Christy Barritt Mysteries

I cannot believe how quickly the weeks are flying by. It feels like a new month is starting every couple of weeks. I know it’s not but it sure feels like it

Lately, I find myself spending more time in front of my work computer and less in front of my blog computer. I have mixed emotions about this. I appreciate the heavier workload but ……  like my favorite bumper sticker says I’d rather be reading. I’m gradually working up to I’d rather be writing and I do see a little progress in that area.

It seems I’m not the only one writing less these days. I’ve noticed many of the bloggers I follow aren’t writing as often as they once were, either. It would be interesting to know why this is. Is it a busier life? Less interest in writing… or in life? Is it a normal cycle, maybe, to start out strong and fade after awhile? Every day, as I check emails for new notifications of blog posts, I wonder about the answer to this question of why. I miss the writers I used to count on as being there. I miss seeing the regular readers for my posts too. They still pop up now and then but not like before. Hopefully things will change one day and we will find our motivation again.

It would be nice to overcome the lethargy I feel at the end of a work day, and find the energy to spend time blogging. The writing process can be an uplifting experience, releasing some of those feel good endorphins. My intentions are good, to do better……. but you know what they say about good intentions…..

In the meantime, I’m still finding good books. Today I have a couple of mystery books to share with you. Author Christy Barritt is showing up often these days and her books are always a good read.

shadow of intrigue  Lantern Beach Romantic Suspense – Shadow of Intrigue book 2 – Christy Barritt …… Lisa Garth feels out of place, all of her friends have someone to share life with and she is odd man out, having no one. It’s most noticeable in the off season with tourists gone and reduced hours at her restaurant leaving her too much time to think.

Braden Dillinger plans to spend several weeks at Lantern Beach, on the recommendation  of his therapist. The hope is that beach time will bring some healing for the debilitating scars of his Special Forces days in battle.

Friends have loaned him the use of their cottage while they are away visiting family. Lisa promised Ty and Cassidy she would play hostess to their guest and cook for him while they are gone.  Things have gotten off to a rocky start, and now she wants to turn her back on that promise.

With no car in the driveway , Lisa assumed their guest had not yet arrived and let herself in to prepare dinner. Braden, forgetting about the special arrangement for his meals, has gone to take a shower and doesn’t hear her come in. She knew he had an injury of some sort but had no idea just what it was, or what reaction her presence in the house would trigger.

She thought she was going to die at his hands.

She explains her presence, he apologizes and, eventually, they begin an uneasy truce.

Distressing, inexplicable events keep happening to them both. Evidence of break-ins in his cottage, shadowy figures watching both houses, shots fired through her window.  With his blackouts, Braden is afraid the memories of these events are part of his paranoia and he is only imaging things. Lisa is labelling her attacks as bored teenage pranks.

Gradually, Braden is convinced someone is trying to kill him, but who is it and how did they know where to find him? Then, there’s the question of Lisa’s attacks – are they connected to his or is something else going on with her?

When he sees Lisa is busy and short handed, Braden decides to offer his services at the restaurant . He thinks listening to the town’s gossip may give him clues as to who and why.  He’s hoping he can figure this out before it’s too late.

 

Random Acts of Outrage  Holly Anna Paladin Mysteries – Random Acts of Outrage book 6 – Christy Barritt ….. As usual, Holly arrives on time after school to pick up Sarah, her fourteen year old foster daughter. She’s even a little early today. The line keeps moving up and eventually Holly realizes, all the other students have gone, and Sarah isn’t here. Convinced something is terribly wrong she runs to the school staff and calls her case worker, but no one takes her seriously. They are all of the opinion Sarah has run away, that’s what foster kids do. Holly doesn’t believe it. There are too many indicators, in her mind anyway, that Sarah has been taken against her will.

Holly is desperate and can think of only one person with the ability to help her. He is her ex fiancé, and it will be awkward, but she asks them to call Detective Chase Dextor. Sarah has Type 1 diabetes and without her meds, she could die, they have to find her..

