounds like a great book I would love the chance to read it!

    danasquare3@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. The book sounds great.
    gigicoan@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am glad I found your blog, and can enter your first giveaway. I would really enjoy this book. Thanks for this chance to win it.
    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for the giveaway.
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ooh sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Shaina
    shaina333@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete