Self-proclaimed bachelorette Athena Di Jasper is at the top of her game. Her online magazine is thriving, and she’s in a comfortably static relationship, free of the kind of commitment that could lead to marriage she’s seen her parents rocky union, and it’s not for her. When her on-again, off-again boyfriend Karl wants to move their relationship to the next commitment level, Athena’s obvious dismay leads him to challenge her workaholic tendencies. His accusation is true: she hasn’t even paused to read a novel in years. Determined to prove Karl wrong, Athena takes a break from her hectic schedule to peruse a used bookstore, where she meets Grey, the intriguing and single proprietor. Her quest for change and her desire to see more of Grey leads Athena to stray from her to-do list and join the Newport Ladies Book Club. When Athena’s world is turned upside down by a family tragedy, she’s left to care for her terminally ill father. Juggling the demands of attending to an ailing parent and running her business, Athena comes to value the friendships of the book-club members, and she finds herself relying more and more on Grey’s support. When she stumbles across an old shoebox in her mother’s closet, she’s stunned by its contents, which hold unexpected truths about her parents relationship. As Athena delves into a past that defies her judgment about her parents’ marriage, she is forced to reevaluate her views on life and love.
Athena is the fourth book in The Newport Ladies Book Club series that I have reviewed.This series has become one of my favorites out there today.
This series has been written by four amazing, award winning authors: Annette Lyon,Heather B. Moore, Josi Kilpack, and Julie Wright.
Athena is the last book that takes place during the same time-frame as the first three books.All four books were written as a parallel series, not as a forward-moving series.They cover the same book club meetings and events in all four books. This last book is probably the most different from the other three. The main reason is that main character Athena kept to herself a lot more than the other characters in this series. While reading the other books, the reader could get the impression that Athena is cold and not truly interested in the book club. This is so far from the truth as you read this fourth book. Athena has a lot going on in her life. She is single, runs her own company and is very conflicted about getting married and having a family. Her Mother wants her to marry a nice, Greek boy and stay at home to have babies and take care of her man…just like she did in her life. Athena has been very critical of her parents and their marriage, but events happen that change her life. She meets a new man, very different than the man she has been dating previously. A death in the family and a major life decision make Athena face some of the harshest trials that life can bring.
I read Athena in about 12 hours. I was completely taken in with Athena’s story. Heather Moore’s expertise as a writer shows as she develops this character. The growth arc that Athena takes is so huge as she makes decisions that not only change her life, but those she loves. This book truly brought full circle the stories of the four women in this series. It felt so satisfying to finish this book and feel that sense of completion. The next four books in the series will be about four other book club members in a new time frame. Each of the authors will take on this new writing challenge.
I highly recommend Athena! This story is full of heart-wrenching moments, friendship at it’s finest, and a love story that made me cheer, moan and melt. How is that for a combination? Athena’s romance with Grey, the book store owner, has turned out to be one of my favorites for 2012.If you haven’t started this series, pull out the tissues, reserve several hours to yourself and get ready to be pulled into the world of The Newport Ladies Book Club. You will find women of strength, strong friendships and stories that will make you look at your own life in new ways.
Heather B. Moore
Here is my interview with Heather. I hope you enjoy reading what she had to say:1.What was your experience like writing “Athena”?
Writing ATHENA was quite a bit different than my other books. ATHENA was a very interactive process because my brainstorming was with my co-series authors, instead of myself. Along the way, I’d be asking Josi, Julie, and Annette questions, such as “Should Athena get back together with Karl?” . . . or they’d be asking me questions, such as “Why doesn’t Athena want to get into a committed relationship with a man?” All of this was during the writing process.
2. Are you like your character Athena in any way?
I have a lot of similarities to Athena–I tend to be a bit of a work-a-holic. I’m very task-oriented and don’t do “fun” things when there’s a to-do list to be completed. I only have a few close friends–and it takes time to develop those relationships. My mother isn’t as nosy as Athena’s mother, but she’s definitely a “do-it-all” personality.
3.You have written a lot of historical fiction in the past. Do you like writing contemporary fiction better or is it just a fun change of pace?
Writing contemporary is definitely a fun change of pace. But I wouldn’t say I prefer one over the other. Historical takes more time simply because of the research, but the process is the same as far as character motivation and plot development.
4. Did you learn anything from writing “Athena”? Is there a message you would like your readers to gain?
Developing Athena from a woman who isolates herself in many ways, and having her grow into a happier more well-rounded person, definitely let me see areas in my life that I needed to slow down as well and appreciate the “journey” more than just focusing on the end-goals. A message to others would be to let others into your lives and let them help and serve you as you are doing the same for them.
5. Which character in The Newport Ladies Book Club will you be writing next?
I’ve written RUBY’s story and it’s currently at my publisher for consideration. It was a wonderful novel to write and I think readers will be surprised when they learn about the real Ruby. On the outside, she seems to be almost perfect and such a wonderful caregiver, always putting others first. But that’s because she’s afraid to look inside and face her flaws, some of which have been haunting her for years.
6. Are you a late night writer or an early morning writer?
I’m a morning person, which makes me a morning writer–because my brain is less foggy. I get up between 4 and 6 am most days and get a couple of hours in. Then I find other snatches throughout the day as well. But after about 10:00 p.m. my brain is mush!
Thank you for the interview Heather!
About The Author:
Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of nine historical novels. Her historical fiction is published under the pen name H.B. Moore; first series is called Out of Jerusalem. Her second series includes Abinadi (2008 Whitney Winner for Best Historical & 2009 Best of State in Literary Arts); its sequel, Alma (2009 Whitney Award Finalist); followed by Alma the Younger (2011 Best of State in Literary Arts & 2010 Whitney Finalist), and Ammon (2011 LUW Gold Award of Excellence). Her newest romantic thriller is Daughters of Jared (2012 LUW Gold Award of Excellence & 2012 LUW Best Book Trailer).Heather is the co-author of The Newport Ladies Book Club Series (with Josi S. Kilpack, Annette Lyon & Julie Wright). Under the name of Heather B. Moore she’s published Athena (The Newport Ladies Book Club), the novella collection A Timeless Romance Anthology, Third Time’s the Charm (Aliso Creek Novella series), the historical romance Heart of the Ocean, the non-fiction work Christ’s Gifts to Women (co-authored by Angela Eschler), and Women of the Book of Mormon.
Visit her blog for writing and book signing updates: http://mywriterslair.blogspot.com
Heather loves to hear from readers at: www.hbmoore.com or if you’re an aspiring writer, she also manages the editing company, Precision Editing Group: www.precisioneditinggroup.com.