Holly is convinced Sarah hasn’t run away. They have developed a close relationship, and this home situation is the best she’s ever had. She’s even more convinced now that she’s   talked to the teachers responsible for supervising after school pick ups. Someone saw  Sarah get into a lady’s car in the student parking lot and drive away. Holly doesn’t believe she is running, there is something else going on here.

Once she’d gone through her house and found all of Sarah’s meds still there, Holly knew this wasn’t a planned meeting. The deeper she searches the greater her conviction, something is desperately wrong.

Fortunately for her; Chase believes her and is doing everything he can to help figure out what happened. The problem is; they have very little to go on.

It’s a good thing they are looking, because Sarah needs them more than they could ever imagine.


How is your book search going?  Have you discovered a good source for books? What is your favorite? My favorite is still BookBub.

Happy searching, and happy reading this week!

 

Flowers in The Snow, and more

This is going to be another, very basic, catch up list.

Distracted by a great number of compelling reads, there was not much writing going on this summer, and the lineup of finished books is growing longer.

The books on this list were well worth reading and I wish there was time to enlarge on them all, as enticement.

There is no time though, there are more almost ready to be added. What can I say, I’m addicted.

One book I would recommend is Flowers in The Snow. It follows, in a way, after The Book of Negroes.

I mentioned The Book of Negroes several posts ago and noticed very little traffic on it. I wasn’t sure whether readers were distressed to see something, seemingly, politically incorrect, or if there were other reasons.

Several weeks ago, at our writers group, it was my turn to present a reading for critique. I revised the post a little, for clarification, and mentioned that the Book of Negroes was  the record book of black loyalists taking advantage of an opportunity for relocation. Relocation sponsored and paid for by the British Commonwealth. There are two versions of the record book: the British version kept in Kew London, the American version kept in Washington DC.

The response to my reading was positive and several said they felt inspired to read the book as well.

One of the books in this new list has a character, a literature professor, teaching her students to notice how much can be learned by reading books thoughtfully.

That’s why I don’t shy away from tough subjects. There is much to be learned from them.

Learning is always a good thing.

Some of the books in this list are more thought provoking than others but there is still something to be gained from all of them.

I’m hoping you will feel inspired.


Flowers in the Snow The Edenville Series – Flowers in the Snow book 1 – Danielle Stewart

 

Finding Faith  Love’s Compass – Finding Faith book 4 – Melanie D. Snitker

The Face of the Earth  The Face of the Earth – Deborah Raney

 

Nearly  Nearly – Deborah Raney

 

Glamorous Illusions  Grand Tour Series – Glamorous Illusions –  Lisa T. Bergren

Where the Hurt is  Where The Hurt Is – Chris Kelsey

Tides of Deception  Lantern Beach Series – Tides of Deception book 1 – Christy Barritt

If You Believed in love   If You Believed in Love – Staci Stallings

Sorrowful Road  Detective Allan Stanton – Sorrowful Road book 3 – Alex MacLean

IntroductionsIntroductions to four spunky female sleuths – Christy Barritt

Squeaky Clean Mysteries – Hazardous Duty book 1

A Holly Anna Paladin Mystery – Random Acts of Murder book 1

The Sierra Files – Pounced book 1 (spin off of Squeaky Clean series)

The Worst Detective Ever – Ready to Fumble book 1

New Year's Revolution   New Year’s Revolutions – Chautona Havig

The Nostradamus Equation Sam Reilly –  The Nostradamus Equation book 6 – Christopher Cartwright

In Honor Bound   The Chastelayne Trilogy – In Honor Bound book 1 – DeAnna Julie Dodson

Happy, and inspired, Reading!

the Book of Negroes

This book is a solid 5 stars, in my estimation.

 

The Book of Negroes

This is a story written to capture your interest. I was surprised at the unexpected way it captured mine, given the difficult subject matter.

To be honest, it took me over two years to find the courage to read this book. I purchased  it only because it kept showing up as a must-read everywhere I turned. I decided to give it a chance but then couldn’t bring myself to read it as quickly as I normally would.

