Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour for And Then She Shines: A Collection of Novelettes – Five women, five different issues, five ‘feel-good’ reads. And Then She Shines brings together brings together four previously published novelettes, along with Helen Libby’s new story, Cassie’s Choice.
About the Author
Originally from North Wales, Helen currently lives in Shropshire with her husband and their dog. Helen worked for many years in the public sector and has an administrative background. She writes both fiction and non-fiction. As well as being an indie author, Helen is a self-publishing consultant, offering editorial, self-publishing, and writing services. To find out more, please go to: www.helen-edwards.co.uk
About the book
Ruby’s Secret – Can you keep a secret? All the clothes Ruby’s bought may have filled her wardrobe, but they haven’t helped her to feel fulfilled. She’s been holding back on her dream of travelling for years. And now Ruby’s in debt. A LOT of debt. She’s so ashamed. She doesn’t want anyone to know, not even her boyfriend, David. He’s so careful with money – he wouldn’t understand. Ruby’s trying to change. She wants financial stability AND a good relationship. Will she be able to resolve her debt before David discovers her secret?
Love, Anna – Stay or go? Anna’s a romantic. She loves musical theatre, but her life is a far cry from her favourite shows. When her boyfriend Joe tells her he doesn’t love her anymore, she doesn’t know what to do. Anna just wants to be loved, but Joe suffers from depression, and they’ve both been unhappy for a long time. A last minute trip to Paris gives Anna some time to reflect, and shows her whether life can ever really be like a musical.
Laura’s Embrace – “People who love me leave me.” Laura makes a New Year’s resolution – to find her birth mother. She needs answers. What she doesn’t need is a relationship, so when things start getting serious between her and Rob, she does her best to hold back. Only Rob won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and Laura is torn. Will Laura find her birth mother? And will love find a way?
Finding Ella – He knows everything about her. The only thing she knows about him is that he’s her husband. Can she fall in love with him for a second time? Ella’s lost her memory – the last ten years of her life. Her friends and family want her to slot back into place, only it’s not that easy. Will Ella’s memory return? Does she need to remember her husband in order to love him again? Join Ella on her journey of self-discovery.
Cassie’s Choice – “Something is missing from my life, and I can’t pinpoint what it is. Could it be a baby? Maybe.” What if you think you want a child, but your partner doesn’t? It’s time for Cassie to make her mind up. Does she want a baby, or not? If she does, is she willing to leave her beloved husband, Alex, in order to start again? Can you miss something you’ve never had? Does Cassie need a baby in order to feel fulfilled? So many questions, and she’s running out of time.Review
This book contains Helen Libby’s new story Cassie’s Choice and also the stories Finding Ella, Laura’s Embrace, Love Anna and Ruby’s Secret. All of them are novelette length.
In Finding Ella it’s about estrangement and coming to terms with living a life that Ella doesn’t remember and yet is somehow stuck in. In Ruby’s Secret the main character manages to justify her failings and put them on her partner, who in turn becomes the scolding parent. It’s a little bit of a role reversal when it comes to the blame game.
I have to say the story of Love Anna wasn’t an easy read. Yes there has to be an acknowledgement that someone living with a partner with depression suffers with them, but to me Anna represented the typical reaction of someone who doesn’t understand what depression is. I found her quite selfish and self-obsessed. Me, me, me how does this impact me? Joe has to confront his mental health issues so they – she – can be happy again.
Cassie’s Choice was an interesting one, I firmly believe that for a relationship to succeed long term there has to be a consensus about what both want when it comes to important milestones in life, such as marriage and babies, regardless of whether you want either or not. Waiting until one person is ready or appeasing them is just delaying the inevitable, which for women usually means a missed bio clock or having to restart their lives when they have passed their prime. Honesty at the beginning can save a lot of heartache.
Overall I believe Libby wants to her stories to convey women who discover they are strong enough to make their own choices and be bold enough to embrace the change they need for themselves. I wouldn’t exactly call them uplifting stories, perhaps because what they all have in common is a woman who is struggling with their situation and emotional well-being.
It depends on perspective I suppose. Some situations can be perceived as a character becoming emboldened enough to get what they want, however it can also be viewed as selfish and as seen just through their eyes, despite the impact of their decisions reaching beyond their own person.
I would call the stories brief moments of honesty and putting oneself at the forefront of our own needs and wants, regardless of how it may come across. Possibly something women need to do more often.