Twentysomething Kate Davis can't seem to get this grieving-widow thing right. She's supposed to put on a brave face and get on with her life, right? Instead she's camped out on her living room floor, unwashed, unkempt, and unable to sleep—because her husband, Kevin, keeps talking to her.
Is she losing her mind?
Kate's attempts to find the source of the voice she hears are both humorous and humiliating, as she turns first to an "eclectically spiritual" counselor, then a shrink with a bad toupee, a mean-spirited exorcist, and finally group therapy. There she meets Jack, the warmhearted, unconventional pastor of a ramshackle church, and at last the voice subsides. But when she stumbles upon a secret Kevin was keeping, Kate's fragile hold on the present threatens to implode under the weight of the past . . . and Kevin begins to shout.
Will the voice ever stop? Kate must confront her grief to find the grace to go on, in this tender, quirky story about second chances.
|Publisher:||David C Cook|
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About the Author
Bonnie Grove developed and wrote social programs for families at risk before landing her first publishing deal for Your Best You: Discovering and Developing the Strengths God Gave You. Talking to the Dead is her first novel. Grove and her pastor husband, Steve, have two children; they live in Saskatchewan.
Read an Excerpt
TALKING TO THE DEAD
By BONNIE GROVE
David C. CookCopyright © 2009 Bonnie Grove
All rights reserved.
Kevin was dead and the people in my house wouldn't go home. They mingled after the funeral, eating sandwiches, drinking tea, and speaking in muffled tones. I didn't feel grateful for their presence. I felt exactly nothing.
Funerals exist so we can close doors we'd rather leave open. But where did we get the idea that the best approach to facing death is to eat Bundt cake?
I refused to pick at dainties and sip hot drinks. Instead I wandered into the backyard.
I knew if I turned my head I'd see my mother's back as she guarded the patio doors. Mom would let no one pass. As a recent widow herself, she knew my need to stare into my loss alone.
I sat on the porch swing and closed my eyes, letting the June sun warm my bare arms. Instead of closing the door on my pain, I wanted it to swing from its hinges so the searing winds of grief could scorch my face and body. Maybe I hoped to die from exposure.
Kevin had been dead three hours before I had arrived at the hospital. A long time for my husband to be dead without me knowing. He was so altered, so permanently changed without my being aware.
I had stood in the emergency room, surrounded by faded blue cotton curtains, looking at the naked remains of my husband while nurses talked in hushed tones around me. A sheet covered Kevin from his hips to his knees. Tubes, which had either carried something into or away from his body, hung disconnected and useless from his arms. The twisted remains of what I assumed to be some sort of breathing mask lay on the floor. "What happened?" I said in a whisper so faint I knew no one could hear. Maybe I never said it at all. A short doctor with a pronounced lisp and quiet manner told me Kevin's heart killed him. He used difficult phrases; medical terms I didn't know, couldn't understand. He called it an episode and said it was massive. When he said the word massive, spit flew from his mouth, landing on my jacket's lapel. We had both stared at it.
When my mother and sister, Heather, arrived at the hospital, they gazed speechlessly at Kevin for a time, and then took me home. Heather had whispered with the doctor, their heads close together, before taking a firm hold on my arm and walking me out to her car. We drove in silence to my house. The three of us sat around my kitchen table looking at each other.
Several times my mother opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Our words had turned to cotton, thick and dry. We couldn't work them out of our throats. I had no words for my abandonment. Like everything I knew to be true had slipped out the back door when I wasn't looking.
"What happened?" I said again. This time I knew I had said it out loud. My voice echoed back to me off the kitchen table.
"Remember how John Ritter died? His heart, remember?" This from Heather, my younger, smarter sister. Kevin had died a celebrity's death.
From the moment I had received the call from the hospital until now, slumped on the backyard swing, I had allowed other people to make all of my bereavement decisions. My mother and mother-in-law chose the casket and placed the obituary in the paper. Kevin's boss at the bank, Donna Walsh, arranged for the funeral parlor and even called the pastor from the church that Kevin had attended until he was sixteen to come and speak. Heather silently held my hand through it all. I didn't feel grateful for their help.
