Friday, April 5, 2013

UCF Book Festival Feature: And Then I Found You - Patti Callahan Henry

The gang at She Reads has been on a roll, choosing some amazing books for their monthly selections.  I was hopeful when I heard that April would feature the latest from Patti Callahan Henry.  I've never read her books, but she has a great reputation down here in the South, and was happy to have the opportunity to experience her work.  Have my hand forced (as it were) because honestly that is the only way I get anything read these days!  

But the bonus was that Patti Callahan Henry is also going to be an attending author at the UCF Book Festival in another week.  Score!  Very exciting when everything works.


Synopsis:  When Katie Vaughn was 13, she made a promise, underneath a South Carolina moon, to always love Jack Adams.  It was the first day of spring, a day that would always bear significance in her life.  A day of firsts.  And even though Katie and Jack were together through college, circumstances caused them to part, but not before Katie finds herself pregnant.  In a heart-breaking decision, Katie gives up her baby Luna for adoption to a hand-picked family.  It is a bond that she and Jack will always share, but will not acknowledge to the outside world.  It is just too painful.   

Now Kate is grown, has a successful boutique, is surrounded by a loving family, and has a gorgeous, successful doting boyfriend who may soon propose.  The trouble is, she has never found closure with Jack nor her decision, despite the fact that Jack has since married and had a child.  Kate wonders if she will ever be able to give herself completely to anyone with these old memories haunting her heart.  

But then the past comes crashing back into Kate's life, and must be confronted.    She must put it behind her so that she can move on.  But the bigger question is...does she really want to?

My thoughts:  I really struggled with how much information to give you in the synopsis.  The author includes a letter to her readers at the beginning of the book, confessing that this story was inspired by actual events that happened to her family, with quite a bit more detail than I've given.  Ultimately, I felt that the topic of adoption was important enough to spoil just a tiny bit.  For those invested in the subject of adoption, this could be the tipping point of whether or not you would read this book.  But I haven't told you much - trust me!  There are miles of ground for you to discover.  

I found the author's style to be incredibly readable and conversational.  As in, just try to put the thing down...you can't.  The characters felt comfortable and genuine, and I felt myself drawn to most of them.  And a chic boutique in a small town, with exposed brick and an apartment upstairs?  Yes please, I like these fantasies.  

Just a small disclaimer...I will admit, I found myself annoyed with Kate more than once.  She wanted her cake and to eat it too.  She would get upset when she couldn't have it all, often at the expense of other people's feelings, and waffled around.  I could see where she was coming from, but I found her to be a bit self-absorbed at times.  It didn't stop me from liking her, but I would have liked to shake some sense into her. 

The ending was very predictable as well, but I have found that is not always a bad thing.  The story is very sweet and made my heart warm, so if it had ended badly, I might have felt betrayed and thrown something.  The cats and all things fragile thank Patti Callahan Henry for her thoughtful resolution!  I shall be reading more of her in the future.

4 out of 5 stars  



10 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm so on the fence about this one! Because of course, I want to have it all too! so why not vicariously at least?

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I need to get involved in the She Reads monthly book selection...bc I really need more books to read. (that was a joke, btw). Even with reading and writing reviews, I do miss being able to discuss the whole book with others who've read it and not worry about spoilers. I'll have to check it out :)

Beth F said...

We had similar takes on this, though I think you liked it better than I did.

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad to see you liked this. I'll be reading it soon since I'll be going to Patti's lunch.

Michele said...

Sometimes a predictable ending, I agree, is good. Especially after reading too many Gillian Flynn books. ;) Just sayin.

Julie P. said...

I think you did a great job of summarizing this one. I had pretty much the exact same reaction to the main character.

caite said...

sounds a bit too sweet for me...my teeth are starting to ache. ;-)

JoAnn said...

Not sure if I'd like this one or not...

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

Kate didn't bug me as much as she did you, but I totally get where you're coming from about that. I wished she would have dropped Rowan right from the start and not strung him along practically the whole book.

Kathleen said...

I will add this one to my list!