BETWEEN HURT AND HEALING
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: February 2, 2016
# of pages: 424
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Introverted Denise Staukhill just wanted a quiet life. She never dreamed she would find a man like Darren Olsen to share it with. An unexpected tragedy ends their fairy-tale romance, and Denise once again finds herself alone and devastated.
Years later, the handsome head football coach from the local high school and Darren’s best friend, Eric Ortellio, tries desperately to help her find peace. As their relationship starts to grow, the manipulative Coach Nick Nelson, trying to protect his secretive past, steps in to ruin both of them.
Will Denise and Eric’s friendship sustain the lies and manipulation that the evil Nelson has weaved? Can Denise find the strength to let go of Darren and hold on to Eric, or will her faithfulness to Darren keep Eric out of her life forever?
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Denise talking to her twelve-year-old daughter Cissy, about her own mother:
“She loved color in her drawings, bright colors: greens, reds, blues, yellows. All her pictures were happy. She told me when I was your age to take whatever makes you sad and color it in. I guess she just meant that colors are happy and sad is black and white.”
“Maybe that’s what Grandma meant when she said, “color it in.” Celebrations are colorful like birthday balloons and wedding cakes. Funerals are black, and hospitals are white. Funerals are always sad and hospitals can be sad sometimes too. So if you find what makes you sad and color it in, you can be happy.”
Watching the courtship of Denise and Darren unfold makes you forget for a while that Darren is going to die. You get so wrapped up in the great little details of the blossoming relationship and the makeup of each character, you forget that this book is about hurting and healing (yeah, I just went there). You get the feeling that Eric will be the new love interest, but he’s still married. But don’t worry, he doesn’t stay that way. There is nothing that Denise and Eric can do that will make you dislike them. And that is how you know that the evil Nick will not prevail.
I could not put this book down. As despicable as the crimes/scandals Nick sets up for our protagonists, they are all very realistic. And Melvin does an excellent job of showing how the terrible events affect everyone, including the children. Her depiction of the sisters, in particular, I felt were very realistic. Melvin must know some preteen and college-bound girls in real life. My only nitpick about the characters are that the sister names are too similar (Cissy and Cassidy). Kind of a no-no in publishing in my opinion. Every once in a while I had to pause and look back to make sure I was thinking about the correct sister.
I know this is out of left field but it just occurred to me. Eric keeps assuring Denise that he doesn’t expect her to forget about Darren, and that he understands that she will always love her deceased husband. But they don’t discuss Eric’s ex-wife at all. No discussion about the possibility that Eric might have any lingering feelings or that the ex would have issues with the relationship. I don’t know why but that kind of strikes me as odd.
The storyline about no-cutting in school athletics was interesting to me, and I liked Melvin’s use of it throughout the book. It’s not what the book was about at all, but the issue with this touchy subject was the catalyst for all the drama. Having a son about to start sports soon, I personally dislike the everyone is a winner mentality. That trophy he will get at the end of the soccer season? I will probably donate it to Goodwill. But I digress.
Growing up with Texas sports (specifically football), I don’t doubt that there are some shady things going down in the name of having an outstanding sports program and winning. Melvin’s novel manages to be suspenseful and heartwarming at the same time.
Jackie Melvin is a hopeless introvert: hasn’t seen the inside of a movie theater in a decade. She is despairingly sappy: will cry at commercials, songs and memories. She is a disheartened housekeeper: good before the kids, great with the kids, now the laundry room doubles as the master closet. An unexceptional athlete, the weather matters! A wanna be nutritionist, if only chocolate had nutritional value. A mediocre musician: been playing the same songs for thirty years. A happy wife, she married up. A reluctant empty- nester, miss those kids so much. And she is a writer: the author of a series of children’s books, and Between Hurt and Healing is her first novel.
She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, her dog, and her cat, and spends as much time as possible visiting those kids.
GIVEAWAY! One winner gets signed copies
of Between Hurt and Healing and
all of Jackie’s Bartholomew Bear Series
February 22-MARCH 3, 2016
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