I sat on the porch swing, and my right foot rocked on the grass, pushing and pulling the swing. My head hurt. I tipped it back and rested it on the cold, inflexible metal that made up the frame for the swing. It dug into my skull. I invited the pain. I sat with it, supped with it.
I opened my eyes and looked up into the early June sky. The clouds were an unmade bed. Layers of white moved rumpled and languid past the azure heavens. Their shapes morphed and faded before my eyes. A Pegasus with the face of a dog; a veiled woman fleeing; a villain; an elf. The shapes were strange and unreliable, like dreams. A monster, a baby—I wanted to reach up to touch its soft, wrinkled face. I was too tired. Everything was gone, lost, emptied out.
I had arrived home from the hospital empty-handed. No Kevin. No car—we left it in the hospital parking lot for my sister to pick up later. "No condition to drive," my mother had said. She meant me.
Empty-handed. The thought, incomplete and vague, crept closer to consciousness. There should have been something. I should have brought his things home with me. Where were his clothes? His wallet? Watch? Somehow they'd fled the scene.
"How far could they have gotten?" I said to myself. Without realizing it, I had stood and walked to the patio doors. "Mom?" I said as I walked into the house.
She turned quickly, but said nothing. My mother didn't just understand what was happening to me. She knew. She knew it like the ticking of a clock, the wind through the windows, like everything a person gets used to in life. It had only been eight months since Dad died. She knew there was little to be said. Little that should be said. Once, after Dad's funeral, she looked at Heather and me and said, "Don't talk. Everyone has said enough words to last for eternity."
I noticed how tall and straight she stood in her black dress and sensible shoes. How long must the dead be buried before you can stand straight again? "What happened to Kevin's stuff?" Mom glanced around as if checking to see if a guest had made off with the silverware.
I swallowed hard and clarified. "At the hospital. He was naked." A picture of him lying motionless, breathless on the white sheets filled my mind. "They never gave me his things. His, whatever, belongings. Effects."
"I don't know, Kate," she said. Like it didn't matter. Like I should stop thinking about it. I moved past her, careful not to touch her, and went in search of my sister.
Heather sat on my secondhand couch in my living room, a two-seater with the pattern of autumn leaves. She held an empty cup and a napkin, dark crumbs tumbling off onto the carpet. Her long brown hair, usually left down, was pulled up into a bun. She looked pretty and sad. She saw me coming, her brown eyes widening in recognition. Recognition that she should do something. Meet my needs, help me, make time stand still. She quickly ended the conversation she was having with Kevin's boss and met me in the middle of the living room.
"Hey," she said, touching my arm. I took a small step back, avoiding her warm fingers.
"Where would his stuff go?" I blurted out. Heather's eyebrows snapped together in confusion. "Kevin's things," I said. "They never gave me his things. I want to go and get them. Will you come?"
Heather stood very still for a moment, straight-backed like she was made of wood, then relaxed. "You mean at the hospital. Right, Kate? Kevin's things at the hospital?"
Tears welled in my eyes. "There was nothing. You were there. When we left, they never gave me anything of his." I realized I was trembling.
Heather bit her lower lip and looked into my eyes. "Let me do that for you. I'll call the hospital—" I stood on my tiptoes and opened my mouth. "I'll go," she corrected before I could say anything. "I'll go and ask around. I'll get his stuff and bring it here."
"I need his things."
Heather cupped my elbow with her hand. "You need to lie down. Let me get you upstairs, and as soon as you're settled, I'll go to the hospital and find out what happened to Kevin's clothes, okay?"
Fatigue filled the small spaces between my bones. "Okay." She led me upstairs. I crawled under the covers as Heather closed the door, blocking the sounds of the people below.CHAPTER 2
It was dark when I half woke. I wasn't alone in the bedroom. I could see nothing in the darkness, but I could feel Kevin standing by the door. My heart beat out a staccato rhythm, but my body remained loose and limp. I opened my mouth, but found I had no voice. The words I formed fell back into my throat. His presence seemed to move from the doorway to the end of the bed. Whatever his intent, I was powerless to either resist or comply. I blinked in the darkness, tears forming at the corners of my eyes.
"Go back to sleep. Everything is fine," Kevin said, his voice low and commanding.
Everything wasn't fine. He was dead and I was alone and none of this was supposed to happen. I rolled onto my side and sobbed as the darkness overtook me.
