Publisher: Lake Union PublishingPublished: September 6, 2016Pages: 344Received: from TLC Book ToursPoring over a dusty hatbox of photographs in her grandmother’s closet, Emily Prentice is shocked to discover her father was married to his high school sweetheart before meeting her mother.
In the summer of 1968, Jack and Libbie fall in love under the spell of their small town, untouched by the chaos of the late sixties. Though Libbie’s well-to-do parents disapprove of Jack’s humble family and his aspiration to become a mechanic, she marries Jack a year after they graduate high school. But soon their happiness crumbles as Libbie’s mental state unravels and she is drawn to alcohol and drugs. Despite his efforts to help her, Jack loses the woman he loves and is forced to move on with his life.
Now that Emily’s mother has passed away, Jack is alone again, and Emily grows obsessed with the beautiful woman who had given her father such joy. Determined to find Libbie, Emily pieces together the couple’s fragmented past. But is it too late for happy endings?
1) ADDICTION/MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. I wasn't sure how detailed this book would get with Libbie's drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness, but this story is a great look into the mind of an addict and also their partner. Most of Libbie's addiction issues stem from a mental illness issue and it it written in a way that you feel for her - one minute you are mad at her for giving in to the addiction and the next you are so worried she won't get the help she needs. And from Jack's POV you get to see what it's like to live with someone who is suffering and hiding things. It felt real to me and very emotional. This was the one of the biggest topics of the book and it was handled beautifully. Remember that Libbie lived in the 1960-1970s and mental health in women was not something that was talked about and doctors seemed to just keep medicating them instead of figuring out what was really wrong and that families covered things up so as not to be a spectacle or gossip. It's sad that it took so long for Libbie to get the help she needed and it messed up her life for so long.
3) CHARACTERS. Jack, Libbie and Larry are my favourite in the entire story. Larry is a secondary character and Jack's best friend. He's a bit of comedic relief at times, but also the shoulder to cry on when needed. He's loyal to a fault.
Two things that frustrated me:
1) LIBBIE'S FAMILY. God they were awful people. Her sister was a snobby bitch, her mother also had issues and her father just threw money at it all to make it go away. Not one of them really tried to help and they were not a very loving family.
2) THE EPILOGUE. It was quick to tie up loose ends. I was happy with it for the most part, but I felt like it needed more. To see interaction with the characters more and to feel that kind of love again.
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About the Author:
Deanna Lynn Sletten grew up on the sunny coast of Southern California before moving to northern Minnesota as a teenager. Her interest in writing novels was sparked in a college English class, and she has been writing in some form or another ever since. In 2011, Deanna self-published her first novel and has since published several more, both on her own and with Lake Union Publishing.
Deanna enjoys writing heartwarming women’s fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes readers on the adventure of a lifetime. She believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, magic, and happily ever after—all of which are reflected in her novels.
Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian shepherd or relaxing on her boat in the summer.