Friday, March 18, 2011

A Song For My Mother by Kat Martin - review & contest

**** A Song For My Mother
Vanguard Press - H/C
April 2011
I received an ARC of A Song For My Mother for review. Although fiction, or women's fiction, is not my normal reading material, this did make a good "palate cleansing" book. That's where I read a different genre after a particularly good Urban Fantasy, so that another urban fantasy that I might otherwise enjoy, doesn't pale in comparison. Maybe I'm just weird. Probably. Yes.
A Song For My Mother is about anger, holding grudges, and forgiveness. If you've ever held a grudge against your mom, this might ring some bells for you. If you've ever made a imperfect decision, because it was the best you could do at the time...and someone else has judged you, then this might ring some bells for you also. There are a few situations here that involve decision making, judgement, doubt and the need for forgiving.
The main character, Marly Hanson moved away from home at an early age, escaping from a traumatic home life, and a small town. She returns to her hometown only because her own daughter wants to meet her grandmother; unfortunately, the grandmother, Winnie, is the one person that Marly does not really want to see. Marly hasn't seen Winnie since she moved out of town as a teen bride. Even so, she brings her daughter to meet her; her daughter has recently went a few rounds with cancer and chemotherapy, coming close to death.
Things aren't very comfortable for Marly and Winnie, but Winnie and Katie (Marly's daughter) hit it off right away. Not only do Katie and Winnie make fast friends, but Katie meets a neighbor boy, Ham and they become friends. Marly also meets Ham's father, Reed who happens to be the sheriff of this small town. Marly is very attracted to Reed, Reed is very attracted to Marly but there are complications. Reed is a widower, and Marly is divorced with a low opinion of men as fathers and husbands.
It was both interesting and frustrating to read Marly's behavior with her mom. She is so angry that she comes across as unreasonably prickly and rude to Winnie - blaming and judging Winnie for past decisions and what she perceives as a weakness and betrayal of herself. Winnie is heartbroken, but patient - this bothered me, because I would have been in Marly's face....but then I also wouldn't have been in Winnies past that would affect things.
Even though Kat Martin's writing style is rather spare...what I call no-frills writing - A Song For My Mother is packed with emotions of all kinds. There is a subplot - a young widowed mother of a three year old boy who is coming close to having a breakdown, overcompensating for her husband's death. There is also the reluctant relationship between Marly and Reed. She's having fun seeing Reed but doesn't want to become involved with him, seeing no point in it. Reed is ready to come out of mourning for his deceased wife and wants a future with Marly...only Marly is planning on passing through within weeks.
When I say that this novel has spare writing, I mean that there is not a lot of extra filler; reading it is like listening to a person telling a bit about some goings on. There is some dialogue, but it's definitely not a dialogue heavy book. This is kind of refreshing in a way. Kat Martin tells three stories involving this small group of people, getting to the point without a lot of extras. But when it's important, than the story goes into scene mode. I know I'm not explaining this the way I want to. I did enjoy it, even though some of the subject matter is pretty heavy, it was written with a light and deft pen, so to speak, revealing emotions and tragedy without over-dramatization.
The book brings forth and shows a complete array of emotions - anger, contempt, betrayal, wistfulness, sadness, happiness, jealously, relief, first pangs of love, embarrassment and love. All of this is packed into 224 pages. It was a pleasant experience reading it, even with the frustration that I felt at Marly over her stubborn anger at her mom...of course some of Marly's behavior reminded me of me when I was in my twenties. (sheepish grin here). I like the messages given through the story - that we're all capable of making good and bad decisions, of making mistakes and that it's possible to move forward through forgiving. It's hard sometimes, but it can be done, right?
I received an ARC for review about a month ago. Today I received a beautiful hardcover copy of A Song For My Mother. I don't need two books, so how about a giveaway?
Comment for entry - answer this question;
have you ever held a grudge against your mother for something that you now understand? In other words, do you now understand or see her point of view on something that had made you angry for way too long? It could be for an action or a way that you perceived you were being treated
For instance, for all of my teen years, I really firmly believed that my mother did not like me. It seemed that she was always angry at me, and at the age of almost 17, I moved out (she gave me an ultimatum - never give a stubborn daughter an ultimatum that you aren't prepared for her to call you on; If I left on a date with my then boyfriend that night, not to come back. I didn't come back. btw - that's one type of ultimatum that I've never given any of my own children. I would never want them to feel the way I did that night) Many years later she told me she really didn't expect me to move out, and that she was frequently angry with me because apparently I was just like her when she was young. I wasted about 10, 15 years feeling very distant from her. Didn't talk or visit with her for over a year. On her side, she didn't try to talk to me either, never sent any messages for me to come home, nothing. Silence. In my defense, I really thought she didn't love me, because why else give me an ultimatum like that? {tough love, doesn't always work right}
Young stubborn teens like myself, can be silly - I now see, but when you're young, it feels so different.
  • Okay, so that's it - a situation you felt anger over, and that hopefully you've recovered from. comment on this. {Make sure you're comfortable with this being public knowledge}
  • leave a way to get a hold of you in case you win
  • contest will end April 8th, 2011 {Friday}

1 comment:

  1. wow, I've never done anything like that before. i'm kindda a shy girl, introvert girl :)
    thank you for sharing it with us. well, we learn something from others experiences, don't we ?

    uniquas at ymail dot com