I awoke with a start. I heard a noise, rumbling and deep, like a man's voice. I strained my ears, but heard nothing more. The sun peered in around the blinds. Kevin's clothes were at the bottom of my bed, neatly folded.
I grabbed the clothes and buried my face in their folds. They smelled of citrus, as if recently laundered. I slipped on Kevin's blue-striped dress shirt. His belt lay coiled on top of his black slacks. I found his wallet in the back pocket and placed it on top of his dresser beside his wedding ring the funeral director had returned to me only two days before. Something was missing, but I couldn't think what. Another noise, this time like the scraping of a chair.
I headed downstairs. I went into the kitchen and was neither surprised nor alarmed to see Blair Winters sitting at the table. He looked up from the magazine he was reading and gave me a small "Hey." Blair held up the set of keys that Kevin had given him the day we moved in. "I let myself in." He pocketed them.
Blair Winters was Kevin's best man at our wedding and best friend in life. He was a pallbearer at Kevin's funeral and cried without restraint at the grave site.
They were an unlikely pair, Kevin and Blair. They had met at basketball tryouts their junior year of high school. Kevin was a serious guy who believed in hard work and dating one girl at a time. Blair was already on his way to becoming one of the most popular guys in high school. He had a rumpled, lazy look that drove girls crazy, which was fine with him.
When Blair left Greenfield for college, everyone in town said he'd never come back. They were wrong. The ink wasn't dry on his degree before he was back in town, much to the delight of his mother and the dismay of several coeds. He opened a small skateboard shop that dealt in exclusive, expensive parts. His mother had called his shop "a fine waste of an expensive degree."
I could still see the remnants of the playboy I knew in high school as I looked at Blair's face that morning. I noticed lines forming around his mouth, and a sadness that stretched over his face like a mask, but they did nothing to diminish his sex appeal. Even in my numb state I recognized his appeal. He looked like a man any woman would kiss. A coed, a mother, a nun.
I grabbed a box of cereal. "What are you up to?" I opened the fridge for the milk. I had to move two casserole dishes and a bowl of grapes in order to reach it. The entire town had cooked for me. I would be eating lasagna for years.
"Nothing," he said, tossing the magazine into the recycle bin by the back door. "I checked on you, but you were sleeping so I came down here."
"How long have you been here?"
He looked at his bare wrist. "Uh, it was pretty early when I got up. I couldn't sleep so I decided to go for a walk. I wandered around for a while and found myself in front of your guys' house. Your house." He pawed at his face with both hands. "I guess it was around three," he spoke into his palms.
"A.M.?" I asked stupidly.
I shrugged and grabbed two bowls. Blair and I ate our cereal in silence.
"Do you want to know what his last words to me were?" Blair asked, breaking the stillness. He didn't look at me, just traced the maze on the back of the cereal box with his index finger.
"We were on the phone, the day before he ... We'd been talking for about ten minutes; I was trying to help him with a problem he was having." He threw me a look I couldn't read, and then went back to the maze. "It was just some stuff at work he was trying to get straight. Anyway, at the end of our conversation, he said, 'You're a great friend, Blair. Like a brother.'" Blair's face trembled and crumbled. I thought he was crying, but when he spoke next his voice was calm. "Do you remember his last words to you? I mean, do you want to tell me?"
Kevin's last words to me? Did he kiss me good-bye before he drove off into his eternity? Did he call me from work to tell me he'd be home early—or late? Had he called on his cell phone, pounding his fist at red lights and telling me how he loved me? I didn't know. I couldn't remember.
Since Kevin died, I had tried to look into the days and weeks prior, but all I could see was a yawning, dark hole. My memories had been taken by blunt force. I wasn't sure when it happened, when my memories had slipped away. But looking at Blair's grief-doused face, I was certain they were gone.
Most of them, anyway. The dark hole, the abyss where my recent past resided, wasn't a complete void. Swirling in the midst of obscurity were pockets of light, like snapshots. Each one swam alone, unconnected to any other, unfettered. One of them, more a soundtrack than an image, played over again in my mind: Kevin saying, "Don't wait for me."
The statement taunted me like a bully. What did it mean? Whom was he speaking to? When had he said it? And when would I remember again? But even if I couldn't make sense of what he was saying, I played it over and over in my mind just to hear his voice.
