review by Rox Burkey
JoDee Neathery gives reading fans of saga fiction, an absorbing look into how family lives can be intertwined in many ways, often from one extreme to another. Two sets of twins are the foundation that makes this a compelling rollercoaster ride. Lifestyles of the twins provide some insights into how wealth and means can provide delightful diversions in delightful destinations and yet not ordain one’s choices.
Rich, vivid descriptions of the people, places, and things depicted in the story bring readers into the story as active participants. Having been to several of these places the accuracy lends additional depth to the story.
Each of the characters are artfully described as people with interactions and banter which bring the entire array of emotions experienced in life. The twins, VJ and Ben, are so attuned to one another, make conversations and memories delightfully honest, with a bit of tongue in check. An early sample that made these characters serious and funny captured me.
“VJ and Ben enjoyed a connection beyond sharing the same womb. They had been off-and-on companions for years as VJ and her husband Will shuffled between marriage and estrangement.
“Ben, I’ve discovered why your Bermuda shorts won’t button anymore.”
“Was it on the evening news or Days of our Lives?”
“This is serious. I know what’s causing your muffin top.”
“I’m a little old to worry what I look like in my speedo.”
“Our bodies co-exist with trillions of germs. For every human cell, there are ten bacterial cells. And here’s the kicker, a two-hundred-pound person carries six pounds of bacteria!”
“So, my muffin top is nothing more than an amphitheater of microbes. So now what?”
“Nothing. It just explains another mystery in life’s natural design. A high-top girdle would disguise it.” VJ smiled at her brother. “Just sayin.”
“I can tell you right now I’m not happy about this natural process hooey. I’ve got enough hair in my ears and nose to braid, and with this neck, I ought to be on the most wanted list for Thanksgiving…”
Andee Camp’s quest to complete a family novel takes her from joy to despair during her journey. Her health issues at times show her great strength. Many readers will be able to relate to Andee at multiple level. She is enjoyable.
I really liked the character development of Andee’s husband, Scott. He is portrayed with strength that Andee can rely upon even at the bleakest of times. Scott repeatedly shows his love, concern, and, even protection of Andee. He allows her to take the clues her way as she digs into the family mystery until its unsettling resolution. The time stamps within the book help provide a timeline and frame of reference which can be tricky, yet here it is done well. It makes it a story that I would recommend to readers who enjoy family history, secrets, and relationships expressed in a vivid reality.
JoDee Neathery, drawing from her Southern California and Texas roots, plucked a few personalities off the family tree, encasing their world inside fictional events to create a literary novel. “I spent many hours savoring a suitcase full of old photographs and journals, realizing by discovering the past, the present became relevant. Every face and every word inside this treasure trove of antiquity told a story.”
JoDee spent her professional life in the banking industry, prior to branching out into the recruiting business with an exclusive contract with Tracy Locke Public Relations and Bustin & Company in Dallas, and Creamer Dickson
Basford in New York. Upon relocating to East Texas, JoDee spent six years handling public relations for a non-profit, and writing freelance articles for the newspaper, trade publications, newsletters, installation ceremony scripts, and sadly a few obituaries. Her dream “job” has been chairing, writing minutes, and reviews for her ninety-three-member book club, Bookers, for the past thirteen years. She also enjoys a byline, Back Porch Musings, a light-hearted view of life in general, in an area newspaper.
She and her husband live near their only daughter, son-in-law, two grandsons, a bird dog, three cats, a donkey, and a few head of cattle. Always an avid reader with a love of the written word, JoDee took a leap of faith debuting her novel, five years in the making. You can learn more at www.jodeeneathery.com
JoDee is available for readings, book signing, and appearances. Contact her at Jodee@jodeeNeathery.com. Follow her on Facebook, Pinteret, and Twitter via Authorihope