Book Spotlight: STAY GONE by Holly Brown

Stay Gone by Holly Brown
ISBN: 9780062655127 (ebook)
ASIN: B01HBPSHH4 (Kindle)
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse (HarperCollins) 
Publication Date: November 1, 2016


“A mother is just a woman who gave birth to you. You don’t need her to like you, or love you. Because a mother’s just another person.

She was. And now she’s dead.”

Growing up, Rae played the good girl, hoping to win her mother Marlene’s love. But Marlene favored Rae’s dangerous older brother Thomas, even after he nearly got teenage Rae killed. The night Thomas disappeared was the best night of Rae’s life.

Now 28 years old and engaged, Rae is nursing Marlene, who has advanced cancer and one last request: for Rae to find Thomas and bring him home.

Thomas purports to be a changed man, the CEO of his own meteorically successful company. But Rae knows he’s hiding something. When Marlene takes a turn for the worse, is it assisted suicide or murder?

The answer goes back decades, through secrets and pain, and comes back full circle. Rae has to figure out who she can really trust. Or else.

Poor little good girl . . . who’ll save her now?



Read an excerpt:


RAE

Right Now


My mother is dead.

The worsening of her illness was inexorable, and this ending inevitable. Hospice workers have been coming to the house for weeks—palliative measures only, the relief of suffering without treatment, comfort without cure. They were very clear on this point. There should have been no room for denial.

But somehow, when it’s your mother, you deny until the end. It’s not like a dance recital, and you can practice, practice, practice. There is no preparation, not really. I’ve never lived in a world without her. Marlene Joy Kalatchik. Mom. Mommy.  

No one else has ever leveled me with a look like she could; no one else could affirm or destroy like my mother. She was the repository for all my insecurities. She fed them, unknowingly. I like to think unknowingly. Simon says otherwise, but he first met her a year ago, and given the cancer, she wasn’t herself. Not exactly.

My mother is dead.

I say it out loud, experimentally, full of wonder as much as pain. Impossible. I whisper it. I touch my tongue to it, like it’s a loose tooth.

Simon is beside me, and he’s got his arm around me, he’s murmuring something, but I can’t seem to hear it. I can’t feel him. There’s nothing but her, nothing but absence and loss and something else, just out of sight, just beyond my reach.

Natural causes. I think that’s what the coroner will say, even if it was by her own hand. A hand that was coerced by someone else, or a hand that’s an extension of hers, because isn’t that what family is? An extension. A proxy. A way to go on.

Thomas is staring down at her, too, his expression inscrutable. No, it’s not her. Already, it’s her body. 

He shouldn’t be here. Why didn’t he just stay gone? 

I wish I’d said no, I won’t find him, let the past be the past, it’s just us now, Mom, and that’s enough. I should have tried harder to convince her that I’m enough, though that had already been a lifelong project, a study in futility and false hope. I’ve been flexing my denial muscle for a long time. And yet…

I think I see Thomas and Simon exchange some sort of look. I’ve seen that look before. There’s mischief in it. No, mirth. No, it’s the satisfaction of collusion. Like they’re in it together.

No. Simon’s here for me, and Thomas is here for himself, just like always. Simon’s mine. 

And if I’m wrong about that? Then what do I have?

My mother is dead. 

My mother’s body is dead. Her spirit? Does that continue?

It must. Because suddenly, I feel it here. I feel her, like radiant heat whooshing up from the floorboards, filling the room. She’s always been larger than life, in my eyes. Illness couldn’t shrink her. Maybe death can’t, either.

We were closer in those last days. She told me something I’d waited my whole life to hear, and now: She has a message for me. There are things I’ve never known, and I need to. I’ve always sensed them, the secrets, like movement in my peripheral vision. I could never turn my head quickly enough.

But she wants me to know now. It’s time.

I lean in close, and listen.