Blair stared at me for a few moments, and, when it was clear I would say no more, he got up from the table in a series of jerky movements that caused milk to spill from his bowl onto the table. "Sorry. I should go." He walked to the back door. I followed wordlessly. Blair kissed the top of my head, an easy place for him to reach. He was over six feet tall, I just over five foot four. "If you need me, I'm only a phone call away. Day or night, Kate. Okay?"
He reached for the knob and hesitated. He turned and looked into my eyes. "Seriously, Kate. Anything."
When he was gone, I locked the back door and felt the emptiness of the house enfold me.
I left the dishes on the table and walked into the living room. Everything had been cleaned mercilessly. I could see no evidence of the funeral reception. It was as if it had never happened. I sat on the floor, my back to the two-seater sofa, and drew my knees up to my chest. Maybe it hadn't happened. Maybe it was a mistake. A divine clerical error.
Once, when I was at home unpacking my food after grocery shopping, I discovered a bag that didn't belong to me. I had stood in my kitchen wondering what I should do with four avocados, a package of condoms, and denture cleaner. Maybe that's what had happened this time. I'd picked up someone else's tragedy by mistake.
"The cereal is going to dry right onto those bowls," Kevin said from the kitchen.
"Who cares?" I said, lost in my wishful thinking.
"You hate it when the cereal is stuck to the sides of the bowl."
"I'm cold," he said.
"Where are you?"
My head felt light, a nebulous balloon floating above my body. I ran into the kitchen, catching my toe on a chair. "Kevin?" There was no one there.
The phone rang. I stood immobile, staring at it. My heart ricocheted off my breastbone as I reached for the receiver. I picked it up and pushed it to my ear. My lips parted. "Kevin?"
"Kate?" my mother said. "Are you there? I wanted to tell you that I left a turkey salad in the fridge for your lunch." I nodded, saying nothing. I hung up. It wasn't Kevin. He wasn't here. Hope and helplessness blended like oil and water in my stomach. Of course Kevin's not here, I thought. He's dead. No one talks to the dead.CHAPTER 3
I rambled through the main floor of my small house that night. Earlier the sunset had thrown prisms onto my walls, but now it was dark. The only light came from the streetlamp shining through the front window, turning my walls the color of muddy floors. Normal people were sleeping. But I wasn't normal, not anymore. Several times that night I stood at the bottom of the stairs that led to my bedroom. I gazed up into the darkness of the second-floor hallway, but I couldn't climb the stairs. Couldn't lift a foot to the first step. It was as if my desolation had multiplied the power of gravity. I was stuck.
My body was somnolent, but my restive mind barked out orders to keep moving, stay awake, stay watchful. I paced on rubbery legs, longing for unconsciousness. My mind, luminously awake, sewed blindfolds of anger and forged a strong rope of despair. Bound and helpless, I spoke: "Kevin?" Only the ticking of a clock responded. I picked up a cushion from the sofa and hugged it like a lost love. "Kevin, are you there?" I waited for an eternity. I closed my eyes and concentrated on trying to hear his voice. I listened until my head hurt. The silence whistled to me.
Excerpted from TALKING TO THE DEAD by BONNIE GROVE. Copyright © 2009 Bonnie Grove. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
An Interview with Bonnie Groves,
Group Discussion Topics,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
is a page turner in the truest sense of the word. You'll forget to eat while you are reading this story! No joke! I read this book in two sittings. It was absolutely amazing. Talking to the Dead is making my best of 2009 fiction list for sure. The writing was so well done I'd never guess it was a debut novel. I loved how the author didn't hold back on any of the issues that the character Kate was dealing with. Plus, the ending made me smile and emit a satisfied sigh. I've read some other books dealing with pain and grief and none of them come close to being as good as this one. It almost reads like a suspense in that you find out a little bit more and a little bit more as the story moves along. More than once I found myself saying, "No way!" Yet it was totally believable. The way her mind dealt with the trauma, like when she watched that short video clip over and over was SO well done. I felt like I was Kate and I hurt right along with her. At the same time I rejoiced with her when things started turning around. The dialog was also done amazing as well. The honesty of the spiritual journey and the character's inner voice was fabulous. And for people who don't know much about mental health issues, I loved how accurate and true-to-life the story was. Clearly the author did her research in many areas. I can't say enough great things about this debut novel. If you don't buy any other books this year, get this one!
