A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt

MotherLikeMine

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5-stars

Abby Rhodes has returned to the home of her youth, her grandmother’s little flat in Hartley-by-the-Sea, a lovely coastal village in the Lake District, with her 3-year old son, Noah, in tow. Mary, who raised Abby since the age of 2, has suffered a heart attack.  Since Abby needed somewhere to go after abandoning her veterinary education in Liverpool due to unforeseen circumstances, returning to Hartley-by-the-Sea to help manage the family’s beach café with her grandmother became a feasible option. Two years later Abby is finally feeling settled when her estranged mother shows up and announces that she’s moving in. Abby is not in the least bit amused by her mother’s sudden arrival and pronouncement that she’ll be staying on indefinitely. Laura Rhodes took off when Abby was a toddler, rarely returning to visit.  As a result, Abby feels no real connection or attachment to her mother, and her attitude towards Laura clearly reflects her feelings.

But when Abby observes the interaction between her mother and grandmother, she discerns that their dynamic is much the same as what exists between herself and Laura.  Why is there so much resentment in their family?  In small doses Abby begins to question Laura about events in her mother’s life, and her answers cause Abby to rethink the assumptions she’s made about her mother, and her grandmother.  Both women submit to learning more about one another when tragedy strikes and Laura comes through for her daughter in ways she could never have imagined.  Carefully concealed within the mysterious layers of her mother’s rigid facade are compassion and decency—characteristics that Abby didn’t know her mother possessed. Nevertheless, Abby interacts cautiously with her, defenses always up, afraid that her mother will leave her again.  Abby is clearly suffering from abandonment issues, and she wants to protect Noah from the disappointment and pain that Laura caused her when she fled motherhood. Of course Noah views his “nana” in a benevolent manner, as a young child would, oblivious to the flaws that caused the rift between Laura and his mother.

But when circumstances necessitate that Laura and Abby align themselves to handle matters relating to the future of the beach café, Abby can’t deny Laura’s practical business sense and keen judgment. Soon, mother and daughter are collaborating on ideas about changes to the tired looking beach café, and as they share space together more regularly, the negative, pre-conceived ideas Abby once held about her mother are slowly replaced by feelings of empathy and compassion, as she learns the truth about Laura’s not-so-glamorous life when she left Abby behind.  Laura has even adopted a more selfless attitude and puts Abby and Noah’s needs ahead of her own. She’s starting to resemble a real mother.  Still, Abby has questions. Who is her father? Why did her mother choose to give birth to Abby when it clearly had a tremendous negative impact on her young life?  These questions and many more are what will cement or destroy the relationship that mother and daughter are slowly building.

My Thoughts:

I devoured this book. I loved it. Kate Hewitt portrays emotion in such a profoundly realistic way.  Relatable, life-altering situations—marriage, children, death, are spoken of in such a way that it caused me to stop and ponder.  I love books that evoke that reaction.  And her ability to convey the natural conversational quality of the characters is one of the many reasons why I’ve enjoyed every single book of hers that I’ve read. I also appreciate how she incorporates beloved characters from prior books in the series. Knowing some of their back stories gave the book more depth.

I highly recommend A Mother Like Mine. It’s book three in the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, and can be read as a standalone.

Thank you, Netgalley, for a free e-ARC of A Mother Like Mine.  In exchange I have provided an honest review.

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Cozynookbks **Author Interview**: Kate Hewitt – A Mother Like Mine

MotherLikeMinePaperback:  384 pages

Publisher:  Berkley (August 2017)

Series:  Hartley-by-the-Sea – Book #3

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction


Welcome to England’s beautiful Lake District, where a reluctant reunion forges a new bond between a daughter and her wayward mother….
 
Abby Rhodes is just starting to get her life on track. After her fiancé’s unexpected death, she returned with her young son to the small village where she grew up and threw herself into helping her ailing grandmother run the town’s beach café. Then one evening, her mother, Laura, shows up in Hartley-by-the-Sea and announces her plan to stay. After twenty years away, she now wants to focus on the future—and has no intention, it seems, of revisiting the painful past.
 
Laura Rhodes has made a lot of mistakes, and many of them concern her daughter. But as Abby gets little glimpses into her mother’s life, she begins to realize there are depths to Laura she never knew. Slowly, Abby and Laura start making tentative steps toward each other, only to have life become even more complicated when an unexpected tragedy arises. Together, the two women will discover truths both sad and surprising that draw them closer to a new understanding of what it means to truly forgive someone you love.

See my 5-star review for A Mother Like Mine here.