Reluctance to pick it up as the next-read meant it was buried deeper and deeper with each new downloaded book. Out of sight where it couldn’t make me feel guilty for passing it by, again. I did feel guilty, paying for a book and then not reading it, but mostly I felt guilty for not having the courage to read it.

I was avoiding it because, I know by experience, stories like this are hard to read.

Once I decided to take the plunge it didn’t take long to realize, Lawrence Hill has a gift for telling a story of horrific circumstances in a way that compels you to keep reading. There was no melodrama or righteous indignation. Just an honest, engaging, telling of the facts.

This is a fictional depiction of a 50 year slice of history, and the body of research to back it up is impressive. Also impressive is the size of the team working with him to make it happen.

I think there are many reasons why it’s important to read stories such as this. As you read, I know you will discover some of the reasons for yourself. We all come from a perspective and understanding of life, colored by the circumstances in our own little corner of the world. The messages we take away from reading a book like this will be influenced by the lives we each live. I find it’s that way with most books really, they speak to us where we are at any given time.

There are several important lessons I’ve learned while reading books such as this.  The first is this – cruelty has visited all people groups at some point in history and no people group is exempt from giving or receiving cruelty. We all have reason to weep for our ancestors as we discover cruelty endured, we have reason to rejoice with them for kindnesses received. And sometimes we have reason to be ashamed as we discover their treatment of others.

The second thing I’ve learned is that no people group is all good or all bad. For each cruel person, there are many more that are loving and kind. The cruel ones seem to get more notice, probably because they are often able to make life miserable for the masses. It makes me sad to see the way we humans treat each other. It also makes me sad to realize there is “nothing new under the sun”, cruelty and greed is an age old problem.

I can tell a book has been good for me when I am left saying……. I had no idea.

I had no idea that Black Loyalists fled to Nova Scotia Canada in 1783-1784, never mind that they came in such large numbers. It was a surprise to learn they were there because Britain promised rewards for loyalty to their war effort in the US. It was also a surprise to learn that a decade later a large number would accept similar promises of a good life if they would return to West Africa and take up the challenge to establish a colony in Sierra Leone.

I had no idea that thousands of former slaves had the same opportunity, over the years, to return to West Africa to settle, or to help settle, a number of countries like – Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea, and Ghana.

The Book of Negroes is the story of a beautiful eleven year old girl captured as a slave, learning to survive in spite of catastrophic circumstances, becoming a strong, intelligent, and productive woman, loved by everyone she encounters.

I liked this book for the historical education it gave me, but mostly…….. I liked it for the honest way it brought to life a heart wrenching story.

 

 

 

 

YA books for my grandsons

It was a lot of fun to come across a book store well stocked with young adult books suitable for boys. The boys in our family are becoming avid readers and I wanted to get a jump on Christmas and birthdays if I could. It’s often hard to find things geared to boys tastes in books when you have a deadline.

I haven’t read any of these books yet myself but my daughter gave the first series by Bryan Davis a 3 thumbs up when I checked to see if it had her approval. She probably checked reviews to form an opinion. The rest of the books were also suggested by a very helpful and well read young lady working in that part of the store.

I am excited about these great finds so I’ll just share them all with you now and comment later on to let you know what the boys thought of my selections.

If you have read and enjoyed any of these maybe you can jump into this conversation too and let us know what you think.

I was going to stock pile the new books for future gifts but changed my mind when I started thinking about the excitement level if their summer started out with many books to choose from, especially since they also have a book loving boy cousin visiting for a coupe of weeks soon. I think I might be as excited about this as they will be when they see the stack I have for them.