This debut novel about a woman who hears from her dead husband, who slips into depression and inertia to the point where she cannot function--then finds her way out of it--is spellbinding. Early on, you get the feeling that Kevin and Kate's relationship wasn't all sunshine and roses...but little does a reader dream how much is coming as her memories begin to clarify and return. I bought this book at a writers' conference and stayed up WAY past my bedtime to read it--and was done with it before we left, two days later. Masterfully crafted, deeply emotional, disturbing, uplifting, edifying--Ms. Grove has it all covered. Do NOT miss this one!
Wow. This book was.. in a word: POWERFUL!!! I don't even know how to begin to review this book right now.. I ordered this book because my sister-in-law edited it, and RAVED about it.. but just before the book arrived, my husband left me. It took me 6 months before I was able to read this book about the loss of a husband.. Let me tell you, I wanted to throw it against the wall a few times, and almost stopped reading it entirely, because I was able to relate to the main character in a very painful way... I actually could pick ou...more POWERFUL!!! I don't even know how to begin to review this book right now.. I ordered this book because my sister-in-law edited it, and RAVED about it.. but just before the book arrived, my husband left me. It took me 6 months before I was able to read this book about the loss of a husband.. Let me tell you, I wanted to throw it against the wall a few times, and almost stopped reading it entirely, because I was able to relate to the main character in a very painful way... I actually could pick out who each character in the book is in my life right now. But the more angry I got at the book, the harder it was to put down. I'm really glad I continued on.. Bonnie's novel has an incredible way of delivering hope. How appropriate that I should finish this book on March fourth.. Which is the mantra I had after reading this... "March forth.
Talking to the Dead Bonnie Grove 2009 David C Cook Fiction/Christian Reviewed by Cindy Loven Kate Davis is sinking! Fast! October had brought the drowning death of her father, and now Spring, has brought another tragedy. Her husband Kevin is suddenly dead. This is not how her life is supposed to be. She truly thinks she may be going crazy. Even the professionals think she is going off the deep end. She is hearing Kevin talk to her. They keep characterizing her as hearing voices, but it is just Kevin's voice. The scary thing is Kate has also lost her memory. Her journey to bring herself back to reality is a painful journey. Seeking professional help, and even Spiritual help, Kate finds that not all people serve God equally, or have a right view of God. Abused by a over zealous pastor, trying to cast out the "demon" within her, Kate is leery of all things connected with God. Enter Pastor Jack, a wonderful man devoted to giving to inner city kids. His time, his love and his devotion to the kids of Glen Hills Community Center. He also has a church of 'sorts' that meets each Sunday at the Center. Most importantly, he is a friend, a friend determined to help her realize that God is not like what she has been presented, and determined to help her through this difficult time in her life. Many surprises, even betrayals by family and friends along Kate's path to healing, make Bonnie Grove's novel a story that will touch your heart. When first considering this book for review, I was truly afraid it would be some sort of weird, supernatural story. You will be touched and moved by this story. Bonnie Grove's first novel, will never strike you as a first novel. The story is amazing and well written. The depth of the story is amazing to me. The book ends with a Afterword Interview with Bonnie Grove, and a list of discussion questions for a book club or group discussion. Most definitely a book to share with friends. 368 pages $14.99 US
Kate Davis is having a really bad day. And just when she thinks it can't get any worse, her husband Kevin assures her everything is fine. The problem is, Kevin's dead. Talking to the Dead is a provocative, fast-paced, page-turning debut nobvel that will make you an instant fan of this author. It pulls you in from the first line and holds you spellbound till the final page. This is a great selection for book clubs, as there are several subjects just right for discussion.
This is such an interesting concept for a book. We follow a new widow as she goes on her journey of grief. Or is it grief? As Kate suffers from memory loss of what happened leading up to Kevin's sudden death she struggles to work through her grief, she starts recovering her memories. The question is, does she really want to remember? The problem is that Kevin died, but he hasn't quit talking to her. Is he a ghost, is she crazy? What is going on! This book kept me turning the pages to find out what was really happening to Kate and what happened in the year leading up to Kevin's death. I would categorize this as women's fiction with a little mystery mixed in. I enjoyed "Talking to the Dead" and look forward to more books by Bonnie.
