A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Monday, October 02, 2006


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Book Description (from Amazon)

Cathyrn Deen has it all -- extraordinary beauty, wealth and privilege. A former southern beauty queen turned mega-successful actress, she has happily led a fairytale life. When a fiery car accident on a California highway leaves her horribly scarred, she secludes herself at the wild mountain farm she inherited from her bohemian grandmother, high in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Though determined to spend her life hiding from paparrazzi and curiosity seekers, Cathyrn is drawn into the warm, supportive local community via her indefatigably loyal cousin, Delta Whittlespoon, famed owner and head chef at The Crossroads Cafe, a legendary mountain diner.

Delta draws Cathyrn out of the shadows with the help of another area recluse, transplanted New York architect Thomas Mitternich, who is struggling with his own demons. Thomas still hasn't come to terms with the deaths of his wife and son in the World Trade Center on 9-11.

Together, Cathyrn and Thomas slowly begin to forge an amazing life together.

The hardest part of writing a review is being able to adequately explain what my reading experience was like. I remember pondering when I started this book how I would describe it to another reader. I wondered if I could describe it and do the book justice. I've read this review a couple of times and I'm not sure I do. I hope you'll read the excerpt at the Belle Book site before you make a final decision.

While it took me a few chapters to get into the particular style Ms. Smith used in this book...that of going back and forth between the H/H POV to tell the story, I was fully emersed in the journey Ms. Smith was taking me on. This was another one of those occasions where I was glad I picked up the book on a Sunday when I could read with little to no interruption.

This book is multi-faceted and multi-layered. Every page has texture. The characters are not "like" any other characters Ms. Smith has written about. This is one of my favorite things about her writing. The characters in her books are whole and unto themselves in each story. While familiar themes of the south and deep family roots might repeat themselves in her books, the characters are individuals with so many layers that they could not be confused with any other character.

I ran a gamut of emotions while reading this book because I was so entrenched in the painful journeys of Cathryn and Thomas individually and as a couple. These are people who have suffered...terribly, horribly. Yet, Ms. Smith shows that most of us want to move on, want to be better, even when on some level we don't really believe we will be better, we try anyway.

While I wouldn't call this book dark, it is hardly a light and fluffy read either. It deals with real life issues. Usually when characters don't have to worry about pesky things like making a mortgage or rent payment alienates me from a story, the fact that Thomas and Cathryn don't have particular money issues is used as a device to show how having money can actually isolate a person from their own life. Money can be used to isolate a person from dealing with their problems.

What bugged me? Belle Books is a small pub house co-founded by Ms. Smith and some other southern women writers. So I understand that it is probably a small operation. However, my complaint is about the editing in this particular book. I can't remember another reading experience where editing has bothered me so much in my read. I've experienced some bumpy rides with editing before, but I usually can pass it by. Maybe because I was so immersed in this story is why it bugged me.

Sometimes the errors came up so unexpectedly that I had to re-read a passage several times before I realized there was an actual error and that I wasn't missing something in the story. The errors were small typos like an "if" placed where there should have been an "is". This happened about half a dozen times. While it annoyed me...and I want to warn others about it, it would not and does not stop me from recommending this book.

This was a very worthwhile read with characters I'm still thinking about and wondering "What would I do in their shoes?"

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Blogger Nikki said...

Great review! I have been waiting for this book. I wasn't sure I wanted to get it. This author would be new to me. I think I will give this one a try.

BTW, I love your blog!

5:41 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Nikki, thanks for stopping by and the kind words. You won't be sorry you gave this a try...it's a great read.

7:17 PM PDT  
Blogger Holly said...

Wow. This sounds really good, but gosh, I'm not sure I can get over the editting issues. I'll put it on my wishlist and see what happens.

9:29 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Holly, the editing are minor things that irritated me because I was so engrossed in the book. Dear Author did a review today as well. Jayne didn't mention those editing issues at all, so it obviously didn't bother her.

Go check the DA review out.


11:47 PM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

All of my problems with publishing today can be summed up in two words: Deborah Smith. The fact that this woman doesn't have a contract with a major NY house is a crime.

I'm doing my part: I ordered several copies for work, and I'm currently on the waiting list for one of them.

11:51 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wendy, I was shocked when I realized my sister hadn't read her. I was fortunate and scored several of her back list at my UBS to send to my sis.

Is the NY pubs thing on purpose (by her) or is no one interested in her books? With all the schlock that is out there (in every genre) I can't believe this.

7:08 PM PDT  
Blogger Devonna said...

I was on the fence initially when I first heard about this book, but because of your review I think I may give it a try.

7:51 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Devonna, you won't be sorry. These are unforgettable characters.

8:12 AM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

I've heard from a fairly reliable source that Smith was "encouraged" to write VAMPIRES!!! OMG!!! Can you imagine? Then she was told by another that she needed to write "simpler", "less complex" stories.

So yeah, not her choice. NY is clueless.

11:15 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wendy I'm gobsmacked. Who in their right mind asks Deborah Smith to write vampires? Now I'm really bent on promoting her books and Belle Books.

7:32 PM PDT  

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