Monday, July 4, 2016

Once and Future Wife by David Burnett - #review #giveaway




Jennie Bateman has again fallen in love with Thomas, her former husband, but Tasha, one of his children, is determined to destroy their relationship.

Jennie had done that herself a number of years earlier. In the midst of a manic episode, she had deserted Thomas and their two daughters, choosing, instead, a life of shameless debauchery.

Perhaps she was shocked when Thomas filed for a divorce. Perhaps it was the influence of a preacher who took an interest in her. Perhaps she simply cycled back toward normal.

Whatever the cause, years later, when she again made contact with her family, she was a different person. Even so, they wanted nothing to do with her.

But time moves on. Circumstances change.

Jennie has been accepted by her children. Thomas’s second wife has died, leaving him a single parent with four adult daughters and a newborn. In Jennie’s eyes, he is the same good-looking, kind, loving person she had fallen for when they were in college.

While Jennie has fallen in love with Thomas, he has no interest in romance. He is still mourning the loss of his second wife, he is caring for their infant daughter, and he still nurses the hurt he felt when Jennie abandoned him so many years before. He does not want her around his children, and he is determined to shelter his infant daughter from her.

As time passes, though, he finds himself attracted to Jennie again, discovering she now resembles the girl with whom he once fell in love, rather the shrew who once walked out of his life.

Tasha knows of Jennie’s earlier life and she has discovered that she still takes medication to control her behavior.

“Are these your crazy pills?” Tasha mocks her as she snatches the bottle from Jennie’s hand. “If I flush them, will you be crazy in the morning? Only a weakling depends on medicine,” she asserts.

She insists that whether Jennie takes the medication or not, she will ultimately relapse, that another manic episode lies ahead, perhaps just around the bend. She taunts Jennie by printing documents from the internet to support her claim. She reminds Jennie that if she were to relapse after marrying Thomas, she would ruin his life – a second time.

Shamed by Tasha, Jennie ponders tossing her medication, hoping to prove to both of them that she can live without it. As she considers what to do, she fears that she will fail the test, be unable to cope, and her demons– anger, alcohol, and sex − will come rushing back to thwart her chance for a second marriage just as they destroyed her first.

Thomas would not try to cope with those demons again, would he? She couldn’t ask that of him, could she?

In Once and Future Wife we follow Jennie as she goes a second round with her demons, hoping to find a way to stop them from destroying the love and happiness that finally seem to be within her reach.

Once and Future Wife is a stand alone sequel to Those Children Are Ours. The first book does not have a cliff hanger of any kind at the end.  Once and Future Wife picks up with Jennie four years later and can be read apart from the other book.


Available to buy from....
Amazon    Barnes and Noble   Paperback

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MY REVIEW

I was so happy to read a book with a main character who had a mental illness.  Having had depression for a long time myself, and feeling someone 'judged' on occasion.  There is such a stigma against those with mental illnesses, which is both unfair and unfortunate.  But it is what it is, as the saying goes.

Once and  Future Wife was an emotional read anyway.   At the beginning of the book, Jennie's ex-husband's second wife has been killed trying to save a child in her classroom from an abusive father.  Doctors did manage to save her then prematurely born child.  Most of the people in the family seem rather extraordinary to me and stand as testimonies to the power of forgiveness.

Except for Tasha, at least at the beginning.  She assumes Jennie is trying to get back into Thomas's life and lets Jennie know, in no uncertain terms, that she will have none of it.  Tasha taunts Jennie into stopping her medications for the bipolar disorder, with predictably bad results.  The scene at the bar is incredibly powerful and gave me the shivers.

I'm going to reveal, I suppose it would have to be called a prejudice of mine, and was surprised when I found out the writer of Once and Future Wife was a man.  This story has Lifetime Movie/chick flick written all over it.  The story has incredible sensitivity.  I was reading through tears in the last couple of chapters...it was that good.

Once I read the 'pre-quel' "Those Children are Ours", I will keep my eye open for new books by Mr. Burnett.  And I heartily recommend other readers to the same.

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Also Available - Those Children Are Ours
Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.

Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary. True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.

But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Her daughters, now sixteen and fourteen, live four hundred miles away. They have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.

Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father insists that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not simply visitation.

As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. The judge hesitates to grant Jennie’s request, but reluctantly agrees to order three trial visits.

If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives seems to be almost impossible. What happens as she finally begins to connect with her daughters places them all in grave danger and threatens her life, itself.

Available to buy from....

MEET THE AUTHOR

David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.

David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael's journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.

David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.

Find the author on the following sites...
Website   Blog   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads   Amazon 

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(Disclosure:  I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.)

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2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this one too, he has a wonderful writing style.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for such a wonderful review. I'm happy you enjoyed the book!

    David Burnett

    ReplyDelete