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Marriage

Tall Poppy Review: The Tearjerker ‘You Were Always Mine’

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Equal parts tear-jerker and page-turner, Nicole Baart’s You Were Always Mine (Atria Books) entwines the heartbreak of a mother’s struggle with the urgency of a mystery that won’t let her (or you) go. At the start of You Were Always Mine, we meet mother and teacher Jessica Chamberlain on the brink of a nightmare—and a plunge into regret—when her estranged husband is found dead. Her older son, in a surly teenage phase, seems to blame her for not having tried harder to repair the marriage and thus the family, while her younger son’s developmental challenges immediately intensify in the wake of the tragedy. It would be a struggle for any mother to try to quietly deal with her own grief while pulling…

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AuthorBuzz Giveaway: Friendship and Marriage

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This week’s AuthorBuzz giveaway dives deep into the complexities of friendship and marriage. Katharine Weber and Amy Blumenfeld are giving away titles that will make you both feel and think a great deal. Don’t miss out! Dear Reader, I’m excited to tell you about my sixth novel! Duncan Wheeler’s car accident has left him paralyzed and haunted by a death. Why live? His desperate wife Laura brings home a helper monkey. Can she help Duncan adapt to this altered life? Or does she hold the key to his exit? Set in New Haven, Still Life With Monkey (Paul Dry Books) is the story of a marriage, and how the accident and this little monkey both affect their marriage, bonding them in…

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Celebrating Lovely Imperfections in “Branching Out”

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Emotional and satisfying, Kerstin March’s novel Branching Out is a skillfully written love story that will truly touch the heart of readers. This isn’t a story about a perfect marriage, and that’s what makes it so very lovely in its deeply moving journey of love between two people. This is a story about loss, love, and forgiveness that readers will not want to put down until the very end. Written as a sequel to March’s novel Family Trees, we join Shelby Meyers and Ryan Chambers at their wedding, which is right where readers want them to be, but this stage of their journey may not be the happily-ever-after they have been dreaming about. Shelby and Ryan couldn’t come from more…

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Just the Right Book Podcast: Marriage and the Art of Living Together

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We have heard these kind of stories a million times. I’m not understood. He doesn’t listen. She spends too much money. I think I married the wrong person. How could she betray me? Are these midlife crises? Are they fatal flaws or are they a rough patch? On this week’s episode we meet Daphne De Marneffe, the author of The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together. She takes us through some of the major stressors of marriage like money and sex, and offers tips for couples who might be going through rough patches or want to avoid them. Daphne is a licensed clinical psychologist offering psychotherapy to couples and individuals. She has a Bachelors degree from Harvard and…

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The Freedom to Love is Paramount in Ariana Mansour’s ‘He Never Deserved Me’

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For most American women, we cannot conceive of marrying a man we don’t love, much less marrying a man our parents and community chooses for us. Not to say that this doesn’t happen in some regions and/or faiths, or that it wasn’t a more common phenomenon in another time and place, but since the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and the mainstreaming of modern feminism, American women have been fighting for respect; not just respect of our persons, but of our needs, desires, passions and our choices. We won’t always make the right choices as life is overwrought with bad mistakes that began with the purest of intentions. But, we should be allowed to make those mistakes in a…

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Second Chance at Love: How a New Man Turned a Writer’s Nightmare into A Dream Come True

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My whole life I dreamed of what it would feel like to fall in love. Listening to love songs and watching romantic movies as a teenager, I was excited to find my own love story. But the realities of my society slammed hard in my face. I was told that I had to chose someone that would be able to support me properly, someone who was from the same social class as me (or higher), and someone I could get along with. Whether we were in love or not, was immaterial. Over the years, I would look at people on the streets: I saw happy couples holding hands, hugging each other or even giving each other a peck on the…

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Arranged Marriage Gone Wrong: Not A Love Story

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When we were writing the book, the subject came up of how I ended up marrying my husband. My best friend kept on saying that it was an arranged marriage and I would explain to her that it wasn’t. Then finally, she asked me, “Why don’t you be the judge of that?” In my society, it was understood and never questioned by anyone that a potential husband should be from a specific social class, the same as mine or higher and of the same ethnic group as me. He had to be older than me because that meant he was financially settled and had the capabilities to support me in the way I was accustomed to or at an even higher…

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‘He Never Deserved Me’: Marrying for Culture, Not Love is a Recipe for Disaster

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Sometimes, things are not exactly what they seem to be. When we were writing He Never Deserved Me, the subject came up of how I ended up marrying my husband. My best friend kept on saying that it was an arranged marriage and I would explain to her that it wasn’t. Why don’t you be the judge of that? In my society, it was understood and never questioned by anyone that a potential husband should be from a specific social class, the same as mine or higher and of the same ethnic group as me. He also had to be older than me because that meant he was financially settled and had the capabilities to support me in the way I…

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Tall Poppies Review: ‘Perennials’ Unfolds Beautifully