Meet the author:


Holly Brown lives with her husband and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s a practicing marriage and family therapist. Her blog, “Bonding Time,” is featured on Psychcentral.com, a mental health website with 1.5 million visitors per month.




Connect with the author:  Website      |     Facebook     |     Goodreads 



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Stay Gone: A Novella


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Book 124: THE FIRST LIE Review

The First Lie by Diane Chamberlain
ISBN:  9781466839403 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00BCFXDBK (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 4, 2013 
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


An e-original short story that sets the stage for bestselling author Diane Chamberlain’s upcoming novel Necessary Lies (September 2013).

The First Lie gives readers an early glimpse into the life of thirteen-year-old Ivy Hart. It’s 1958 in rural North Carolina, where Ivy lives with her grandmother and sister on a tobacco farm. As tenant farmers, Ivy and her family don’t have much freedom, though she and her best friend, Henry, often sneak away in search of adventure…and their truest selves. But life on the farm takes a turn when Ivy’s teenage sister gives birth—all the while maintaining her silence about the baby’s father. Soon Ivy finds herself navigating the space between adolescence and adulthood as she tries to unravel a dark web of family secrets and make sense of her ever-evolving life in the segregated South. 


We meet Ivy Hart as she’s riding her bike back from a late-night meeting with her friend, Henry Gardiner (playing with a Ouija board in the local church). Thirteen-year-old Ivy lives in a tenant farm house with her fifteen-year-old sister, Mary Ella, and her grandmother Nonnie in Grace County, North Carolina. Ivy and Mary Ella’s mother has been institutionalized for more than ten years at a mental facility, Dix Hospital. Mary Ella is the prettier of the two sisters, and is pregnant. When Mary Ella goes into early labor, Nonnie makes Ivy call the social worker and arrangements are made for Mary Ella to be taken to the closest hospital. She delivers her baby, a boy she names William, and then has surgery to “remove her appendix.” Ivy knows that there is something strange going on with her sister and between her grandmother and Mrs. Werkman, the social worker. Will Ivy be tainted with her sister’s pregnancy out-of-wedlock? Will she figure out the truth about Mary Ella’s surgery? I can’t wait to read more about Ivy and Mary Ella in Necessary Lies, coming out this September. 


Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Book 167: MEMORIES FOR SALE Review

Memories for Sale is a novella by Karen Fowler. This is a story about a mother with a cancer diagnosis, an estranged daughter, a grandchild that has never been seen and a desire to make amends. Like many parents, Eleanor thinks that providing money for her granddaughter will make amends for never having seen her, so she decides to sell her collection of ceramics. Each ceramic item is tied to a memory, so she truly is putting her memories up for sale. The basic premise for the story is nice enough. The only character that the reader gets any true insight into is Eleanor, but as the main character that is acceptable. I found Memories for Sale to be a decent and quick read but one that was quickly forgotten after completion.


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author through LibraryThing. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 148: HALF-INCH Review

How far is too far seems to be the question raised in Half-Inch by McCarty Griffin. Pammy Hilts is an abused wife whose husband, Bobby, has moved out and filed for divorce. Pammy has put up with 12 years of physical, emotional, mental and verbal abuse. She has been cut off from all of her friends and has no skills. All that’s left are her dreams and she is beginning to dream of revenge.


Pammy knows that Bobby isn’t going to leave her alone even after a divorce. Although Bobby has moved out and apparently has a new love interest, she knows the abuse will continue. What’s a girl to do except get rid of the problem permanently. Pammy has obvious problems with the notion of taking a life, no matter the circumstances, and most of this short tale deals with this conflict. At first glance Pammy may seem to be a poor, down-trodden and ignorant woman, but she proves otherwise. At times sad and other times funny (tongue-in-cheek), Half-Inch is a story about survival. This is a quick read that is perhaps perfect for a lunch break or a lazy afternoon.


DISCLOSURE:  I received this book free from the author for review purposes. I was not paid, required nor otherwise obligated to provide a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”