Book Review: THE PERFECT SON

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White-ThePerfectSon-21053-CV-FT-v4jpgThis year I’ve been volunteering with the Women’s Fiction Writers Association as a host for the “women’s fiction cafe,” which is done on Facebook. Instead of asking everyone to read a book in advance and discuss it, this is a chance for authors to stop in and give people a taste of the book, its themes and locales and inspiration, which (we hope) will make people want to read it.

(By the way, if you’re interested in learning about new books through this format leave me a comment so I can be sure to invite you to the cafe weeks! Click here for next week’s!)

The first author I worked with was the lovely and ebullient Barbara Claypole White, whose enthusiasm endeared her to me, as did her flawed but lovable characters.

Barbara has a new book available now: THE PERFECT SON, and I’m pleased to say that it’s my favorite of her books so far. Here’s my Goodreads review:

Haunted by memory of his abusive father, Felix Fitzwilliam has always held himself at a distance from his teenage son, Harry, who, although brilliant, struggles with Tourette’s and other neurological challenges. But in the wake of his wife Ella’s heart attack, Felix has to take over as primary parent. Lyrical and filled with hope, THE PERFECT SON is the story of these two men learning to trust each other enough to admit their weaknesses and grow together as men.

It’s an unspoken assumption that “women’s fiction” must be about women. Barbara Claypole White expands that definition to encompass the story of two men loved by a woman. Felix and Harry are deeply and realistically flawed characters, and I spent every page holding my breath, hoping they would live up to their potential for good. Sometimes they didn’t. But their love and their commitment to their family and each other always brought them back. To watch them grow as human beings gave me hope for humanity. That is what this author does so well: writing stories of hope in situations where too often in reality we see only pain or hardship. This is her third book and my favorite so far.

Monday, Barbara will visit us for a Q&A. She’s such an interesting lady, and extremely personable, so I hope you’ll stop by!

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A Different Kind of Book Club

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This week, I am hosting/moderating an online book discussion about Lisa Verge Higgins’ novel, Random Acts of Kindness:

With the remnants of her past rattling in the trunk of her Chevy, Jenna Elliott abandons her Seattle home determined to start life anew. Her journey compels her to the door of two friends: Claire, an ex-Buddhist nun and cancer survivor, eager to escape her overbearing family for what may be her last chance to fulfill a dream; and Nicole, a professional Life Coach who can’t even control her own teenage son. But what starts out as an impulsive road trip soon becomes an inexorable journey to their past, as the women grapple with who they were, who they are, and the strange twists that have now set them on the road to their hometown of Pine Lake. There, Jenna discovers that her random act of kindness has rippled out into the world like a stone dropped into a deep pond, coming back to rock her life—and those of her friends—in ways they never expected.

It’s a little different than most book clubs. We don’t expect you to have read the book. In fact, we just want to encourage people to come over and meet the author and visit with others about how this idea–random acts of kindness–has played out in your life.

I’ll be posting questions for Lisa Verge Higgins midmorning every day, and in the afternoon she’ll be asking us to share on topics close to her heart and the heart of the book. And what Cafe week would be complete without a book giveaway? Leave a comment on any of the discussion threads and you’ll be entered for a drawing!

If you enjoy fiction, I hope you’ll spend this week with me at the Women’s Fiction Cafe.