Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Love of My (Other) Life – Traci L Slatton

Artist, Tessa Barnum is broke and has the co-op board of her apartment building after her for outstanding payments of maintenance bills which she has let lapse since her husband left her years before. That’s the bad news! The good news is she has started painting again for the first time since the scandal and she really feels with her newly found enthusiasm for her work that she will be able to get herself back on her feet again, pay off her debts and recover from the disgrace she suffered in her past.

As she tries to dodge the rep from the co-op she runs into a unkempt guy who appears to be homeless. She gives him a few dollars to get himself a coffee and he tells her he is from an alternative universe and in his world they are married. Enter, Brian Tennyson. He is undeniably attractive and vaguely familiar to Tessa and through him she finds the path to herself.

This is a lovely story of love and loss, surmounting obstacles, believing in what appears to be unbelievable and taking second chances. Tessa is drawn to Brian and even though, under normal circumstances, she would run a mile from a strange man who appears to be stalking her, she is not one bit afraid of Brian. She trusts him even though she doesn’t know him. As their relationship unfolds it is clear Tessa has many things to come to terms with from her past and so does Brian.

There is a quirky, magical feel to this story and although someone arriving from an alternative universe used to be the stuff of science fiction only, Traci Slatton uses some basic modern scientific principles to make the possibility believable. Having said that, it is very light on the science and very focused on the emotional connection between Tessa and Brian.

The book is a quick read, only 235 pages and I really enjoyed it. Actually, it put me in mind of the film Kate and Leopold with Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman, so I suppose anyone who enjoyed that film would really like this book.

It was recently published at the end of January and is available from bookstores and online from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Table for Seven – Whitney Gaskell

On New Year’s Eve Fran and Will Parrish host a dinner party for a few of their friends and have the idea that they will serve a course on the hour every hour until midnight and so the party begins. All the guests have a lovely time and agree that this is a great way to spend an evening. That is when the Dinner for Seven Club is born.

As time goes by and the dinner parties become monthly events, it soon becomes clear that there is much more going on in the lives of the Table for Seven Club members than it first appears. Will and Fran’s marriage seems rock solid, but, the strain of dealing with an uncommunicative teenage daughter and what seems to be the methodical, uneventful passing of the years starts to produce cracks in their relationship. Audrey, is usually the target of Fran’s well intended match making but she needs to find her own way to move on after being widowed seven years previously. Audrey and Fran’s perfectionist friend, Jamie, the second wife of Mark, suspects him of having an affair. Will’s oldest friend, Coop, is a confirmed bachelor and doesn’t know how to handle being in love so steers well away from it. Will and Fran’s neighbour, Leland, a retired Judge, enjoys the company. It is a change for him to spend time with younger people and he brings wise counsel and insightful guidance to the group. The Dinner for Seven Club changes all of their lives forever.

This is a lovely book about friendship, relationships, love, emotional support and of course, food! Whitney Gaskell weaves the characters together perfectly and it is instantly clear how each person is connected to the other. As the story develops so the relationships between them all change and grow. Some bonds get stronger, some start to fracture and some break altogether. It is because of the prose and realistic conversation that this book is so enjoyable. It is funny and poignant at times and provides the reader a great way to escape for a few hours.

Table for Seven is the first book of Whitney Gaskell’s I have read and it will not be the last. I checked out her website to see what else she has written and found that she writes a really funny blog too. I love her sense of humour, wit and the frequent, seething road rage she feels when in the school drop off queue. She doesn’t mind using the odd profanity to make a point clearer and sharper, which in my mind puts her right into the “my kinda gal” category. Check out her website here: http://whitneygaskell.com

Table for Seven will be released in April 2013 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.com