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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Violet Hour: A Novel

Family dysfunction. I love it. Can't get enough, in fact. So I picked up Katherine Hill's The Violet Hour and reveled in it this weekend.

Abe and Cassandra are happily married, living a tranquil life with their Harvard-bound daughter, Elizabeth, until the day when their secrets come to a head. On an idyllic afternoon sailing off the coast of California, a fight breaks out and Abe jumps off the boat, swimming to shore. The marriage abruptly ends, and they do not see each other for eight years. When Cassandra's father dies suddenly, Abe comes to the funeral. It is then that their love story unfolds for the reader, from the beginnings of their romance until the day it fell apart.

We are all human, and we make human mistakes. The characters in this novel are so real and so very raw; they make bad choices and they make good ones, too. They love deeply and intensely, and we watch love do what it does over time--it grows and it fades, it solidifies and it liquifies. Real life is messy, guys. It's not all peaches and cream, roses and peonies, unicorns and rainbows.

Young love is just as messy as old love. Elizabeth is a central character in this novel, and her relationship is a juxtaposition to what was her parents' so long ago. She loves him but she doesn't; she is comfortable but she faces the age-old question: "Is that all there is?" It's not just Abe and Cassandra that must face their demons; Elizabeth must also determine what she wants and where she wants to go.

What I liked most about this book was the realness that was imbued in the characters and their messy, real lives. They struggled with love, loss, anger, happiness, hope, and frustration. They come to the realization that life, and more importantly, relationships are what you make it, for better or for worse. If life was easy and love was a breeze, we would have no novels. And then where would we be???

Kindle version on the left, hard copy on the right.

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