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#Review – Pack Up The Moon by Rachel Herron @penguinusa @RachaelHerron A #touching story of #life and #rebuilding and second chances! A #MustRead


PACK UP THE MOON

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NAL Trade Paperback Original / March 2014

A poignant novel about loss, lies, and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Three years after a horrible tragedy took her son and tore her family apart, artist Kate Monroe is beginning to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. At a gala showcasing her triumphant return to the art world, Kate’s world is rocked again when the daughter she gave up for adoption twenty-two years ago introduces herself.

Pree is the child Kate never knew and never forgot. But Pree has questions that Kate isn’t sure she’s ready to answer. For one thing, she never told Pree’s father, her high school sweetheart and ex-husband, Nolan, that they had a daughter. For another, Kate hasn’t spoken to Nolan for three years, not since the accident which took their nine-year-old son from them. But to keep Pree from leaving forever, Kate will have to confront the secrets that have haunted her since her son died and discover if the love of her family is strong enough to survive even the most heartbreaking of betrayals…

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Review:

Grade: A (5 stars)

This was a lovely gift. I was excited to receive this book from Penguin to review, just reading the synopsis, but when I started the actual book is when I felt really lucky. This is such a touching, emotional story based around really realistic characters who people can completely relate to. It’s all about life’s changes, and if it’s too late. When is too late? Herron does an outstanding job in this novel really showing us true characters with real struggles. This is the first book by this author I’ve read but I love her voice. She’s the perfect storyteller for this story, and she really find the perfect balance in some really tough topics. You’re faced with a lot of broken people and dark topics in this book, but Herron manages to show us the beauty in the brokenness, and the hope in the hopeless. You start to really see beyond what’s expected into a deeper, more beautiful story. You see how one choice can affect so many people, and you see just how people choose to handle that . You’ve got a mother struggling with the death of her son, and the loss of the daughter she never knew. The daughter trying to figure out her life without a mom, and a Father who never knew about his daughter, and has been crushed, not only by the loss of his son, but the loss of his marriage as well. Nolen is one of those characters that you see beauty shining from brokeness, he’s a convicted felon, gave up everything that was his life before, and has fallen all the way to the bottom, but his struggle and courage is something so beyond touching. I’d gladly read another book by Herron in the future because her way with characters is exactly what we need more of. Complex, confused, broken but beautiful.  The author allows us to see beyond what’s in front of our faces in this novel to what’s really there. There’s such a wonderful theme of forgiveness and healing in this book, and it really brings tears to your eyes LITERALLY, I cried. I suggest this novel to people I meet in bookstores now, my book club, and friends and family. It’s beautiful and haunting and it’s perfect. Thank you Rachel Herron!

*I was given a copy of this book by Penguin to read and review. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

About The Author:

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Rachael Herron is the internationally bestselling author of the Cypress Hollow series (HarperCollins/Random House Australia) and of the memoir, A Life in Stitches (Chronicle). Her newest novel, Pack Up The Moon, will be available in March 2014 from Penguin (USA) and Random House Australia (NZ/AUST). Rachael received her MFA in writing from Mills College and is a 911 fire/medical dispatcher when she’s not scribbling. She lives with her wife, Lala, in Oakland, California, where they have more animals and instruments than are probably advisable. Rachael is struggling to learn the accordion and can probably play along with you on the ukulele. She’s a New Zealander as well as an American. She’s been known to knit.

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#AFallofMarigolds – @SusanMeissner – What an outstanding piece! Two time periods, two ladies, #unbelieveablytouching! @penguinusa

FallofMairgolds

I was luckily enough to get a copy of this book from Penguin, to read and review as a part of a blog tour, but in my scatterbrained mind, I MISSED THE TOUR! Of course, that always tends to happen when I LOVED the book I’m reading, so I couldn’t let it pass without praising this wonderful, touching story, and letting people know what a good choice this book is!

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Synopsis:

A beautiful scarf, passed down through the generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away….

September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her? 

September 2011. On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers…the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?

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Review:

A+ (Five Stars)

I didn’t plan to love this book, I was drawn to it because of the historical element, having had great grandparents who came over through Ellis, I found that interesting, and having been a young child when 9/11 happened, I’m always interested in the stories, real and fiction, which help me understand the event in new ways. 

I started reading, and I was just drawn in, I love historical books, include little to a lot of historical detail is something that really interests me because I have a very big interest in history, but as I was reading these two stories, intertwined by a scarf and two horrible events, I was at a loss, i just kept reading, I kept telling myself, I’d figure out how the scarf was related before the book told me, I tend to do that with some books, but I’m pleased to say I didn’t figure it out correctly, everything I guessed was wrong, and I enjoyed that. I enjoyed the not knowing, because it gave me a crazied urgency to finish the book and really find everything out. I also have to mention how beautiful the cover is, just a bit, because though as reviewers we’re supposed to look beyond the cover, I was drawn in by this. When I picked it up, I had a few other book choices sitting before me, but this one is the one I picked, and it’s partly because of this gorgeous cover.

Clara’s story was beautiful and heartbreaking. I thought she was so lovely in being such a typical female from the time, striking out on her own, but with a bit of naivety left in her. She’s beautiful written, and the character development we see from Clara is something I really appreciated. She’s been hiding out for so long on Ellis making work her life, to avoid living that it’s so inspirational when Clara really starts to live. She’s got so many dreams, and so much to look forward too, as you’re reading you want to shake her, and tell her to get out there and life. I loved the way her story wrapped up and how we saw it finally intertwine with Taryn’s story. It was amazing. She’s a strong woman, with a deep ability to love, and she’s proud of that. I really loved her story, and was so glad for her.

Taryn’s story was hard to read. It might be because 9/11 was so much more recent, or her personal struggles, but I was just so terribly sad when we got to the story of her relationship to 9/11. I thought of both stories, the author did the most beautiful job with this one, weaving it to include those parts we’d rather forget, but delicately in order to preserve the memory, and keep it fresh for the character. She really allowed the reader to feel for the character, and feel what the character was going through. She included you in those moments, and I don’t know about the other readers, but I felt breathless as she did. Her ending was perfect. I don’t think the author could’ve done a better job giving Taryn exactly what she needed. I cried, it was lovely.

Overall this is the book you need to pick up on your next shopping trip to the bookstore. You won’t regret it. Along with the beautiful imagery, the touching emotional situations, and the beautiful woven plot point of coincidence and how things are meant to be. I am still thinking about it after finishing this lovely book, and I urge you to go get yourself a copy, because you really need to experience Clara and Taryn’s stories for yourself, I promise you, they’ll stay with you!

About The Author:

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Susan Meissner was born in San Diego, California, the second of three. She spent her childhood in just two houses.
Her first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories she wrote when she was eight.

She attended Point Loma College in San Diego, and married her husband, Bob, who is now an associate pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, in 1980. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with my family, music, reading great books, and traveling.