So, here is the first complete series in my collection… Children of the Bard

Song of the Ovulum bk 1  Song of Ovulum book 1 – Bryan Davis

From the Mouth of Elijah bk 2   Mouth of Elijah book 2

 

the Seventh Door bk 3   The Seventh Door book 3

 

Omega Dragon bk 4  Children of the Bard  – Omega Dragon book 4

 


 

Another Bryan Davis series is Dragons of Starlight

Starlighter Dragons of the Starlight series – Starlighter book 1 – Bryan Davis

There are 4 books in this series and I picked up the first one. The four are Starlighter, Warrior, Diviner, and Liberator.


Then there is a series by Wayne Thomas Batson that looks interesting. It’s called The Door Within Trilogy.

The Door Within bk 1The Door Within book1 – Wayne Thomas Batson

The Rise of the Wyrm Lord bk 2  The Rise of The Wyrm Lord book 2

The Final Storm bk 3  The Final Storm book 3

I did get the first three and see now that there is also a fourth one.


Another series by Wayne Thomas Batson is called The Dream Treaders Series.

Dream Treaders  Dream Treaders is book 1 and I bought that one as a starter, Search for the Shadow Key is book 2, and The War for the Waking World is book 3. Book one will be an experiment to see how we like it.


I picked up four random books just to see what they were like. We can go back for more if they are a hit with the boys.

Hood bk 1  Hood is book one in Stephen Lawhead’s The Raven King Series. Scarlet is book 2 and Tuck is book 3. This series was inspired by the legend of Robin Hood. I’ve read other books by Stephen Lawhead and enjoyed his fantasies. We’ll see what the boys have to say about this one.


We will also try out The White Lion Chronicles by Christopher Hopper.

Rise of The Dibor  Rise of the Dibor is book 1 in this series, books 2 and 3 are The Lion Vrie. and Athera’s  Dawn


The adults in the family haven’t been left out. I picked up four books for them too

Son of God (based on the major motion picture) by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. I am not familiar with the movie or the authors but the young lady helping me thought highly of it.

The Prodigal – a Ragamuffin Story by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett was also highly recommended. A modern telling of the parable.

The next two are by Joel C Rosenberg and are thrillers. The Third Target and The First Hostage. These fall into the what could happen category. They aren’t the books she originally recommended by this author but I an a sucker for a sale and thought it would be a safer way to try someone new to me.


If you have opinions on any of these books, you will have to share them with us, we would like to hear what you thought.


I will share more about the store itself  another time. They have a huge selection of new and gently used books and I hear they have an online presence selling books as well.

The store is called House of James in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada …. in case you want to check it out sooner rather than later. It took seconds to come up when I Goggled House of James, so happy hunting.

And happy reading too. Until next time.

 

Chasing Charlie

Chasing CharlieNow and then we meet a book with huge impact…. this was one of those books for me, and I know I am not alone in that.

Vince Glaser is buried in work, as lead investigator on his tightly knit FBI team. His personal life is tough. A messy divorce followed by the tragic death of his ex wife and he is a single father struggling to make life work for his six year old son.

Angela Hawkins, head strong and capable, has been Vince’s partner and best friend on the job. He owes her his life after being shot during a suspect encounter. He would have died if not for her quick action.

In the three years since his divorce and harrowing experience with death, their friendship has deepened and could possibly turn into love, but neither one of them has been willing to go down that road.

Lately, Vince has been experiencing severe abdominal pain, nausea, and weight loss,   troubling enough to seek medical help. The diagnosis – Pancreatic carcinoma. Six to eight months. Devastating news. What about Charlie? He has suffered so many losses in his young life, how can Vince leave him like this? How can he tell him his father is dying.

How can he tell his team and the rest of his family he is dying, and there is so little time left.

This was a compelling story I could not put down.

Vince is determined to do whatever it takes to have more time with his son. Quitting his job, chemo therapy, whatever it takes.

His team is devastated and determined to do whatever they can to support him in his fight to live a little longer, for Charlie.

Angela is there for him, like she has always been, but it creates a tension between them. Latent feelings of attraction are fanned into flame with new circumstances. It’s impossible to spend this much time and care this deeply without thinking about wanting more.

