Friday, November 4, 2011

Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry

On the coast of Alabama, there is a house cloaked in mystery, a place that reveals the truth and changes lives... 

Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband – between her reality and the woman she wants to be – she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life.

But everything changes after her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie’s world turns upside down when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at her mother’s funeral and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death. He wants answers to questions that Ellie’s not sure she can face, until, in the painful midst of going through her mother’s things, she discovers a hidden diary – and a window onto stories buried long ago.

As Ellie and Hutch start speaking for the first time in years, Ellie’s closed heart slowly begins to open. Fighting their feelings, they set out together to dig into Lillian’s history. Using both the diary and a trip to the Summer House, a mysterious and seductive bayside home, they gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together a decades-old unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts…
~~synopsis from Goodreads
My thoughts on Coming Up for Air ~~

Hmmm - I stayed up way too late trying to finish this book. And darn it, I could not finish the last 40 pages or so. But I went back and reread, oh, the previous 10 pages or so and then moved forward and savored the ending.

I loved this book and did not want it to end. I got totally caught up in Ellie trying to figure everything out. I thought the flashbacks to the Civil Rights era were very informative and I was immersed in that time period for a short time.

In reading her mother's diary, Ellie learns that her mother was not the woman that she thought she was. She was very surprised with what she learned.

That got me thinking about how little I know about the lives of my parents before they were my parents. How sad that that part of my personal history is gone. It would have been interesting to know what my parents were like as 'real people.'

Here are some great lines that I marked in the book as I was reading ~~

"The choices we make when we're broken are sometimes the most awful of all our choices"

"But your mother wanted to make sure you weren't a wildflower in her botanical garden"

"Thought what? That if you knew that girl, you could know the woman who was your mother?"

"We all become the person we are from the person we were - if that makes sense - and I don't believe you mother was any different. Does it really matter how she became that way?" 

Authors website ~~


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