Monday, March 24, 2014

Anita Higman's Winter in Full Bloom ~ Reviewed

By Anita Higman
Published River North
304 Pages

Back Cover: Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger
to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies. 

Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Aussie, he might prove to be the
key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.


I’m thankful for the review copy I received from The Book Club Network, that introduced me to Anita Higman’s writing.

This author explores the complexity of family dysfunction, built up anger, reconciliation, receiving forgiveness, learning to trust, waiting for the right time to love again. In the beginning Lily says, “…thinking of mother’s notorious secret and a life time of deception. The smarmy residue from being in her house stole over me like dark slithering fog. Soon that day – the one that changed my life – began to unfold in my mind so intensely that the remembering and the telling of my story became one and the same.”

All relationships take time and energy, nothing just happens. I like how this author showed families dealing with tough issues that don’t have quick fixes. She shows that God will make a way when there seems to be no way. She also explores the aspect that a person’s world view defiantly affects all their relationships in life.

I liked how this author took her time in letting the reader get to know her heart warming characters as they face their fears, and how they showed compassion to one another when deep dark secrets are revealed that changes how they have viewed life as a whole. One character says, “Faith is a choice…I would choose to trust the one who was love and who’d made me for love.”

Lily Winters is recently widowed, is an empty nester and has mustered up the courage to reconcile with her cold and callous mother. A secret is revealed that is a game changer for Lily. She starts on a quest for answers and sets off to Australia. Lily hates flying and has a comical plane ride that will make you laugh out loud. Then she meets a mysterious fun loving man named Marcus Averill. He sees she’s new in town and offers to help in any way he can. Lily is skeptical until Marcus takes her to Saint Paul’s Cathedral where he knows the Priest there. Marcus takes Lily to see some of the amazing sights like Yarra River and the Princess Bridge to name a few. In the note to readers Anita says she went on a business trip with her husband to Melbourne Australia and loved it. You can tell she did when you read the first part of the book that takes place there. It made it all the more fun to read. Anita made me dream of going there some day.

In the second half of the book the author has many of her characters face their fears and seek answers to some tough questions. This book has real and raw emotions that all seem to happen at once. Just like life. It doesn’t wait for you to get over one thing before another challenge happens. “Life went on, even when your heart was breaking,”

Marcus who knows a thing about heartbreak says, “True reconciliation includes discussion. Maybe even a heated debate or two other wise it’s anemic and worthless. It isn’t real and it won’t hold up. It’ll only be made of paper if we don’t get down to it.

The ending is one you hoped for; it was satisfying and the author left room for a possible sequel! Just saying! I would recommend this book for a book club pick. There is a lot to discuss inside and you’ll connect with the characters.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where book Fun Begins

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