Vince is determined he can’t ask someone to start a relationship with him under these circumstances. Angela is determined she wants to be there for him no matter how much time is left. There is no communication, on this subject, happening between them but the mindset is still affecting the ease of their friendship, and in Angela’s case – her relationships at work.

This is so well written that it was impossible not to be drawn into their lives. When they cried, I cried along with them. All of their lives have been forever changed living through this experience. My life has been impacted by living it with them.

Highly recommended. I hope you will read it too.

An insightful look into the world of love and cancer.

Lori Wick – another favorite

Lori Wick is one of my long time favorite authors. Back in the day when I was borrowing library books I would read everything they had for her. It’s been awhile since I last visited a library and I’ve gotten behind a bit. That’s why it made my day to see Promise Me Tomorrow show up as a BookBub suggestion.

I hope you will stop by to meet Lori, if you’ve never read any of her work. And if like me, you’ve read her work but it’s been awhile, join me in getting reacquainted.

With another one added to the growing list of recommended authors, maybe it’s time to start a Favorite Authors page, to help keep track of them all. Most likely it will be coming soon.

Thinking about discovering new authors reminds me of a hand out from a library a lifetime ago. It was a large card with a list of favorite authors in the most popular genres. I loved that card. It provided treasured insight and expanded my horizons.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found choosing books can be a difficult decision. Part of the reason is because I want an excellent experience with every book. This was even more of a need in the early days when the check out limit was three; that’s when the recommendations list really helped me zero in on good ones. Of course, once they raised the check out limit to as many books as you can carry, selection decisions weren’t as critical. With that many possibilities, a few duds wouldn’t be leaving me with the tragedy of nothing to read.

 

Promise Me Tomorrow  Rocky Mountain Memories Series – Promise Me Tomorrow book 1 – Lori Wick …. Katherine Taggart, nicknamed Rusty for her red hair, loves the children in her aunt and uncle’s orphanage and they love her right back.

Chase McCandles, a director for the orphanage, is impressed by her take charge attitude and her easy rapport with children. He is even more impressed when he sees the way his son takes to her. He offers her the job of replacement nanny when a sudden need arises but Rusty is having serious reservations about saying yes, knowing there will be fireworks over differences in parenting styles. Would they survive the conflict? Will her tender heart for the needs of a little boy let her say no? Will Chase ever see her as more than a nanny?

October  October – J. Grace Pennington …… this is a story of unique friendship, discovery, loss of innocence, and a broken heart: An intriguing new girl shows up in church, she carries herself like a princess and Emily is fascinated. Friendship is not quite that easy though, with this illusive princess. But when finally it begins – it’s magical. Life through October’s eyes seems to open up whole new worlds to her friend, and yet, the world that is her is a closed to everyone. This was an emotional read but it touched a deep place, and made me glad for the experience.

Words   Words – Ginny L. Yttrup ….. Sierra Daw has escaped to a  favorite forest where she can privately lose herself in grief on the anniversary of her baby’s death. Out of the corner of her eye something catches her attention but when she focuses, there is only a fleeting glimpse of a young girl. Concerned about seeing a child alone in such a remote location, she investigates and discovers a hiding place in a hollowed out tree. Now she is on a mission to find a child her heart knows is in trouble and needs to be rescued.

Kaylee runs when the woman sees her. She’s intrigued after witnessing such grief but terrified to stay because of what would happen if her captor discovered she had left the cabin.  The tree is the secret place where she can write out words and  hide the  dictionary – a gift from her mother before she disappeared. Kaylee hasn’t spoken since,  but she has words.

 

Two Rivers  The Peacemaker Series – Two Rivers book 1 – Zoe Saadia …. centuries before the US  became a nation there was a confederacy called The Great League of the Iroquois, composed of five nations. After many years of destructive,  retaliatory fighting between the five nations, they came to an agreement and their constitution was born. It worked so well that it maintained perfect balance between the them and their success was evident to all. Many scholars believe this was noticed and so it became the example followed for the writing of the US Constitution.

