"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

11 January 2016

2016 Book Review #1: What I Remember Most

I just finished my first book for the new year.  

And what an incredible story!!  I didn't want it to end.  That sure is different than my opinion from the previous book I reviewed!

This book drew me in right away.  I highly recommend it for all readers who enjoy good fiction.


She only has a vague memory of her parents.  She remembers that their names were Freedom (mommy) and Bear (daddy).  She remembers them shouting "run, Grenadine, run".  She knows her name is Grenadine Scotch Wild.  She knows she was 6 years old when she was found running and screaming down a country road near a forest by the sea.  A trucker found her and brought her to the police who then made sure she was placed in foster care as no family came forward to claim her.

She remembers a red, crocheted shawl.  She remembers lilies.  She remembers art.  She creates art. Mommy taught her to paint.  Daddy played guitar and showed her the Big Dipper in the vast sky.  She remembers a VW bus and camping.  She remembers a lighthouse.  She remembers "run, Grenadine, run".  She remembers love.  

And then she is raised in a horrible foster family placement.  After a time with this abusive family, she has 5 good years with another loving couple (The Hutchinsons) who most folks would consider "white trash". They love Grenadine and provide for her.  But then they get arrested for growing pot and she is back in the system being bounced from one lousy foster care family to another.  She is finally placed (after a very determined and caring social worker steps in) with a man and woman who are brother and sister (The Lees).  It is with them that she saves money by waitressing after school.

  She knows what it is to be poor and to have to work hard.

She is now in her late 30s and after owning her own home with a wonderful art studio that she created and several clients who pay her well for her art work, she is married to the very wealthy Covey Hamilton. She goes by the name Dina Wild Hamilton. They live in Portland, Oregon. But not all is well in this marriage. He is controlling, obsessed, jealous, suspicious and a thief.  He has his own investment company and has embezzled millions of dollars from clients.  One year into her marriage, Covey is arrested for fraud and embezzlement.

Grenadine, now a successful college artist and painter, is now facing jail time.  But she is innocent!! WHY is she being charged??

 She decides to escape their luxury home after serving 10 days in jail (while awaiting trial) and files for divorce.  But she has nothing but $500.  She has to leave her precious art studio and some belongings behind.  Her goal is to get away from Covey.
She ends up living in her car while working to save for an apartment in Pineridge, Oregon. She tends bar at The Spirited Owl.  Her boss, Tildy, is kind to her and offers her a place to live.  But Grenady (the name she is now going by) doesn't want to be beholden to anyone.

Soon, she has enough saved for an apartment and meets Rozlyn, an employee at the local fine arts furniture store in town.  The furniture business is owned and operated by Kade Hendricks.  Kade has his own mysterious past.  He is single.  And good looking. 

 There is an opening for a receptionist at Hendricks Furniture, so Grenady  applies. She gets the job.  Rozlyn invites her to rent the apartment over the barn on Rozlyn's property.  Rozlyn is a single mom to Cleo who is about 6 years old.  The same age Grenady was when she was found with no parents.  Soon, Grenady moves up to a sales associate position and is loving her life in this small town.  She has friends.  She has her art.  

Soon she tells Kade her story after he tells her his.  They both have come from difficult backgrounds.  She confides in him that Covey is not exonerating her and is making the divorce difficult as he refuses to divorce her.  At her pre-trial meeting, she breaks down and confesses her whole life story to all the people at the meeting:  FBI, attorneys, invest people, etc.  They are shocked.  They also dismiss all charges against her. Covey is sent to prison.

Meanwhile, her divorce attorney gets the divorce finalized.  She is now free of Covey and his evil.  Kade and she  fall in love.  She agrees to be "second mother" to Cleo after Rozlyn is told she has a brain tumor.  Rozlyn and Grenady are "soul sisters" and have a very special friendship.  Grenady has one last visit with Rozlyn where Rozlyn dies holding hands with Grenady.