Every once in a while a book grabs from the first sentence and doesn't let go until the reader turns the final page. Even then, like a magnet, the reader is drawn back to reflect. This is that book. Written in the first person narrative of Kate, and interspersed with her snippets of memories in third person narratives, this tale of a grief stricken, young woman is told. Even though the topic is glum, the story shines with brightness. This is a must-read. Interview with the author and discussion topics are included.
This story follows the painful emotional journey of a woman named Kate whose husband has unexpectedly died. Kate is not coping well and experiences some unusual side effects of her grief...namely that she hears her dead husband talking to her. This story moves along quickly as one complication after another send her mental health into a nose dive. There were many things I liked about this story. There is never a dull moment which resulted in me reading the book in two sittings. I didn't want to wait to find out what happened next. I also thought the author did a great job conveying Kate's pain to the reader. This poor woman had a rough go of it. But the one thing that prevented me from loving the book was the behaviour of the secondary characters. I won't give details so as to not spoil the story but I will say that I found the behaviour of the most important people in her life to be unbelievable and outrageous. Especially her mother and sister. It was like one of those movies where you wake up one day and everything you once knew and trusted was actually a facade. It was just too unrealistic for me and ruined the authenticity of the emotinal story. I did enjoy reading the book but I couldn't bring myself to rate it any higher than I did.
While the title of the book is relevant enough, it makes the novel sound more like a mystery than it really is. Basically, the story begins with the main character of Kate beginning to deal with the aftermath of the unexpected death of her husband. As a result of her hearing her husband's voice seemingly all around her, she begins to attempt to crawl out of her grief & seek help to find out whether or not she's crazy. Overall, I liked the plotline. This was a quick & easy read, and it kept me interested enough to zip through it quickly. I did often want to take Kate's shoulders & shake her, and I felt the supporting characters were somewhat shallow (her sister, especially). I would've liked to see a little more development there, as I found myself asking questions that weren't ever answered.
When Kate's husband dies unexpectedly at work, she is plunged into the depths of grief, where she remains for weeks. Living off the floor of her living room and eating only occasionally, she struggles with moving forward and angrily attacks friends and family who try to offer their support. Kate does not see this as concerning, however, until she starts hearing the voice of her husband, Kevin, commenting on her actions. Kate seeks out a number of therapists, a psychiatrist, and a pastor to try to explain how this is possible and each has their own belief about what is occurring with Kate. As the story progresses, Kate begins to remember more about the events preceding Kevin's death that she had chosen to block out and also finds out her husband was hiding some secrets from her. Half grief-stricken chick lit and half mystery, the story sort of plods along until the last third of the novel where it starts to pick up the pace. I thought this was a fair novel that had just enough humor to keep the plot moving but not enough of anything to make it one you want to pass along. Overall, the story was kind of sad as Kate's experience was not one I would want to experience personally.
Every once in a while a book grabs from the first sentence and doesn't let go until the reader turns the final page. Even then, like a magnet, the reader is drawn back to reflect. This is that book.Written in the first person narrative of Kate, and interspersed with her snippets of memories in third person narratives, this tale of a grief stricken, young woman is told. Even though the topic is glum, the story shines with brightness. This is a must-read.Interview with the author and discussion topics are included.
Stunned, stunning, stuntabulous! Okay. The last was absolutely not a word, but Talking to the Dead a novel by Bonnie Grove is simply the kind of book that takes you places you never have been to before. Following Kate as she suffers the grief of her husband Kevin's death at such a young age is mesmerizing. Certainly, Kate's first response of quiet withdrawal makes perfect sense. How do you move on when the love of your life has died? But also how do you move on when there are pieces of your life that are also missing? Lastly, what do you do when you hear the voice of your dead husband clearly speaking to you?The ride is amazing. I seriously did not know what direction Kate's story was going to take. Every detail and chapter led me closer to the conclusion, but I certainly was not sure of what that conclusion was. I LOVED THAT! I cannot tell you how often I have read a book and have completely figured out the ending. This doesn't always take away from a story, but it is sure nice to really be taken along for an adventurous ride. A ride that was sad, happy, frightening, thought provoking, and fully moving.This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed with fresh characters from an author whose work I will now highly anticipate.