This series attempts to recreate the events leading up to this Iroquois agreement. Historical books in a similar theme seem to be a popping up regularly just now, but this series is unique in it’s handling of history and is definitely worth reading. I’m looking forward to the rest of the story.

 

Forgotten and Remembered  Love’s Second Chance Series – Forgotten & Remembered: The Duke’s Late Wife – Bree Wolf …… Graham is crushed by the death of  his wife and has withdrawn from  life, closing out even his daughter. There is pressure on him to take a new wife as a mother for his daughter so when he notices the interaction between a young woman and the children surrounding her, an idea begins to form in his mind.

Rosabel, has been taken in by her disapproving aunt and uncle after the death of her parents.  A life of total obedience to their unreasonable ways is torture. She is exploring ways to gain her freedom from them when a complete stranger asks for her hand in marriage. Who is this man, why would he offer for her, and what will life be like in this marriage? Better or worse? Will she be sentenced to a marriage of convenience or is there a chance for a real marriage with the duke?

 

The Indigo Rebels   The Indigo Rebels: a French Resistance Novel – Ellie Midwood ……. Three siblings, each of them with different temperaments,  all find themselves caught up in the Resistance movement, in one form or another. Germany has invaded France, hardships prevail, and their houses are taken over by high ranking military men. This causes problems on the one hand while on the other, it supplies opportunities.

I enjoyed this book for the strong and varied characters. It also had a different slant on the war and was unlike anything I’ve read so far. It drew me in from the beginning and came to an end all too quickly. There are sequels and I hope to read them too.

Happy reading! I hope you are discovering a growing list of authors that you love.

 

 

Wilma Derksen – writer, communicator

I want to share another awesome writer with you.

We were privileged to have a local celebrity, Wilma Derksen, as speaker at two of the writer’s events I attended this spring. Hearing Wilma was a first for me, and I was impressed. She is wise, has a sweet spirit, and relates well to her audience. I can see why she is popular and in demand.

Wilma’s writing career started with a tragic event in her life, the disappearance  and murder of her young teenage daughter, Candace. The purpose of the first book was to help her make sense of the tragedy, and to assess it’s effect on her family. Publishing and making it publically available brought help and healing to many of those facing similar circumstances. It was also found to be a good resource for those working with victims of serious crime.

The first book was Have You Seen Candace. It was followed by three others, all dealing with other aspects of the coping process. Wilma is tenacious and forgiving, willing to share her secrets with us – and did, in these books. The Way of Letting Go, Confronting the Horror, and Unsettled Weather.

Have you seen Candace   The opportunities as a result of these books have been amazing. She’s had invitations to speak in unexpected places. Her books have been used as educational and training resource material. She’s been given many, and varied, teaching opportunites. There have even been awards.

I’ve had the privilege of reading two of her books, so far, but will list the rest of them for you anyway.

The Way of Letting Go   The Way of Letting Go: One Woman’s Walk Toward Forgiveness

Confronting the Horror   Confronting the Horror: The Aftermath of Violence ….. The Victim’s Journey Through the 15 Elements of Serious Crime

Unsettled Weather  Unsettled Weather: How Do I Forgive . …. a group study on forgiveness using a story telling method

 

The next two are the ones I’ve read, and will probably read again. Unlike the first books, these two are novels. Story seemed to be a good way to share some of the wisdom she’s  gained walking through this life of hers. In case you are wondering, these books are not biographical. I know, it feels like they are.

Path of the Heart  Ava Series – Path of the Heart book 1 …..  is the beautiful story of a neglected little girl who loves and feels loved, by her grandmother, a wise woman sought out by many in the community. They come by way of a special path through the forest, knowing she can help them because she has seen an angel.

Echo of the Soul  Ava Series – Echo of the Soul book 2 ….. there is oppression in the community. An overbearing man, and his wife, have moved in and taken over. The man, secretly a liar and a cheat, has bullied people into following his dictates. The path has never seen this much traffic, so many coming to see the wise woman who has seen an angel. She has had many answers for them in the past, they are convinced she will have an answer for this too.

