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A HUNDRED SMALL LESSONS: A Novel ~Ashley Hay

Monday, December 4th, 2017

A HUNDRED SMALL LESSONS is set in Brisbane, Australia and it is a combination of words that are at once poetic, descriptive, psychological and commanding and they draw the reader into a wonderful story, which holds the mind and demands attention – softly.  The main character truly is a house and it tells the tale of the two women who have lived there and their lives.

Elsie Gormley was the first resident of the little house with the huge backyard that touched a swamp and a park.  She was newly married and was delighted with her house and her husband.  She was the mother of Don and Elaine, twins.  Elsie loved her role as a mother and took it very seriously not without some worry and stress but she felt called and safe in that task.  She also had quite a relationship with the birds that came to her feeder and felt they were omens of good.  Her partner was a good man and took care of the yard, the house, and wallpapered every room with a different paper.

Lucy Kiss, her toddler Tom and her husband Ben have just purchased their first house after travelling for years.  For Ben it is coming home and he remembers being with his single mother in Brisbane and how hard it must have been for her and how terrific she was as a “mum”.  As he travels he worries about Lucy and her beautiful parenting and then her irritations.  Lucy is new here and has no friends yet and is isolated in her new house.  She is comfortable with being a mother and yet she is trying to hold on to her “self” in this new circumstance and situation.  She has mother worries and sometimes does not feel safe.  She thinks about Elsie a great deal.

Elsie has had a stroke and is confused so her children pack her up and move her to an apartment in assisted living.  Her story is the most complete as it weaves through Lucy’s in the house.   Lucy and Ben are busy planting trees in her backyard, lots of trees; Clem would not have liked this at all.

Birds and water play the game of connective tissue in this well written story.  If you have the opportunity to curl up and just savor and enjoy this read, I would put it very high up on your reading list.  A HUNDRED SMALL LESSONS is a top of the line read.

Ashley Hay uses her “lyrical prose, poetic dialogue, and stunning imagery” (RT magazine) to weave an intricate, bighearted story of what it is to be human. (TLC Book Tours)

About Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of the novels The Body in the Clouds and The Railwayman’s Wife, which was honored with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She has also written four nonfiction books. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

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SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS: A novel ~Amy Impellizzeri

Monday, December 26th, 2016

I have to start with the author when I think about this story. “On November 12,2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed on my residential corner in Belle Harbor, New York. All of the passengers and crew and five of my neighbors on the ground died that morning. All reports of that day say there were no survivors.”

The author was home at the time and saw the plane crash into her neighborhood.

Belle Harbor had also lost 70 residents to the 9/11 attacks two months earlier and these two incidents are the beginning of the tale of SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS.

About Amy Impellizzeri:

“Amy is a reformed corporate litigator, founder of SHORTCUTS Magazine, and award-winning author. Her first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014) , was a 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Bronze Winner and a National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist. A favorite with bloggers and book clubs, Lemongrass Hope was named the #1 reviewed book in 2014 by blogger, The Literary Connoisseur, and topped several bloggers’ “Best of” Lists in 2015. Amy’s second novel, Secrets of Worry Dolls is releasing December 1, 2016 by Wyatt-MacKenzie.

“Amy is also the author of the non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015). She is a proud member of the Tall Poppy Writers and President of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Amy currently lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, three kids, and one energetic Weimaraner, where she keeps up on all of the latest research confirming that caffeine is, in fact, good for you.” (From TLC Book Tours)

Amy Impellizzeri Website 
Amy Impellizzeri Twitter

SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS begins with Lu unable to get on a plane to Guatemala to discover her Mother’s secrets – She is sitting in the bar unable to board the plane and contemplate leaving Rock Harbor and her Mother. She lost her twin sister and her fire fighter father both on 9/11 and she is unable to move on with her life even 10 years later. The plane she was supposed to board crashes right near the front door of her Mother’s house in Rock Harbor. Lu works her way home to discover her mother has been injured in the crash and is in a coma at the hospital. The first two parts of the story Lu is every other chapter as she begins the process of moving forward.

Mari, her mother is every other chapter as she tells you her story of growing up in Guatemala and receiving the Worry Dolls. Mari’s mother has been “disappeared” during the revolution and thus the sadness of her life begins. She works at holding her life together as she raises her twin daughters and garners some special friends along the way. She is hoping having Lu go to Guatemala will assist Lu in moving forward and having her own life and future. After 9/11 her life is a series of sleeping pills and often alcohol until the plane crash.

There is a great deal of tragedy and sorrow in this story. I found myself cheering Lu on to discover the right information to free her to move forward and find some happiness. I had a terrible time putting the book down after each reading session, because I just wanted the hope to emerge. I pushed myself to get to Part 3, and then there was progress as Lu was able to release herself from her indecision and begin to talk about what needed to happen next. The hope and the orchids emerged.

I did not try to resolve this story in my own mind, I just kept pushing forward to understand what the author was hoping to convey. I did not ask myself what I would do with so much tragedy in a lifetime and I found some reasonable answers. Knowing that the end of the Mayan Calendar was an important theme and that after that day we began a new calendar and moved on. It proved to be an indispensible tether to the story.

I am sure that I want to read the author’s award winning story LEMONGRASS HOPE and I can highly recommend SECRETS OF WORRY DOLLS to my readers.

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