Title: Whole Latte Life
Author: Joanne DeMaio
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: March 2012 – CreateSpace
Formats: Paperback – 336 pages; eBook
Synopsis: Would you leave everything behind to know who you are?
Sara Beth Riley never dreamt she’d walk straight out of her life. Actually she’d never dreamt a lot of things that had happened this year … From being kidnapped by her own best friend, to throwing her wedding rings into the Hudson River, to calling an old love in France, to getting inked with said best friend, painting the passionate constellation of these choices into permanence. But mostly, she could never have dreamt what started it all. How could it be that her mother’s unexpected death, and the grief which lingered painfully long, turned her into the woman she was finally meant to become?
Sara Beth’s escape begins a summer of change – of herself, of marriage, of the lives of those around her. In a story that moves from Manhattan to the sea to a quaint New England town, Whole Latte Life looks at friends we never forget, at decisions we linger with, at our attempts to live the lives we love.
My take: When Sara Beth’s mother died she lost her biggest cheerleader. They were so close and with her unexpected passing Sara Beth is devastated. Her children and husband seem to take her for granted and she feels life just keeps going in spite of the immense grief she’s experiencing. She needs time to regroup and figure things out – things her friend Rachel thought they could do on their girls’ birthday weekend in New York. However, Sara Beth decides to go it alone instead of meeting her friend for a prearranged lunch. The note she has a waiter deliver to Rachel says not to worry, she’ll meet her at the hotel in two days.
Rachel is frantic that something terrible will happen to Sara Beth. She stops a mounted police officer, Michael, who ends up helping Rachel try to track her friend down. Michael. What a great character! Loved him, flaws and all.
Events transpire, time passes, friends come together, family members make an effort to understand. It all came together for a very satisfying novel – especially for this female reader of a certain age. I loved the grown up women who seemed like people in my life. These are women who are willing to take a chance instead of sit quietly on the sidelines of life. Sometimes chances are taken after great encouragement and support from friends and family – that rang true for me.
With so many discussion possibilities, Whole Latte Life would be a great book club choice for my friends – women past the age of 40. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to Joanne DeMaio’s next novel. Recommended.
Disclosure: I purchased my copy and was subsequently invited to participate in a blog tour. I was not compensated for my review.
About the author:
Joanne DeMaio is an award-winning author of contemporary fiction. Her bestselling novel Whole Latte Life won First Place in the 2012 Discovery Awards and was selected by Kirkus Reviews as a Critics’ Pick. It has been featured in USA Today, The Huffington Post, Barnes & Noble’s blog and other outlets. In addition, her music essays have appeared in literary journals, celebrating her passion for song. Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut, where the coffee and stories are always brewing.
For more information about Joanne DeMaio and her books visit her website.