REVIEW: THE FROG PRINCE, BY JANE PORTER

81G8rjqBe4L._SL1315_

 

 

Holly Bishop had grown up on fairytales, and in the small Central California town where she lived, she definitely had learned to believe in happily-ever-after.

But when her gorgeous Cinderella-type wedding to handsome Frenchman Jean-Marc comes to a shocking end shortly afterwards, she is stunned. What happened? How did the fairytale betray her?

As she starts over in San Francisco as an event planner, and finds a cute single-girl apartment in a nice neighborhood, the answers elude her, even as she struggles to understand.

She really hates even telling people about the divorce, though. I like this excerpt in her voice:

“So now I don’t say anything about the divorce to anyone, and I just smile. Even though on the insides my eyes are stinging and my jaw aches because, honest to God, I don’t want my own apartment. I had a house—a home—with Jean-Marc. I had a squashy down-filled sofa and bookcases filled with books, yellow climbing roses on the trellis, flagstone pavers from the patio to the pool, and a perfect little gated side yard with lush green grass that would have been perfect for a child’s swing set.”

Before long, however, there is the push from others for her to start dating. Being set up on horrific dates with men who are boorish, self-centered, and just plain unappealing were situations that made me smile.

Her boss Olivia is a nightmare. Sometimes the critical tone she always seems to take is like that voice in your head when you don’t feel you are good enough. Will Holly be able to tune her out, and find her own thoughts?

When does starting over begin to feel like a new beginning? Was it the friendship with a really nice couple of work colleagues? Or the connection she feels with Brian, the newspaper journalist? Or perhaps it is the new voice clamoring to be heard. The one that reminds her that she deserves to be happy. What happens to finally turn things around for Holly? And how will she uncover the deceptive sabotage of someone out to derail her life?

Great and realistic characters grabbed my interest in The Frog Prince, and even the snarky ones, like Olivia, or Tessa, who felt as though they were real people, made me keep reading. This was a book that resonated with me for several reasons, including the familiarity of the settings, places I have lived in my life. 4.5 stars.

CURL UP WITH EXCERPTS FROM “DUNE ROAD”

y8ekqo13031746531

 

 

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

It’s time to share!  Today’s featured book is by Jane Green, and it was published in 2009.  Dune Road is another captivating tale about starting over.

 

 

6565445

 

Intro:  One of the unexpected bonuses of divorce, Kit Hargrove realizes, as she settles onto the porch swing, curling her feet up under her and placing a glass of chilled wine on the wicker table, is having weekends without the children, weekends when she gets to enjoy this extraordinary peace and quiet, remembers who she was before she became defined by motherhood, by the constant noise and motion that come with having a thirteen-year-old and an eight-year-old.

In the beginning, those first few months before they worked out a custody arrangement, when Adam, her ex, stayed in the city Monday to Friday and collected the children every weekend, Kit had been utterly lost.

***

Teaser:  She still blames the house for the ending of the marriage.  A huge white clapboard house, with black shutters, and a marble-tiled double-height entrance, it was impressive, and empty.  Much the way Kit felt about her life while she was living there. (p. 1).

***

Blurb:  An ever-growing legion of fans greets the publication of each new tale from the inimitable Jane Green. Her latest gem, Dune Road, is set in tony Highfield, Connecticut, where recent divorcee Kit Hargrove has joyfully exchanged the requisite diamond studs and Persian rugs of a Wall Street Widow for a clapboard Cape with sea-green shutters and sprawling impatiens. Her kids are content, her ex cooperative, and each morning she wakes up to her dream job: assisting the blockbuster novelist Robert McClore. Then an unexpected series of events forces Kit to realize that her blissfully constructed idyll and blossoming new romance aren’t as perfect as she thought. A warm, witty, and gloriously observed meditation on the challenges of starting over, Dune Road is Jane Green at her absolute best.

***

I saw this novel on a blog recently, and realized I had missed it somewhere along the way.  Would you keep reading?

***

A JOURNEY THROUGH THE SWIRLING RIVERS OF LIFE — A REVIEW

41ZTvbUPv1LWhen Neil Kazenzakis and his wife Wendy are on a trip with their son Chris, the unthinkable happens.

Neil is listening to a speaker at a conference, while his wife and son are enjoying the pool in the hotel. A helicopter medi-vac hovers overhead, and soon someone is airlifted away. In the next few moments, Neil is summoned and learns that his wife was involved in a near-drowning.

When the story picks up a few years later, we see the aftermath of Neil’s life: his son is ready to finish high school and is planning for college; and his wife is in a vegetative state in a long term facility.

The story is narrated in Neil’s first person voice, and we learn through flashbacks and memories about his journey forward, replete with all the pain of the loss and the continual reminders of what was and what will never be.

Living in Port Manitou, Michigan, on the farmland owned jointly with Wendy’s widowed mother Carol Olsson, Neil has fashioned a kind of normalcy for himself and son Christopher. He teaches science at the local high school and coaches the girls’ track team. He has started a relationship with Lauren, the hospice nurse who works with Carol. But the two of them are keeping their relationship a secret until just the right time for Neil to tell his son.

But unfortunately, life doesn’t hold back its punches for just the right moment, and soon Neil is engulfed in a horrifying scandal regarding an event at his school…and he could lose everything he loves. Again.

The Banks of Certain Rivers is a captivating story that leads the reader through all of the swirling rivers of life that can engulf a person, much like the dangers of the river that flows through the property. Will Neil manage to work his way through the allegations against him? Will his relationship with Lauren and with his son survive the onslaught that descends upon them?

Finding out kept me rapidly turning pages until the satisfying conclusion. I loved the characters and the author’s ability to engage me and draw me right into the midst of the emotional morass that swirled about them all until the very end. Five stars.