Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Far End of Happy, by Kathryn Craft (ends 5/13)

"We're all on the same team here."

Ronnie turned to Corporal McNichol. "There's something you need to know."

Janet said, "That's enough, Ronnie. It won't do any good to air private affairs."

Ronnie deflected the slice of Janet's glare. "This isn't the first time he's threatened to kill himself."

This novel was unlike any I had ever read before - it's about a suicide standoff and the slow destruction of a marriage. It's also based on real-life events, as the author's husband also committed suicide.

Official synopsis:
The Far End of Happy is a powerful new novel based on author Kathryn Craft’s personal experience with a stand-off involving her husband. Here Craft delivers “real, raw emotion” (Library Journal) exploring a marriage unraveled by mental illness; and one man’s spiral towards a violent conclusion that tests the courage, love, and hope of the three women he leaves behind.

“Framing the novel within a 12-hour period keeps the pages turning (Library Journal).” Narrating from the alternating perspectives of three women, whose lives will be forever altered by Jeff Farnham, gives an intimate look at the steps a woman will take to get the help her husband so urgently needs while desperately trying to keep her children safe.

When the emotionally troubled Jeff engages police in a deadly stand-off, his wife, mother-in-law, and mother struggle to understand why the man they love has turned his back on the life they have given him, the one they all believe is still worth living.

This was a hard novel to get through, but also one well worth reading. Ronnie has just told her husband, Jeff, that she wants a divorce, and Jeff, who is an alcoholic and has depression at times, doesn't take it well. One day, she wakes up and the house seems a bit off-kilter; she sees her husband outside, obviously intoxicated, with a shotgun. The plot escalates from there, and we learn more about their marriage and relationship, and are also introduced to their mothers, who have been best friends from a young age, shortly after Ronnie was born.

If you read the Q&A with the author afterwards, as well, she named "Ronnie" that name because she wanted a woman's name that also sounded a bit masculine, to represent the fact that Ronnie had to be both the mom and dad in the relationship, since Jeff was never quite "all there." As such, she settled on Veronica/"Ronnie."

I'd recommend this novel for anyone that is looking for a more serious read - don't be fooled that this book is labeled "chick lit," because it explores darker themes than most "chick lit" novels do. At the same time, it's easy to get through, so you could conceivably bring it as a "beach read," so to speak. I now want to read the author's first book, The Art of Falling, too, if it's as good as this book was.

4 stars out of 5.
{Click here to purchase}

*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.



About the author:
Kathryn Craft, a former dance critic who wrote for The Morning Call daily newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for nineteen years. Craft wrote exclusively nonfiction until she was plunged in the kind of real-life drama that demands attention. In 1997, after fifteen years of marriage, her husband committed suicide in a police standoff, leaving her and their two young sons.

The Far End of Happy was born from Craft’s need to make sense of what her husband had done. Kathryn has been a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania writing scene for more than a decade and is also the author of The Art of Falling. She lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a paperback copy of The Far End of Happy.

Enter to win via the widget below. Giveaway will end Wednesday, May 13th at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. and Canadian readers only, please.

Good luck!

Far End of Happy

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