Customer Reviews for

The Underside of Joy: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 33 )
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Sort by: Showing 21 – 32 of 33 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is Sere Prince Halverson's debut book and simply put, it is

    This is Sere Prince Halverson's debut book and simply put, it is beautiful.

    Ella Beane and Joe Capozzi, Jr. have been married for three years. They met and had a whirlwind courtship and were married in a few months after meeting each other. When Joe and Ella met, both were having/running away from their pasts/problems. Ella had just left a marriage broken by her inability to carry a child to term, and Joe was dealing with the fallout of his wife Paige leaving without warning and trying to raise his two young children. When one day Joe breaks his own rule, to never turn your back on the ocean, Ella's world comes crashing down.

    With Joe gone, Ella is basically the sole care taker of the kids, but she has Joe's family, his parents and brother David, along with her friend Lucy to provide her with advice and support. She works to keep Joe's family business open and from being drowned in debt. On top of all this and her grief at losing Joe, Paige, the children's beautiful biological mother comes back into the picture and it seems she is hostile towards Ella and has a hidden agenda. But Ella is dealing with everything and doesn't have time to let Paige's machinations get to her. Until she receives a subpoena because Paige has filed for physical custody of the kids.

    I've given away too much of the story, but you have to understand Ella really loves these kids. She's keeping Joe's business and his family's history going, and she's raising these children as her own. When Paige walked out on them, Annie was 3 and Zach was only a few months old. They call her Mommy. So when Ella finds something that can change the course of the custodial hearing she's torn. Does she submit the evidence or does she keep quiet.

    Ms.Halverson has done an amazing job at writing this book and her characters. They're all complex, and definitely now black and white. The shades of grey make you relate and empathize to each and every character, even Paige. I was reading his book while in public and had to try really hard to keep my tears in control in different parts of the book. Ms.Halverson's descriptions are so apt, that I could picture myself on the beach, in the morgue with Ella, looking at Joe's body, the description of the Capozzi family's shop, etc. It was just evocative and stirring overall. I must say I am blown away by this book and by Sere Prince Halverson. She has a gift for writing and I look forward to reading her future books.

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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    A nice read!

    I enjoyed this book. It kept my interest throughout and brought up a lot of other topics. The step-mother was pretty clueless and living in a la-la land. A lived-happily-ever-after book.

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer


    1 Kings 3:16-28, the Bible tells of a story of two women fighting over who was the the mother of one living child. The case was brought before King Solomon, who said he would cut the baby in two, so both women would have the child. One of the women yelled out, "Please, my Lord, give her the living baby! Don't kill him!" After the woman yelled this out he handed her the baby proclaiming, she was indeed the child's mother (NIV).

    The Underside of Joy is a heart-wrenching story of two mothers fighting over 'their' children. Ella Beene and Joe Capozzi have made a wonder and caring home for Annie and Zach. Filled with love and surrounded by Joe's big Italian family. One looking in from the outside would never guess that Ella is the stepmother, because in every single way she is their real...and only mother.

    Paige Capozzi, the children's biological mother couldn't handle the stress of motherhood. Soon after having Zach, she just checked out. As far as everyone knew she hadn't even bothered to send the kids cards or called to see how they were doing. Joe divorced her shortly after he met Ella, who openly welcomed motherhood. And for three years Joe and Ella seemed to have it all. It all ended one summer morning in '99.

    Suddenly, Joe is gone and Ella is on her own with the kids, helping them to deal with their grief. When out of nowhere, Paige turns up. She is ready to take her children back and is ready to fight for them as their biological mother. Ella's world is turned even more upside than she thought possible, as Paige begins making outrageous claims about Joe. Two women fighting over the children they believe to be theirs. The Underside of Joy will have you asking yourself...what makes a mother, but wait to make judgement because you might not have the whole story.

    The Underside of Joy is Seré Prince Halverson debut novel. This one had be grabbing for the kleenex over and over and over again! But don't worry you won't be crying long, because you won't hardly be able to put it down!

    I absolutely LOVED this book! I mean it really plays with the heartstrings. I'm not a stepmother, but I know without a doubt if I was I would be just as much a mama bear as I would be with my biological children making me relate to Ella...and if someone was with my biological children no matter who she was or how wonderful she was to my children, well she wouldn't be me and I would fight like crazy for them, so I could relate on some level to Paige! What a story! And what I've written about today is only the first layer of this amazing story! That's right there is so much more, so much deeper. Ella really walks through some serious stuff to find her way to the end. I have only good things about this book, it was amazing! This is a book I know I will be sharing with the women in my life!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Awesome book!

    I could not put this book down! This was such an inspiring book. I cant wait for more books from this author!

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    Wonderful read - twists and turns kept me reading and thinking about the book afterwards - I love that!

    A great read. It takes place near my home in the California Redwoods which was such fun! I was completely involved in the characters and loved the twists and turns. You'll really enjoy this book!

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    Posted January 17, 2012

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 32 of 33 Customer Reviews
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