One day, Grenady sees the pictures of a serial killer on death row.  And everything from age 6 comes rushing back to her.  She knows him!!  He is "Bucky" the man who was with her and her parents the day they shouted at her to "run, Grenadine, run".  She and Kade get permission to visit him in prison where this psychopath proceeds to fill in the blanks about killing Freedom and Bear. He is a mentally sick man.....who has killed several families.  He himself came from an abusive family resulting in a split personality which resulted in his psychopathic personality. Grenadine learns from this psychopath that her parents did NOT abandon her.....they were brutally murdered in front of her by this vicious man who had befriended them.  His goal??  To have Grenadine.

 Grenady, Kade, and a mass of officials go to the ocean spot where the lighthouse from her memories is located and there they find the skeletal remains of her mommy and daddy all these years later.  She sees the red kite they were playing with on the beach.  The officials discover their real names and contact Grenady's grandparents who are very wealthy clothing store owners from NYC.  They fly out, along with her paternal grandfather, also from NYC and tell the story of how Grenadine came by her name and the circumstances of her mom and dad's lives.  Grenadine finds out that her parents were in love against the wishes of Freedom's parents.  They ran away to get married and had Grenadine.  Neither set of grandparents knew about Grenadine's birth or childhood. Grenady learns that her mom's real name was Lily Maybelle Whitney and her dad was Liam Marcus O'Malley.  

Grenady and Cleo end up living at Kade's house as a family unit and Grenady, although she has always said she will never get married, promises to think about marriage with Kade.   She is loved.  She is no longer homeless.  And she is safe.


It doesn't get much better than this, friends.  This is a wonderful book.  I did leave a lot of the plot out as I didn't want to ruin it for anyone who chooses to read this.  Look for this book at your local library!!  It is amazing.

I loved the character development and although there are some crass depictions (scenes and language), it is actually a part of the character development for some key characters.  I wasn't offended at all because the Lord's name wasn't used in an offensive way and certain swear words weren't used. The author did a great job getting her point across about "white trash". 

The story deals with the foster care system and all of its woes.  But also, all of its good intentions.  It can be so sad in spots.  I found my self tearing up in several places throughout the book.  The characters "feel" real.  The depiction of certain foster care situations were certainly life-like as well.

The book is about facing down your past...as difficult as that might be.  It is about resiliency, bravery, perseverance, and love.  Friendship love. Romantic love.  It's about letting go and moving forward.

It touches on alcoholism, greed, homelessness, abandonment, poverty.

This story teaches what "white trash" is.  And what it is not!  

One of my favorite quotes from the book:

"I know that the reason I didn't come out of foster care addicted to drugs, pregnant, prostituted or incarcerated, was because of love. The love of my parents for my first six formative years and the love of the Hutchinsons and the Lees.  The care and steadiness of my case worker, Daneesha Houston, and how she came out of retirement to help me when I had sunk into foster care hell may well have saved my life.  The interest and kindness of teachers and principals made all the difference.

...what I've learned is that nostalgia, the "if onlys" can be dangerous.  It can bring on heavy sadness and sharp despair and it does not change the past." (pg 477)

This book inspires me to face my own difficulties with good integrity, strength and honesty.  It even has inspired me to maybe try my hand at creating collages.  

The only thing I thought was odd was the art work on the cover of the book!!

The author depicts lilies as being significant.  In fact, Grenadine has a treasured bracelet that depicts lilies.  There's a reason for that which I won't get into here but I found it odd that the cover doesn't have lilies painted on it!!  A couple of different flowers are mentioned in the book and daffodils were definitely not one of them! 

This book is truly a treasure.  I want to read more of this author's work and from a little research, I discovered that she has indeed written other novels that have received excellent reviews.  I'll be looking for another one at my town library for sure!

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to mature content)

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10!!

1 comment:

Susanne said...

Sounds very interesting. I hate when the cover art does not match up with the story. It's a pet peeve of mine with books.