Author: Julie Wright
Published: February 2012
Softcover: 211 pages
Part of the Newport Ladies Book Club Series
FTC FYI: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Mindy
Goodreads Summary: The Robbins household looks perfect from the outside: no dust, no stains, no wrinkles. Yet a glimpse into its heart reveals no laughter, no closeness, no joy. Olivia thinks that if she keeps everything tidy and serves delicious meals on time, family life is bound to get better. But when her husband, Nick, misses their anniversary, she realizes no amount of domestic success will compensate for failure in their marriage, or for her own failure to develop her identity, always busy as a mother, wife, and neighbor, she has forgotten how to be a unique and vibrant individual. Determined to make a change, Olivia joins a local book club, where she nurtures new friendships and explores new ideas. But her growing confidence falters when Nick declares his independence, and while her new friends lovingly encircle her with support, only Olivia can reach into the depths of her fledgling self to find the faith, hope, and love her troubled family needs.
After her disappointing anniversary dinner, Olivia tries to put it behind her. Nick doesn’t even acknowledge their anniversary even passed. Out running errands one day she sees a flyer taped to a door.
Looking for serious readers to join the Newport Ladies Book Club. Women only! Eating and good conversation! Space limited.
Olivia thinks of all the things that she needs to do. Soccer games, schedules, dry cleaner runs, grocery shopping, school functions, Junior League meetings. The list goes on and on. Thinking of all that makes her tired. Even the thought of her own lonely home makes her hurt. After much inward discussion, Olivia decides to join the book club. Meanwhile, her family life doesn’t improve. Nick is still standoffish, and his silence is deafening. Olivia wishes she knew what was wrong with him. Nick was married before. His two children from “The Ex”, Jessica and Kohl, feel his separation too. Jessica is trying to plan a going away party for Kohl, who joined the marines to pay for college. He is being sent to Africa. Nick doesn’t want anything to do with him, Livvy wants to figure out why. But it could cost Livvy her marriage.
Nick calls Livvy “The Giving Tree”. Giving and giving until there is nothing left. She calls him on that, and says he is the boy in the story. Who takes all he can. Nick also teases her about finding new friends. Making her feel more hesitant and insecure. Book club changes all that for Livvy. It gives her confidence and courage.
I loved this book. I loved loved Livvy. She is too funny sometimes. She talks to herself and always hears her mother’s words in her head. I loved how she decides to do what she wants anyway, without Nick, to show her kids that life goes on. And that’s not just joining the book club. They go on picnics to the beach together, and do things the family hasn’t done in years. I liked how flashbacks were used subtly. I felt they never took me away from the story, and kept the current situation in my mind. I was very proud of the woman that Livvy was at the end. I loved (wow, saying that a lot) the other ladies in the book club too. Especially Ruby. I just wanted to give her a hug. Each woman became a force in the book club, and they all grow to love each other. Realizing that they need other too.
I’m excited for the other stories to be told in the series. Daisy by Josi S. Kilpack comes out in June 2012.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars. Olivia is a must read for Julie Wright fans. She does an amazing job with each character. The story is told so beautifully, I didn’t want it to end. When I did get there, I loved how Olivia’s story finishes. So well written.