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Promises to Keep by Nan Rossiter
Publication date: April 27, 2021 – Harper Paperbacks
Review book courtesy of the publisher and Nan Rossiter
Thirty-four-year-old Maeve Lindstrom loves her job at Willow Pond Senior Care. Her older sister Macey thinks Maeve is the only human being on earth who can make working in a nursing home sound like fun. Maeve enjoys being around the sundowners, as she calls them, helping them navigate their senior years—brightening a time that can be, all too often, a lonely, sad stage of life.
Thirty-three-year-old Gage Tennyson—who brings his mischievous yellow Lab, Gus, to whatever restoration job he is working on with Macey’s husband, Ben—loves Maeve with all his heart. He’s a handsome country boy and a true southern gentleman. But as he and Maeve grow closer, they both sense that they haven’t been completely forthcoming about their pasts.
When Maeve realizes Gage might be planning to propose, she knows she must finally be honest with everyone she holds dear. She can no longer live with the secret she’s been dragging around like an anchor, and she knows the only way she will be free to build a lifetime relationship with Gage is to risk everything—including his (and her family’s) love and respect. Before she finds the courage, however, her past comes careening into her life in a shocking and unexpected way. (publisher)
My take: With Promises to Keep Nan Rossiter continues the tale of the Lindstrom sisters that began with Promises Of the Heart. That was Macey’s story. Now it’s Maeve’s turn. Maeve is a lovely, compassionate woman who is in love with Gage, a man she can see a future with. Gage is a sensitive, artistic man and he loves Maeve. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right? These two are in their mid30s and have secrets that have a hold on them. When the secrets become known they’ll find out if they can be strong enough for each other. Promises to Keep is all that and more. There are family dynamics, end of life situations, and dreams to pursue. I related to several issues in this book. If that sounds like your kind of novel I recommend you pick up a copy today. I loved it.
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Promises of the Heart by Nan Rossiter
Publication date: February 4, 2020 – Harper Paperbacks
ARC courtesy of the author
Description: Macey and Ben Samuelson have much to be thankful for: great friends, a beautiful—if high-maintenance—Victorian house on idyllic Tybee Island, and a rock-solid marriage. The only thing missing is what they want the most. After her fifth miscarriage in six years, Macey worries that the family they’ve always dreamed of might be out of reach. Her sister suggests adoption, but Macey and Ben aren’t interested in pursuing that path…until a three-legged Golden Retriever named Keeper wags his way into their home and their hearts.
Harper Wheaton just got kicked out of another foster home and it won’t be the last if she keeps losing her temper. She’s not sure why she gets mad; maybe because no family seems to want a nine-year-old girl with a heart condition. She loves her social worker, Cora, but knows that staying with her forever isn’t an option. Will she ever find a family to call her own?
As a physician’s assistant, Macey meets lots of kids. Harper Wheaton’s a tough one, but Macey knows the little girl has already struggled more than most. It gets Macey and Ben to thinking about all the children who need homes. Then Harper goes missing, and one thing is suddenly crystal clear: life is complicated—but love doesn’t have to be. (publisher)
My take: Promises of the Heart is one of those novels that surprised me by how quickly it worked itself into my heart. I grew to love the characters and worried how life would go for them all.
Nine-year-old Harper’s mother died years ago. She’s never met her father and she’s had heart-breaking foster situations. Ben and Macey have just suffered another miscarriage. All they’ve wanted is a family to fill their big Victorian fixer-upper on Tybee Island. Is it possible that dream will ever come true? Reading Nan Rossiter’s story about people longing to be part of a family felt like being wrapped in a warm hug. The more time I spent with Macey, Ben and Harper the longer I wanted that hug to continue.
This is a story of keeping faith, putting oneself out there when it would be easier to shut the world out to lessen the chance for more emotional pain. I loved Promises of the Heart and recommend it to anyone who loves an emotional, heartwarming and uplifting story about family.
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Description: After almost forty years in New Jersey, Catherine, Ralph, and their beloved Boston Terrier Karma are hitting the road, relocating to a gorgeous, serene island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, where Catherine can work on her backhand and Ralph can hit the links. But upon their arrival in the Seven Oaks gated community, it becomes apparent that Catherine and Ralph’s visions of retirement couldn’t be more different. While Catherine is intrigued by their quirky neighbors, Ralph’s golf-and-poker routine seems to be interrupted only by his flirtations with their zealous real estate agent.
