Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Underside of Joy; Sere Prince Halverson

 
Author:  Sere Prince Halverson
Publication Year:  2012
Publisher: Dutton
Edition: eGalley
Setting: California and LasVegas, NV
Source: Net Galley
Date Completed: 4/7/2012
Rating: 4.5/5
Recommend: yes

After her first marriage ended in divorce, Ella Beene thought she would never experience motherhood.  Plagued by infertility, Ella's dreams of being a mother came true when she moved to the small, picturesque town of Elbow, California. It is there that she met Joe Capozzi, a handsome, single father and his  (2) very young children:  Zach, a few months old and Annie just 3-years old. Seeing Joe struggle to juggle the demands of being a single parent, she offered to help out with the children, and their relationship grew to something more.  All along she is careful not to pry into Joe's situation by asking too many questions.  She loves her life with Joe and the children.
 
Joe loves photography, and one day while trying to take the perfect photo, he falls off a rock and drowns.  Ella is devastated, but not only is she without her husband, he leaves behind a lot of debt caused by the family's failing business, a local market.  Debt and business failure which Ella had not been aware of.  
 
When Paige, Joe's first-wife and mother of Zach and Annie shows up at Joe's funeral, it isn't long before her intentions are made clear.  With Joe gone, Paige wants to raise her children, claiming to have the means and stability to support them.  Just where will this leave Ella, who has been in the childrens lives all this time? Why did Paige leave her children and Joe? Slowly through discovered letters the truth is revealed.
 
Told through Ella's POV, the author has done a very good job examining the complexities of motherhood, and outlining both women's situations and positions.  Ella, who is the only mother the children have really known,  has had to stay strong and pull together not only the children, but to she has also had to  find ways to make the family business viable once again.  Paige's story is compelling as well, and deals with a very sympathetic issue.  Each woman envies the other in some ways and both want what is best for the children as well. 
 
I could see both sides of this story, and was unable to put this book down until I found out how things worked out.  Although the were a few moments when things seemed to fall into place a bit too easily, it was still a compelling read.  I think this book will appeal to a lot of women. It's a very good debut novel; I look forward to more novels by this author -- recommended.


29 comments:

  1. You'd have to be Solomon to solve this one.

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  2. I've had this one on my wishlist for a while because I think it sounds like an interesting perspective to write from. I'm looking forward to reading it one day :)

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    1. It's a very fast read as I don't want to put it down.

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  3. Your thoughts about this book mirrored mine in many ways. Lots to think about here. I, too, look forward to what comes next for this author.

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    1. We're on a same book pick reading schedule lately Kay...LOL

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  4. I wonder why Paige left her children and now wants them back. I guess that is the heart of the story. Truly a book that women would like to read.

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    1. You need to read to find out...yes, it is the heart of the story.

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  5. Great review Diane! I checked this out from the library and look forward to reading it. Definitely sounds like a book I need to clear an afternoon for - I know when I start it, I will want to read as much as I can in one sitting.

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  6. Oh, this looks like my kind of story! Thanks for the wonderful review.

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    1. I can see most women, especially a mom enjoying this one.

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  7. Sounds like another one I'd love - my wish list has been exploding lately!

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    1. JoAnn...I hate when that happens...too many good books going on the list and not enough coming off...LOL

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  8. Wow! I'm very curious about Joe's story now.

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  9. Thanks for another great one!

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  10. This was a great book (and definitely thought-provoking!). I didn't really know who I wanted the kids to stay with! I think that's what made this a great book and I'm glad that you enjoyed it as well.

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  11. I could see this being an involving and complcated relationship that is probalby more common than not nowadays.

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  12. Sounds so good, I'm on my way to download it to my kindle.

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  13. What a gret sounding book! This has been on my radar for a while now and after your high praise I will certainly be reading it!

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  14. I love books that keep you turning the pages! This one sounds like a goodie!

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  15. Love your review! This sounds like an emotional read. I'm adding it to my list!

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  16. So many good reviews for this one, but just reading them stresses me out! I'm not sure I have the resolve to read it right now.

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  17. I loved this book, so much that we selected it for the MMBC. There's a lot to talk about!

    Glad to see you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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  18. I remember being so excited for this novel, but once it came out, I don't think I've heard much about it and had forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me of this one--it seems it should not be missed!

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  19. Sounds like an impossible situation to me.

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  20. great review, Diane. I loved this one - thought the writing was just beautiful!

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