These last two books are already available on Amazon. It’s hoped the rest can be made available soon; as well as the new book that’s about to be released.

I hope these books will inspire and encourage you in your journey.

Happy reading, for a brighter tomorrow.

Books to address the tough subjects

 

I wasn’t sure…. in the first few pages…. if I could read this book, but I persevered and was glad I did. Really glad. I would like to recommend it to you, too.

Coming Home Again tells the story of rape, and it’s devastating aftermath, in a way that we can bear to hear the worst and still keep reading. I had to check to be sure it was fiction because it is presented in a way that feels very real. (The best stories have you doubting they are fiction.)

As mentioned, at first I didn’t think I could read this book. I was about to delete it unread but remembered there must have been a good reason why I downloaded it in the first place. So I kept reading, and I’m glad I did. I find books like this one are a positive part of my healing journey. It seems they show up at just the right time with an answer to the current question plaguing my mind. I love how that works.

T.I. Lowe gives statistics that tell us millions of Americans have been victims of rape and attempted rape. A third of them have suicidal thoughts, and more than ten percent of them have attempted it.

I think it’s important for all of us to read this kind of story because it helps to give us an understanding we may not already have. If we can understand the reason behind behaviours, the ones we probably even find offensive, it can be life changing, for everyone. Knowing more, we may even recognize abuse while there is still time to intervene. That could be life saving.

For the victim. it’s important to know they are not alone in this experience. Secrecy is a big part of the abuser’s tactic and it’s easy to believe no one else knows or cares.

I like the writing technique in this book. Details of the story are passed out in  manageable bites. And in some of the more graphic places, she gives you a  clear choice – to read or not to read.

This story gives us hope…  there is life after abuse, we don’t have to be broken forever.

 

Coming Home Again A Coming Home Again Novel – Coming Home Again book 1 – T.I. Lowe…….  young teenage sisters fall prey to the wishes of a handsome, charming college age young man their mother introduces to their home. She charges him  with oversight of her family while her husband works and she is off pursuing her self-indulgent lifestyle.

Savannah is distressed at the inappropriate ways this man interacts with the girls and  she goes to great lengths to avoid him. Mostly it works.

Her father notices her disappearing act and is distressed by this behaviour. He tries to put an end to it  but doesn’t think to ask any of the right questions about why it’s happening in the first place.

Her mom seems to be oblivious to everything, in her self absorption, and does nothing.

Then comes the horrendous weekend that changes their lives forever. Mom must have finally noticed something amiss, because on her return from vacation  she  sends  the young man away.

It’s too little too late, the damage is already done.

At the first opportunity, the girls pack up and leave, hoping to escape the demons haunting them.  After all this time away, it still feels impossible to go back to the place of unbearable memories, even to bury the loving father they haven’t seen in years.

Will they survive this reunion? Savannah has serious doubts.

This is actually a pretty upbeat book considering the nature of the subject matter. Kudos to the author for the way she handled it.


I have read several more books that touch on difficult subjects but I think I will keep them for another post.

Wishing you the very best in your journey.

 

Some things need to be talked about

I am convinced there are some things that need to be talked about. There could be a number of reasons for this. Maybe someone shares a similar experience and needs encouragement. Maybe  someone feels lumped in with the abusers and needs reassurance. Maybe someone has the false impression that all abused women hate men and need to know that’s not true. Or, maybe it’s just to help me figure out some things. It could be for any number of reasons that haven’t even occurred to me yet. Whatever the reason, I feel pretty confident there will be some good come out of a discussion.

This post is a continuation of some things I have shared recently, regarding men and my trust issues. Men have been both a blessing and a curse in my life. In spite of the good, I’m still left with trust issues that creep up on me in a way that makes no sense sometimes. Although, maybe it would make sense if I could uncover the old memories triggering these reactions and deal with them somehow.