As the pair drift further apart, Catherine cannot help but sense her marriage is at risk. Then, she meets recent widower Fred at the dog park. United by their dogs, they embark upon a friendship that could be something more—until she discovers that he’s not quite what he seems. As she sorts out fact from fiction and discovers what sorts of secrets might be hiding behind Seven Oaks’ pristine picket fences, she’ll have to make a decision affecting her future happiness and her chance at newfound love. (publisher)
My take: You work hard your whole life with the goal being retirement in a nice place where you can enjoy life, your spouse, and keep doing the things you love. That’s what Catherine assumed would happen when she and her husband made the move south to a lovely gated community near Savannah. What she didn’t expect was that he would want to enjoy activities without her. Every day. She’s feeling ignored, uncared for, and lonely.
Fred’s wife died a while ago. He’s wading through grief but trying to keep a foot in the day-to-day. His dog is the reason he goes out each day – mainly to the local dog park where he sees other community residents. He’s seventy-five and wondering if his best years are behind him. There are more characters who can relate to the same feelings as Catherine and Fred and they all intersect in unexpected ways at Seven Oaks.
Good Karma is a quirky, poignant, entertaining novel that I enjoyed and think will strike a chord with readers of a certain age or readers looking for something a little different.
Synopsis: On the surface, Olivia has it all: a high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister Georgia are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit—so why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?
Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job, and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her fourteen-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads South on a summer road trip looking for answers about her mother.
As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life—truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past—and say yes to her own desire to start over? (publisher)
My take: Cancel the Wedding is the story of Olivia Hughes and her search for answers about her mother. Her search takes her to Tillman, Georgia where her mother grew up. It is there that, with the help of her niece and a very helpful local newspaperman, Olivia starts to figure out the mystery of her mother’s early life.
Carolyn Dingman filled her story with charming and eccentric characters. The story was funny at times and emotionally charged at others. Olivia needed to find answers in her own life as well as her mother’s. She knew she wasn’t headed in the right direction where her personal life was concerned so the time away afforded her the space she needed to figure things out. She hadn’t planned on meeting someone new on this quest. Elliot ended up helping her solve the mystery of her mother’s life before she met Olivia’s father. He also helped her see the possibilities in her future.
The title Cancel the Wedding might make readers think this is a breezy chick lit novel but it is not. It’s the story about a young woman searching for answers from the past so that she can move forward. I enjoyed it very much and can’t wait to see what Carolyn Dingman writes next. Recommended to fans of Southern contemporary fiction.
CANCEL THE WEDDING (Harper Paperbacks; Original Trade Paperback; August 5, 2014) by Carolyn Dingman follows one woman’s journey to discover the secrets of her mother’s hidden past and confront her own uncertain future. On the surface, Olivia has it all: A high-powered career, a loving family, and a handsome fiancé. She even seems to be coming to terms with her mother Jane’s premature death from cancer. But when Jane’s final wish is revealed, Olivia and her elder sister, Georgia, are mystified. Their mother rarely spoke of her rural Southern hometown, and never went back to visit. So why does she want them to return to Huntley, Georgia, to scatter her ashes?
Jane’s request offers Olivia a temporary escape from the reality she’s long been denying: she hates her “dream” job and she’s not really sure she wants to marry her groom-to-be. With her fourteen-year-old niece, Logan, riding shotgun, she heads south on a summer road trip, looking for answers about her mother.
As Olivia gets to know the town’s inhabitants, including Elliott the kind, handsome owner of the local newspaper, she begins to peel back the secrets of her mother’s early life – truths that force her to finally question her own future. But when Olivia is confronted with a tragedy and finds an opportunity to right a terrible wrong, will it give her the courage to accept her mother’s past and say yes to her own desire to start over?
CANCEL THE WEDDING is a heartfelt fiction debut which will appeal to fans of Emily Giffin’s Southern charm and Jennifer Weiner’s compelling, emotionally resonant novels about the frustration of blood ties.
About the Author:
Carolyn Dingman lives in her adopted hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and their two daughters. CANCEL THE WEDDING is her first novel.
photo credit: Jo Reeves Photography
Cancel the Wedding
by Carolyn Dingman
Original Trade Paperback; 416 Pages; $15.99/$19.99 Can
On-Sale: August 5, 2014
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