**INTERVIEW**

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to one of my favorite authors, USA Today Bestselling Author, Kate Hewitt.  Kate wrote A Mother Like Mine, released August, 2017, and it was an EXCELLENT read.  It’s part-3 of her Hartley-by-the-Sea series, but it can be read as a standalone.  Kate has so kindly granted me the privilege of an interview.  So without further ado, let’s find out all about Kate Hewitt and A Mother Like Mine.

  1. Each book in the Hartley-by-the-Sea series focuses on relationships–sisters, friends, mother/daughter. What inspired you to write a series based on relationships?

I think relationships are fundamental to our existence as well as our happiness, and every relationship, no matter how loving or close, is complex. Both those things compel me to write about them.

  1. Although the Hartley-by-the-Sea series can certainly be read as standalone books, I love how you incorporate many of the beloved characters from prior books in the series into each successive book. How do you manage to transition characters so flawlessly from one book to the next?

Thank you for saying it’s flawless! I usually go back and re-read the prior book before writing the next, so it’s all fresh in my mind, and having lived in a village, weaving lives together in a neighborly way feels natural.

  1. You’re very adept at depicting fictitious events in your books in an utterly realistic way. Do you draw from your own life experiences, and/or that of others, in order to achieve this?

I think every writer draws from their own emotional experience, even if the events are different. I often find my life experiences coming into my novels almost by accident—kind of like therapy for me! The emotional experiences that shape my own life are definitely in my books, in one way or another. For example, in A Mother Like Mine, the experience of Annie and Laura during Mary’s death was taken from my experience of my father’s death.

  1. One of the things I love about your books is that they have an atmospheric quality that enables the reader to become immediately immersed in the narrative, as well as the setting. Is it challenging to accomplish this, or does it come naturally to you?

I love writing about setting, and I find it is so important in grounding a reader in place and experience. It’s something that is a big part of my writing and always has been, so in that way it comes naturally, although as with any aspect of writing I try to improve.  : )

  1. As an American ex-pat living in the UK for over a decade, what’s one of the most significant adjustments you’ve had to make as far as your writing’s concerned, or otherwise?

I think the biggest adjustment has been in accepting that I sound more and more British, and my books are aimed more and more for a British audience, although admittedly one that occasionally finds my word choice jarring. I still definitely have a foot in both worlds, which is not always comfortable.

  1. Since British and American culture differ in many respects, do you find it easier to write about British or American characters/settings? Why or why not?

I find it easiest to write about Americans in Britain, or British people in America, because in some ways that is my experience—as I said in the previous answer, a foot in both worlds.

  1. Although Hartley-by-the-Sea, a lovely coastal village, is not an actual place in the UK, the beautiful Lake District, wherein it is situated, is. Can you tell us why you chose this location for the series?

Hartley-by-the-Sea is a fictional version of the village I lived in, St Bees. Having lived there, it was easy to write about, although I admit I did start confusing fiction with reality at one point and called the local pub The Hangman’s Noose, which is not its name in real life!

  1. You’ve written over fifty books. Are you ever at a loss as to what to write next, or does subject matter come naturally to you?

I always have a few ideas percolating, but some are more persistent and well-formed than others.

  1. Your books move fluidly from beginning to end without waning, a challenge which some authors lament about. Which section of a book do you find it most difficult to write: beginning, middle or end?

Definitely the middle! I always get to a certain point, about a hundred pages in, and wonder how on earth I can spin this story out and make it interesting! Usually that means I need to take a walk and have a good, long think about the plot and characters.

  1. A Mother like Mine concludes with an opportunity to expound upon Laura’s and Abby’s stories. Will we be reading more about them in the future?

At this point, I am not going to write any more Hartley-by-the-Sea stories, sadly! But I do have a series set in another village in the Lake District, called The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite.

  1. What’s next for you?

The aforementioned series, and I am also working on a new novel I am really excited about—something more issue-driven and very emotional, similar to my novels This Fragile Life and When He Fell.

Thank you, Kate Hewitt, for the opportunity to interview you today.  All the best with the new projects.  I look forward to finding out more about them.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Laurie!


katehewitt

Kate Hewitt

Kate Hewitt is the author of over 50 novels of romance and women’s fiction.  A former diehard New Yorker and American ex-pat, she now lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five children.  She loves telling an emotionally compelling story whatever the genre.  Learn more about her here.