Today was one of those days. My niece has the sweetest young husband and I met him for the first time. They stayed over night with me as they are travelling back to Western Canada, they were easy to have around. We found lots of interesting things to talk about, it was a great visit. In the morning though, when it was time for them to leave, it was awkward. I wanted to hug them both good bye but I just couldn’t bring myself to initiate a hug with him. I cannot explain to you why that was, there was just something holding me back.

I am still beating myself up over it.

He could have hugged me and I would have responded, but he didn’t know that.

This is an ongoing issue with me, it happens all the time with my son-in-law, whom I love dearly. I want to hug him like I do the rest of the family, but I just can’t. He could hug me but I sense he has some of the same trust issues I do. It seems we end up hugging with a look.

So, getting back to the initial thinking behind this new post.

There is a question I have been asking myself for the last couple of weeks – how can I have empathy and distrust all at the same time? It seems like it should one or the other. Black or white.

For a short while, I was worried there was something emotionally wrong with  me, and that was distressing because I didn’t want it to be true. The concern over this idea was quickly relieved when someone shared a video on Facebook about a five year old brother comforting his little sister. In a flash, it struck a deep cord with me. I realize I learned to love at a very early age, even while I was learning to distrust.

I am the oldest of three with two brothers. There are five years between the oldest and the youngest and there has always been a strong bond between us.  Until now I have never really questioned why that is. I can see that I need to start asking more questions.

When I was thirteen or fourteen, living with my grandparents, I was asked to babysit, briefly, for several families with young babies. These were people I had never met. At the time I wondered why they would consider me, but it didn’t occur to me to question why I felt like I could do the job. Now it occurs to me to ask the question.

Why did I feel confident I could comfort a crying baby or change a dirty diaper? Why did  Grandma have enough confidence to allow me to take the job? There were no babies in our life with her, any experience I had with them would have come from another time.

At this point, looking back on our family dynamics, I can see my mother pressing me into service with my youngest brother. I’m sure Grandma would have been aware of this fact. I have no memory of any of it, but then, I don’t remember a lot of things. It turned out I did indeed know how. I still do.

me and Jax may 2017 WPG

My youngest brother’s great grandson Jax. We’ve just met for the first time (a year ago). His mother took this picture.

There’s more….

Lately, I have been having conversations with my older brother about our life in the early years. He remembers some things I don’t (my mind has buried all of the painful parts) and hearing what he had to say tells me – life was even worse than I imagined. Among other things, he said Dad was not a nice man.

He told me a number of things about those days but there was one story that shook me.

It was about Dad driving on the railroad tracks running behind our property, he was playing chicken with oncoming trains. I had heard these stories for years  and used to laugh, thinking it was something my crazy risk taking father would do. What I didn’t  realize at the time – my brother was with him, scared out of his mind. That’s one of the reasons why Dad did it, it was his perverse way of trying to force this kid to grow some courage. It finally stopped  when my 10 year old brother made up his mind he wasn’t going to let his fear show anymore. I’m horrified Dad would do that to a kid.

We also talked about another time I do remember. It was Dad beating my brother with a piece of hose, in front of all of us. A tool was missing from his work shop and he was convinced it was my brother’s  fault. I can still remember the distress of watching this happen. I could never understand why Mom did nothing to stop it.

One thing I’ve learned, by first hand experience, boys suffer from abuse as deeply as girls. That is the genesis of my soft heart for men, surviving life alongside my brothers, recognizing the pain in their life.

My oldest brother is the reason I’ve left denial behind and have taken ownership of the abusive early years in my life. He adamantly insisted that I must, even if the memories were shadowy and I couldn’t remember the actual events. He wanted to know why I thought I would be the favoured one, to escape abuse.

All three of us have blocked painful memories, but deep inside, we will never forget.

Our story does have a happy ending in spite of the terrible years. All three of us have grown into well adjusted, productive, loving people. We’ve left behind the bitterness and rage. A miracle, really.

One thing I’ve loved about this process of discovery – the heavy load of old baggage seems to grow lighter with each breakthrough experience.