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Julie Cantrell has long been one of my favorite authors, a writer whose pages I know I can turn to for stunning language, heartfelt stories and flawless character development. Her latest, Perennials, is no exception, and I found myself completely invested from the very first page. Lovey Sutherland’s Arizona life, complete with her successful career as an advertising executive, her centering yoga routine and her supportive, loving friends, is, on the surface, what she has always wanted. Free from the past she left behind in her hometown of Oxford, Mississippi—and the blame she faced when a fire in her childhood, perceived to be her fault, changed everything—in many ways Lovey has created the future she has always imagined. Even still,…

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On Writing, Friendship and Healing: One Writer’s Journey to the Center of Self

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I met my friend and co-writer 10 years ago. With every year that went by, our friendship quickly escalated from a simple friendship to a soulmate friendship. We talked about everything and anything and it was easy. We both felt no judgment from the other and it made us feel better knowing we had someone to lean on. We were each other’s rock. Our friendship grew stronger and stronger and as she listened to the stories of my marriage, she kept saying that these stories could become be a book and it has now become a reality. As we jotted down the things that had happened in my marriage, she was shocked that I had gone through so much. We…

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‘The State of Affairs’: Sex, Betrayal and Why We Need to Understand Infidelity

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Betrayal, power and affairs are at the scandalous center of our lives and entertainment these days (we’re looking at you Scandal!).  The big question is WHY.  For those of us lost in the dark, Esther Perel just may have the answer. Esther Perel, a Belgian psychotherapist now based in New York City, has a track record of more than 20 years of tackling this taboo topic. Her book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, published in 2007, made headlines when it came out and is still one of the best relationship books we’ve read.  Her TED talk  has received more than 7 million views. While Mating in Captivity dealt with the tensions and contradictions between domesticity and sexual desire, her new book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity,…

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Feldman’s Follow Up to ‘The Book of Jonah’ is Endearing and Darkly Comedic

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Known for his critically-acclaimed debut novel The Book of Jonah, author Joshua Max Feldman is back with another novel that promises to be every bit as engaging, intelligent and introspective as you think it will be. Start Without Me: A Novel does more than just analyze the family dynamics, and the gravity of the struggles and relationships of Feldman’s characters, it also perfectly displays the grip and mastery he has over his writing, creating an eloquent, captivating book. Adam, a former musician and recovering alcoholic, is going home for Thanksgiving for the first time in years. Surrounded by his parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews, Adam knows that he should feel comfortable, safe, and at home – but there’s still the ever-present…

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Elliot Ackerman Has Endless Inspiration for ‘Dark At the Crossing’

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Here is an author whose fiction cannot be separated from his life, or, if you indulge me, whose novels are based on his life. Once a marine, with an impressive five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Elliot Ackerman is now a journalist based in Istanbul, from where he has been covering the Syrian Civil War since 2013. Dark at the Crossing, Ackerman’s sophomore novel, after his much-heralded debut novel, Green on Blue, like its predecessor, deals with characters trapped in the middle of a brutal conflict. The conflict here is not just the obvious Syrian debacle, but also the one of a failed marriage. Ackerman comments on the genesis of the novel as an insight he had while…

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Cultures Clash in Ayobami Adebayo’s Debut, ‘Stay With Me’

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Stay With Me is a story about a Nigerian young couple, Yejide and Akin, who married for love as they faced the challenges of infertility. In their culture, having children is expected, and they are desperate to become parents. Yejide’s mother died when she gave birth so she hopes her feelings of belonging to no one will be rectified once she has a baby. Akin’s mother is relentless and goes behind her daughter-in-law’s back to present other women to her son so he can become a father. The couple had agreed polygamy was not for them but the mother persisted and they unwillingly accepted another wife. Desperation to become pregnant leads Yejide, a modern, working woman, to superstition and ritual and…

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ABC’s ‘American Housewife’ Writer Sarah Dunn Delivers Laughs in ‘The Arrangement’

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Suburban young couple, Lucy and Owen are looking to feel energized and happy in their relationship as well as bring back the butterflies, so their exciting but not so well thought-out solution was The Arrangement. An open marriage for six months; Break all the rules; Do what you want, with whomever you want. No discussing anything with each other. They wrote out a handful of rules and agreed to follow them. This could be just what they need, right? The freedom is refreshing — no trapped feelings; a reason to get dolled up and a feeling of less responsibility. So Owen gets caught up with Izzy, a crazy woman who’s husband cheated on her. She regularly seduces him and then asks…

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Wedded Bliss: The Best Book and TV Marriages that Prove Love Always Wins

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We’re in full swing of the biggest month of the year for weddings: June! And when you think of weddings, you almost always think of love, romance and happily ever afters. As a long time romance reader, I’m used to books that have a happy ending. But here’s the thing: we rarely see what comes next. Usually our couple kisses or gets married and then rides off into the sunset. The drama is over, and we’re left to imagine what the rest of their lives look like. Sometimes it’s nice to imagine that idyllic life, trusting that a couple’s future will be free from angst or hardship. But it’s also not very realistic. Because in reality, marriage isn’t an ending, it’s…

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