Sometimes we don't see those giant red warning flags because they're just too unbearably painful to deal with. For Kate they turned into gaping holes in her memory in the months leading up to her husbands' untimely death. Seeking help she meets some quirky (& comical) characters, but finds friendship, hope, & love in unexpected places. The gaping holes are slowly filled in, and a painful story of betrayal is revealed. For me this book was about dealing with past hurts, healing the wounds, and starting over fresh. Moving forward to new possibilities & not living & rehashing past pains into our present lives today. This book inspires me & holds a place in my heart.
Kate Davis is shocked by the sudden and unexpected death of her husband, Kevin. They were married only five years when he died, and Kate’s grief quickly becomes debilitating. She hides in her house, haunted by the recurring voice of her departed husband. Kevin’s terse comments burst in intermittently and unexpectedly on Kate, gradually morphing from ordinary to unkind, even nasty, and Kate begins to question her sanity. There are huge holes in her memory of her life before Kevin’s death. All she can remember is his last words to her: “Don’t wait for me.” As Kate’s memories begin to return in bits and pieces, her reactions to them initiate a series of events that becomes worse with each new remembrance. She discovers that everyone, including herself, has secrets. As she reviews her memories, beginning with her marriage, issues pop up that she’s never admitted even to herself. She tries counseling, psychiatric help, group therapy, all with ridiculous or disastrous effects, but after one particular counseling session she comes across Jack, a “pastor of sorts” who invests himself in the lives of troubled youth. Kate finds understanding and acceptance with Jack that she’s never received from any of her friends or family, but how can she rid herself of Kevin’s voice, and does she want to? My Take: This book was a surprise, nothing like I expected it to be. It grabbed me and led me down winding paths I didn’t anticipate. Technically speaking, the book is expertly written. Characters are real, well-rounded, believable, identifiable, vivid. The main character, Kate Davis, tells us her story in first person past tense, which works very well in this type of story, then switches to first person present tense for her returning memories. In spite of the gravity of the issues, the author maintains a light style as Kate responds to situations with wit and desperate humor. Example: (p. 149) “I was instructed to rate my fear on a scale of zero to ten. Zero meaning I was bounding into the room, whistling “Mack the Knife,” not a care in the world, and ten meaning I was crawling away on all fours, weeping and hyperventilating into a paper bag.” Author Bonnie Grove displays an amazing capacity to entertain with her witty observances and descriptions. Example: (p. 93) “It didn’t take long before I spotted a house that could only belong to Maggie. It was painted a painful shade of red and sported jaundice green shutters. The combination gave the house an odd aura. Like being sick at Christmastime.” The plot of this story is filled with unexpected turns and detours that take Kate from bad to worse. Much worse. I would interpret the theme as something like learning to trust God when everyone fails us, when others give a warped view of him. It’s a story of faith in the midst of upheaval and misunderstanding, and ultimately of a God who proves himself able. A fascinating psychological study in a realistic setting. I’ve read it three times now. I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read.
Inspiring for a betrayed soul
This was an overall good read. I did not think it was GREAT, but it did hold my attention and did hit on some pretty deep emotions. My problem is I thought it would be more mysterious, or have a more supernatural feel to it. It was more a book about love and loss and how differently (or similarly) we all go through the grieving process. If I had recently lost a loved on, I am sure this book would have hit a little closer to home. As it was, I was expecting something a little more creepy and suspenseful, as opposed to tearjerking and heartfelt. The writing style was smooth and the book was well written. I wish I was a little more into this kind of book so I could give the kind of review I think this author deserves. I just wasn't ready for the story I got, and was therefore a little disappointed. It was a good read though. -- SPeeD
This book took me through so many emotions. I highly recommend it.
I truly loved this book!
This is an excellent novel. It was very easy to identify with Kate and her struggles. I kept reading because I wanted to find out her history and because I wanted her to find happiness. I also think this author did a very good job of allowing the characters and situations reveal her moral stances on religion and related issues without beating us over the head with her viewpoint. I came away liking Kate even though she is not perfect and suspecting that I would also like Bonnie Grove as well.