Genre: Women's Fiction
Publication Date: April 2010
Author's Website: www.laurielclewis.com
First Sentence: Everyone knew it was inevitable--everyone but Avery Elkins Thompson herself.
After reading the Free Men and Dreamers historical fiction series by Laurie (L.C.) Lewis, I was excited to read Awakening Avery, her latest novel. I was engaged in the story from the opening scene where Avery, the main character, takes out her anger over her husband’s death on anything she can find, including a television and VCR. I immediately wanted to know more about the kind of relationship that would make her feel so passionate and out of control.
About the book:
"You're depressed," the doctor declared.My opinion:
"Ya think?" is author Avery Elkins Thompson's sarcastic response to the astute diagnosis for the malaise that set in following her husband's untimely death. Avery's carefully controlled world is imploding, and her adult children fear they are losing her too.
"You're just a shadow of the person you used to be...We'd gladly give you up for a while if it meant getting you back."
Avery can't write, and questions about their father's death leave the family mired in pain. "We need a healing place," her oldest son tells her, suggesting she find it on Anna Maria Island, Florida, a former family vacation spot.
When Avery returns to Baltimore to sell the family's waterfront condo, she meets rodeo-ers-turned-real-estate-brokers Teddie and Rider Davis, and Avery's quiet life will never be the same again.
The Davises help arrange a short-term house swap with widower Gabriel Carson from Anna Maria, whose overprotective parenting has resulted in two self-centered, twenty-something daughters. Avery and Gabriel are in for the summer of their lives as they step into one another's messy, complicated worlds.
Still, venturing out on her own again is challenging for Avery, whose experiences at the Ringling's magnificent Ca d'Zan mansion, and with the quirky characters she meets there, eventually awaken her to truths she has long forgotten - that as crazy as life can be, it is possible to laugh and love again.
Lewis has created authentic characters with distinct personalities. I identified with the emotions of each of her children as they struggled with their own feelings about their father’s untimely death, as well as how to support and love their mother through something so difficult.
The pacing of the story was well done. Avery’s journey to rediscover herself was present, but never felt rushed or as though something magical was sweeping her very real problems away. I’m not sure if the author has experienced the death of a closed loved one, but she portrayed the feelings of such a heartbreaking event perfectly.
Awakening Avery is a thought provoking book that will tug at your heartstrings. It is a novel unlike any other I’ve read, and I highly recommend it.