 

Find Kate online:

Website    **    Twitter   **   Instagram    **   Blog    **   Facebook   **   Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon  **  Barnes & Noble  **  Kobo   **  Books A Million  **  Google Play

 

 

Review: Now and Then Friends

Now and Then Friends
Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Now and Then Friends can be summed up in one word:  BRILLIANT!!  Book 2 in the Hartley-by-The-Sea series, it has become my favorite book thus far in 2016.  It’s the first book this year to make me cry intermittently, and one in which I was sincerely disappointed to see end.  I have loved all of Kate Hewitt’s books, but she really outdid herself with this one. All of the characters, main and secondary, were so well developed and beautifully flawed with such admirable, redeeming qualities, that I was majorly interested in each of their stories.

In it we find two women, Rachel Campell and Claire West, best friends in primary school but who after four years drifted apart when Claire, the shy but financially privileged one, seemingly abandoned Rachel for the “in” crowd of girls that embraced her. It’s about 16 years later and Rachel stumbles upon Claire in her parent’s house, which Rachel cleans, presenting a very awkward reunion between the two.  Claire has been living and working in Portugal with her now ex-fiancé, Hugh, but has returned to her childhood home in Hartley-by-The-Sea to reclaim her life and start over on her own terms, without everyone else’s interference as to what’s the best course for her to take.  Rachel’s dreams of procuring a University education dissolved after a mere two weeks when her mother had an accident while on a cleaning job rendering her bedridden, and relegating Rachel to the tasks of caring for her, the cleaning business and her two younger sisters since her father took off shortly after their mum became incapacitated. These are the predicaments of the two women when they come face to face after 16 years. What ensues after that is stubborn pride, resentments, and misunderstandings that initially hinder a proper reconciliation.  However, as circumstances in life cause both women to converge and grow, there’s the hope that with some compromise everyone involved can see a brighter future.

The vivid setting, superb depth of characters, deeply emotional dialogue, complex relationships and wry humor kept me planted to my seat in eager expectation of each pursuant chapter. There are so many astonishing moments to relive in my mind’s eye that this book will have a lasting favorable impact on me for many days, weeks or even months to come. I await Book 3 in the series with eager anticipation.

Thank you Penguin Random House for a free copy of this amazing book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: The Lost Garden

The Lost Garden
The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 The Lost Garden is Book 2 in the Tales from Goswell series, and like the first in the series, The Vicar’s Wife, it is set in England. (The Vicar’s Wife was my favorite book of 2013.)  Although The Lost Garden is book 2 in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone.

I relished The Lost Garden!  I shrieked with delight when characters from The Vicar’s wife appeared. It was like catching up with beloved old friends. The Lost Garden covered two time periods, the present day and the early 1900’s. Both stories were poignant and involved women who were affected by loss, guilt, and unrequited love, along with the desire to reinvigorate a garden that had been neglected and abandoned as a way to bring a little bit of joy into their grief-stricken lives. The garden is the same in both stories.  Marin Ellis, the woman of the present day, is trying to start a new life as guardian to her 15-year old half-sister, Rebecca. Their father and Rebecca’s mother were killed in a car accident. Having had no previous relationship, the two are trying to adjust to one another while struggling with feelings they secretly harbor against their respective parents.  While on holiday they fall in love with a little house on a vicarage property, called Bower House, and Rebecca convinces her half-sister to purchase it. They soon begin to settle in to their new lives and in time Marin becomes mystified by a photograph she sees of a young, unidentified woman who was standing in her little home’s walled garden with a butterfly on her fingertips, a yearning man in the background.  Who were these two people of over a century ago with the odd expressions, she wonders, and what was going on in their lives?

Eleanor Sanderson has lost her brother to war and she’s devastated. She so loved her brother Walter, and the news of his death is almost too much for her to bear.  Her brother’s friend James has returned physically unharmed by the war, but emotionally he’s a different man, a man who no longer seems interested in her sister, who he’s promised to marry.  Injured soldiers and dashed hopes permeate everyone’s existence in Cumberland, and Eleanor struggles with feelings of hopelessness. She makes up her mind to have the vicarage garden recultivated, along with the walled garden by the little house on the property where her grandmother Elizabeth resides, Bower House, to especially inspire blind soldiers with fragrant blooms that will hopefully lift their spirits; and the gardener, Jack Taylor, is just the man to help her do it. Jack has experience with the war, but Eleanor is intrigued by the way he seems able to cope, not like her brother-in-law James.  As a forbidden relationship begins to develop, secrets are uncovered and Eleanor’s life will change even further.

The two stories ultimately converge since the houses in both time periods are the same. This is referred to as a time slip novel, and I don’t know how Katharine Swartz does it every time, but she’s masterful at writing this type of novel.  I’ve enjoyed all of her stories in this particular format, and The Lost Garden was no exception. Both stories held my interest and the setting was one that I always enjoy, England.  I highly recommend The Lost Garden, and I hope there will be a book 3 in the Tales from Goswell series.

