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Miss Me When I’m Gone – Book Review

          This book was described as a “Honky-tonk” Eat, Pray, Love. I wouldn’t have described it that way. It is the story of two women who were college friends. Both write, one, Gretchen, is a successful novelist working on her second book and the other, Jamie is a pregnant journalist.

The story begins when Gretchen falls down the stairs outside of a small town library after doing a book signing. At first it looks like an accident but when they find her purse several towns away in a lake, they know it is much more.

Gretchen’s first novel called ‘Tammyland’, was about the women of country music, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and of course Tammy Wynette. She draws parallels of abuse from those women’s lives and compares them to her own mother who had been murdered when she was a child.

Jamie is asked to be the literary executor by Gretchen’s mother to oversee her unfinished work and hopefully complete it.

While reading ‘Tammyland’ the fictional book in the story – that reveals some interesting anecdotes about the country music icons-(like the time Tammy Wynette took a bubble bath with Burt Reynolds).

Jamie soon discovers that Gretchen may have found out something about her mother’s murder. Someone breaks into Jamie’s home and steals some of Gretchen’s notebooks and a couple laptops. Gretchen had also left a cryptic voice mail message that she had the feeling someone was lying.  The same message, Jamie now feels guilty for having ignored.

Jamie’s pregnancy progresses as she digs deeper into the mystery of both Gretchen’s death and her mother’s and she knows that she has to finish this before the baby comes or she may never find the time. Ignoring her husband, Sam’s, concerns she plunges herself into the past hoping to explain her friend’s death. She feels she owes it to Gretchen to catch her killer.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes women’s fiction and mysteries. It’s one of those stories that straddle the line between two genres. It reads like women’s fiction but feels like a mystery.  Though I took a few days to read this one, I was pulled back often to finish it. This story was well written with believable characters and setting. I especially liked how this author brought in information about several well-known songs and how they came to be.

It may have been just me but I really enjoyed the stuff about Tammy Wynette. Probably because my cousin played guitar in her band and I have always been curious about her because of that connection.

I am currently reading ‘Sarah’s Key’ and will review it when I have finished it. It is one of those that I seem to be breezing through because I like it.

What are you reading?

Virginia

 

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Book Review

 

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H is for Hooks – Forktail Dinger, Snapper Slapper, and Googly Worm

“The whole point is to hook people and keep them interested.” – Penelope Ann Miller

Writers are a lot like fly fishermen. They spend a lot of time trying to create something to hook the reader (or fish) and pull them in.

Fly fishermen can spend days trying to create the perfect lure, the one that will catch that elusive fish in the pond. They get their inspiration from nature. That’s why some lures resemble insects.

As writer’s we don’t have too far to go to get help with our own writing. Just as the fly fisherman looks to the world around him, we can look to the books we love. What did that author do that pulled you in and how can you take that trick and make it your own?

Because a hook is so unique, it is often the first piece of the puzzle in developing a writer’s voice.

If you are going to open by introducing a character, make him charismatic, someone the reader will be drawn to and want to spend more time with.

  • Shock the reader with a first scene that ends in a way that the reader didn’t expect and can’t put down.
  • Ask a question the reader will stay up late to find the answer.
  • Hook the reader fast. If you can’t hook the reader by that first scene, do it at least by the end of that first chapter.

This should be a great week for writing, as long as you have air conditioning.

What have I been reading? – Just finished Miss Me When I’m Gone by Emily Arsenault. It was an arc I won from Librarything recently so will have a review on there and Goodreads soon. It is the story of two women, friends from college. One a successful author working on her second book when she falls down the stairs of a library after a book signing. Turns out it wasn’t an accident. Her first book was called Tammyland. All about the women of Nashville and country music but mostly about Tammy Wynette and the similarities between her and the fictional author’s mother who had been killed when the fictional author was a child. The protagonist of the story is a pregnant journalist and is asked to be her friend’s literary executor to finish the second book. She feels compelled to complete the project before she delivers, knowing she won’t have time after the baby is born. While questioning the same people her friend interviewed, notebooks and a couple laptops are stolen and though she knows she may be asking questions of a murderer, she continues. The first book I’ve read by this author and I would read more.

How is your writing project going and what have you been reading lately?

If you’re in the Des Moines area, the next AVID author event is Meg Cabot, Thursday July 10th at 7:00pm, Hoyt Sherman Place.

Virginia

 

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