Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry

Title:  Coming Up For Air

Author:  Patti Callahan Henry

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  August 2011, St. Martin’s Press

About:  (from the Goodreads synopsis) Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband – between her reality and the woman she wants to be – she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life.

But everything changes after her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie’s world turns upside down when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at her mother’s funeral and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death. He wants answers to questions that Ellie’s not sure she can face, until, in the painful midst of going through her mother’s things, she discovers a hidden diary – and a window onto stories buried long ago.

My take:  I enjoyed Ellie’s journey of discovery about her mother and herself. While searching for answers about her mother Ellie faces facts about her own life and what it could be.

The setting is lush and, for the most part, the characters are endearing. Characters and plot aside, I think my favorite part of the novel was learning about a jubilee – that time when conditions are right and sea life come up for air. It served as a metaphor for Ellie’s life and her journey.

This is a book I think many women, especially women who’ve married and raised a family, will understand. I’m not saying it’s every woman’s story but there are emotions and aspects that I believe many of us can relate to. I’ve found that to be true  with most of Patti Callahan Henry’s novels and that’s why I’m a fan.

Source:  Wunderkind PR

18 thoughts on “Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry

  1. I like Henry and have read another book by her that I enjoyed. I am also getting to that place in my life, and think it might be interesting to read a book from this perspective, so I will be checking this one out. Great review today, thanks for sharing it!


  2. I excited about reading this one. I seem to almost always love books set in “that time of life”. Thanks for making this one move up my TBR list, Mary!


  3. The plot of this book sounds very good. A hidden diary always makes for an interesting storyline. I think since my kids are 18 and up, this might be a book I could relate to. I will put it on my list to read.


  4. I’m getting closer to that point in my life– sounds like this is a good book for setting the stage (although I think there’s lots to relate to now as well). It also sounds like it could make for an interesting book club discussion, so I’m noting it for that as well.


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