Thank you Library Thing and Lion Fiction for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: The Other Side of The Bridge

The Other Side of The Bridge
The Other Side of The Bridge by Katharine Swartz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  The other side of the bridge is a beautifully written time-slip novel (a novel that covers two different time periods) that tells the story of two women,  Ava Lancet and her grandmother, Sophia Paranoussis.

Ava’s story –

Takes place in our current day. Grieving over her failing marriage and the loss of her newborn child, Ava makes the impetuous decision to leave England and travel to Greece where she has inherited her grandmother Sophia’s farmhouse, which has sat desolate for decades. Ava hadn’t even been aware that her grandmother owned a house in Greece. Nevertheless she is determined to travel there and stay in the farmhouse for an indefinite time in the hopes of sorting out her life. Her dreams of a fresh start in her grandmother’s native land are quickly shattered when she arrives to find the house in a delapidated state and practically uninhabitable. Alone and without an interim place to stay, Ava has to depend on local residents for help, and to come to terms with her spontaneous decision to move to Greece.  Fortunately for her the village of tight-knit residents are willing to lend a helping hand, especially in light of the fact that her grandmother was known to some of them. Although one particular older resident, Parthenope, becomes highly agitated when she sees Ava, as though her resemblance to her grandmother, Sophia, stirs up bad memories. But what bad memories? As Ava continues to dwell in Greece her curiosity about her grandmother’s legacy is kindled, and many secrets about Sophia are slowly revealed. And amidst it all she learns vital lessons about herself that will assist her in piecing her own life back together.

Sophia’s story –

Begins during WW2 with the German and Italian invasion of Greece. Sophia, her sister Angelika and their  father live a modest life in Iousidous, a small village in rural Greece. The girls’ mother is deceased, and discreet, sensible Sophia works hard both inside and outside of the home to keep the family safe and in tact during the perilous times in which they live. Her younger sister, Angelika, is more of an adventure seeker and foolishly becomes involved with a Greek resistance member to Sophia’s utter dismay. The resistance groups don’t all work together, and can be as much a nuisance and threat as the Nazis themselves. How could her sister be so careless? Soon Sophia is conscripted to aid the resistance and her life is changed forever.

The alternating narratives of Sophia and Ava’s stories was enthralling. Seeing how each of their lives was transformed by very different circumstances made for an interesting read. Katharine Swartz is, to me, Queen of the time-slip novel.  She is very adept at this type of storytelling.  I became acquainted with her books when I read The Vicar’s Wife, one of her other time-slip novels, which instantly became one of my favorites. I can always count on her for a good story, and that’s what I got with The Other Side of the Bridge. I enjoyed this book very much and would certainly recommend it. I only wish it had been longer.

This book was part of my Kindle Library.

You can find out more about Katharine Swartz and her books here:

http://www.amazon.com/Katharine-Swartz/e/B001JAO47U.

She also writes under the name Kate Hewitt. You can read more about her here:

http://www.kate-hewitt.com

 

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Review: Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel

Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel
Rainy Day Sisters: A Hartley-by-the-Sea Novel by Kate Hewitt
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Half sisters Juliet and Lucy Bagshaw, practically estranged from one another, with a mother who seemingly exists for the sole purpose of irritating them, are brought together when the younger sister Lucy loses her boyfriend, career and reputation back in Boston.  Meanwhile in England her older half-sister Juliet who runs a small B&B at Tarn House invites her to come and stay with her for a few months until she can get her life together.  Polar opposites, Lucy is youthful, easygoing, free-spirited, and affable.  Juliet is uptight, subdued, austere and bitter.  Things get off to a rocky start and Lucy questions her decision to live in England with her sister at Tarn House in the cold, rainy Hartley-by-the-sea. But when both sisters begin to co-exist amicably, secrets involving their mother Fiona eventually come to light, and hard decisions in their lives must be made.
From the very first few pages of Rainy Day Sisters a warmth enveloped me that is a hallmark of Kate Hewitt’s books, along with an atmospheric quality that I love.  I could immediately envision the bucolic, remote English village overlooking fields of sheep and fells while reading.  I could feel the tension between the two sisters, and could sense the varying natures of the village’s secondary characters that enlivened the story. There was a nice, mellow flow of events with an ending that left me satisfied and then hungering for a continuation of Juliet and Lucy’s story, particularly as it relates to their love lives, their mother and their relationship with one another. A very enjoyable read that I would highly recommend.
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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