Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult
Genre: Women's Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 272pp
(Received for review from TLC Tours)
Please see the giveaway details at the end of the post!
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Kelly Simmons on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter
Excerpt from The Bird House
Synopsis (Publishers Weekly):
Simmons (Standing Still) smoothly shifts between past and present in her complex, and poignant second novel, told from the point of view of a courageous woman suffering from dementia. Ann Biddle, a venerable Main Line lady, may have trouble remembering current dates and times, but she clearly remembers the details of her daughter's death, her troubled marriage, and the man who has always truly loved her. When a school project gives Ann the opportunity to spend time with her eight-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, Ann is determined not to allow Tinsley, her controlling daughter-in-law, to sabotage their burgeoning relationship, even if it means a little extortion. By the end, Ann can declare: "We had our own constitution now, our little family, built on a solid foundation of lies, secrets, regrets, and debts. But even dark underpinnings can support something solid and light, can they not?" Enthralled readers will agree. (FEB)
Author Kelly Simmons has crafted a novel that will speak to the hearts of women in every walk of life. Essentially a story about family secrets and the bonds that hold families together, The Bird House is a heart-wrenching novel that will have readers staying up all night to finish. With engaging characters, lies, secrets and healthy dose of regret, this a book you won't want to miss!
Ann Biddle has become an old woman. As she tries to cope with her growing dementia, she is filled with regrets from the past. She can't remember what day it is and her short term memory is failing, but the details of her daughter's death are as clear as a bell. With the help of her grand-daughters heritage project and her journal from forty years ago, Ann begins a journey to reacquaint herself with the past. Struggling against the will of her daughter-in-law, Ann fosters a relationship with her grand-daughter Ellie, that transcends time. As the two begin to look through old letters and boxes from long ago, Ann starts to remember things she has long buried in her memory, that could change their family forever...
Kelly Simmons gives readers a novel filled with family drama and dynamics. Readers will find themselves comparing their own deep rooted family secrets with those of Ann's family as they read through this compelling book. This is the story that is easy to relate to. How many families don't have some kind of skeleton in the closet? Not many!
The author does a remarkable job of using Ellie's 'heritage project' to bring Ann together with her grand-daughter, essentially setting in motion the entire plot. Told from the point of view of seventy-year-old Ann, readers will enjoy trying to figure out whether what they are reading is really happening or a part of Ann's dementia. The major theme in this book is family secrets and how they define a family. Can a family be built on a foundation of lies and still stand strong? I thought Simmons did a wonderful job of giving readers a glimpse into the heart of woman with a tortured past, who is trying to come to terms with her regrets.
The characters in this book are so well developed that readers will almost feel a kinship with this family. They will become invested in them and what happens to them. Kelly Simmons gives readers a very refreshing set of characters that are engaging and full of personality. Ann is sharp tongued and very witty. She reminded me of my own grand-mother. Because she realizes that her dementia is getting worse, she lives more and more in the past, going over her faults and failings as a mother, a wife and a lover. I think readers will really enjoy Ann's voice and how she looks at the world. But more importantly I think they will find her a very three dimensional character that they can relate to and identify with, let's face it we all have regrets.
Ellie is sort of the crux that holds the family together. Her character is really fun to read about. She's a little girl that is full of spunk and curiosity. Her heritage project leads to a struggle between her grandmother and her mom, which might a little hard on a young child, but Ellie takes it all in stride. She asks some really tough questions in the book and gets Ann to start to come to terms with some things that happened a long, long time ago. I thought the author did an excellent job with Ellie's character. I can imagine that it was difficult to write the voice of a seventy-year old woman, and an eight-year-old girl at the same time.
The books reads quickly and has a very strong pace. It can probably be read in a sitting or two and would be great for a rainy weekend or sitting on the beach. I think the story line lends itself to being good for book club discussions and individual contemplation. It's a book that is ideal for many different kinds of women and I think it will appeal to them on an emotional level. I recommend it readers who enjoy books about family bonds and dynamics as well as those readers who want to read something that will touch them and perhaps change their perspective in some way.
The Bird House is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Kelly Simmons is a former journalist and advertising creative director specializing in marketing to women. She lives with her family outside Philadelphia.
Kelly is graciously offering an autographed copy of her book, The Birdhouse, to a winner here at Debbie's Book Bag! Just follow these simple rules:
~ You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate in this giveaway.
~ US and Canadian Addresses only please!
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight, EST, April 4th.
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