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The Year After

The Year After - Adrianne Noel This review originally appears here:http://www.guyvestal.com/home/2014/10/the-year-after-review/ ‎As well as at Amazon.

I was initially attracted to this book over the cover, (of course) but the prospect of reading about a close Daddy/Daughter relationship was the prime motivation, and I was not disappointed.

Oddly enough, the entire family was believable, the bi-polar mother, the crazy sisters, the doting father, even Maddies love interests. The world and character building was steady from beginning to end, something rare in most authors. The book felt as if the author took her time, and let the story flow naturally from her, nothing rushed or slapped together.
Maddie was attractive to me because of her journey from NYC to Colorado, and an expected decision to remain in the town to buy a house, typical of people who have spent any time in the "big apple". I lived there for quite a while, and I did love it, but if you had known other homes, it is easy to be caught up in getting out of that rat race as well.

It was strange that her first love, the high school coach turned out to be a dick. I had expected him to be the main love interest throughout, only to be shocked when he turned out to be the typical male with commitment issues. Maybe a little stereotypical, but we as guys (and some gals) are notorious for it.

What was even more unexpected was Maddies overreaction to it... Her Mother raised her to be so self-sufficient, and having become so independent in NYC, to come home to be with her father, and to become so needy? Maybe her mother's death, her fathers quickness to move on, her sister's wedding, all that together simply made her feel left behind?

And while we are on the topic of needy, lets get to snively, and just plain beating a dead horse whiny. Don't get me wrong, I still loved the book, but I am allowed to have issues too ya know.

As a Daddy of eight Daughters, I get that the Mother/Daughter relationship is always quite different. In fact, many women reading this are going to say... "I moved out of my parents house because I wanted to live somewhere that my mother was not. And hopefully at least a few hours away... Ok, we get it!

-Your mother is dead.
-Your father is glad.
-Your mother is a bitch.
-Your mother is a bi-polar bitch
-Your mother was the bane of your existence.
-Your mother was the bane of your sisters existence.
-Your mother was the bane of your fathers existence.
-Your mother was a bitch
-You're crazy because you hear voices.
-We got it.
-Get over it.
-Move the hell on.
-Even Jackson told you to get a grip.

No wonder men run at high-speed when your clingy ass wants marriage and a baby after the second date. No wonder the cat was your surrogate love interest.

-Maddie reminded me of Taylor "clingy psycho" Swift.
-Maddie achieved nirvana, she became mother's daughter.
-Maddie needs meds, not Merlot.

And to make matters worse, what does she do at her sister's wedding? Drop down into the hay letting the gardener feel her up, get him wound up, then cut him off. She wonders why her younger sister, and even her father, months after the battle-axe dies, are getting married and moving on? LOL You can smell Maddies desperation in every third chapter.

Of course, it wouldn't be a truly weak and needy woman unless, she swallowed her self-esteem, and went back crawling to the guy, she should have never tried to pretend that she was the one with the penis in the relationship with, in the first place. And... Of course, the prude finally had to drop her bra and panties for a skinny dip to get back in Jackson's good graces. He (Jackson) should have left that woman to rot in her new cabin, that way she could hate on the main street men, shove the Bronte sisters down the throats of her male students, and get herself a dozen cats to sit with her by her precious window.

And do you know what pissed me off the most? What really got my fur bristled? What I knew was going to come, because that is the way it is when I am interested in a character, only to see that character fizzle?

On the last page, of the last chapter, halfway down.

The ghost of Jackie gets one lousy paragraph of closure!
And a cliché one at that!

What ever happened to the camera? Is it still rolling? Did it sit there until Moose Run was sold?

As soon as Jackson pulls his dick out, Jackie falls off the face of the earth until after Maddie reflects on how she snared Jackson. Poor guy is probably p-whipped by now, with Maddie refusing to even admit that she should be on the meds her mother would have probably done better on.

But with all that bitching.

I really loved the book! HaHaHa...

Something rare here is the appeal to men. There are some strong male characters that a wide array of men can identify with, and follow along with. The sports minded, the player, the doting Daddy, the artist, the business type. It is certainly not something that is everyday in adult romance.

It was also nice to be exposed to the descriptions of the landscape of Colorado, the animals, the weather, the travel, the architecture.

I paid $13.09 at Amazon, and this is actually one of the rare times that I can say the material far outweighs the price. The cover and paper are very sturdy. The binding held up to extensive reading abuse. It fact, it held up so well, I went out of way to bend it around, and flatten it, just out of spite, and it still stood strong. The ink is dark, the type is clear and readable. It was worth every penny in material cost.

Author Interview with Adrianne Noel

1. QUESTION: What are the main parallels between you and the book.

The novel is based on my experience of losing my mother to cancer fifteen years ago. My mother was much like Maddie’s mother, Lena, and, sad to say, her daughters were not able to blossom until after her death. Like Ted, my dad started dating only a few months after my mother’s funeral, which challenged many of my preconceived notions about love, marriage, and loyalty. I am also a college English teacher who has specialized in Victorian literature, although I’m considerably less dreamy and more practical than Maddie.

The book started out as a memoir, but I found myself adding fictional scenes and characters—and my writing group discovered that they enjoyed reading the fictional parts better than the biographical ones. I ended up throwing out large chunks of biographical material and fictionalizing the story. Everyone asks if Jackson is modelled after my husband. Jackson is an entirely fictional character, although my husband is also a college professor and does frequently wear tweed jackets, Levis, cowboy boots, and a fedora.

2. QUESTION: Why write it?

I wanted to capture the feeling of loss that coincides with the humor of a dysfunctional family trying to get on its feet again. I also thought readers could relate to a grown woman’s conflicted feelings of relief and grief in the loss of a difficult parent, as well as the complex emotions that surface in watching a surviving parent date again. Of course, there is the love story, too, and I knew that many readers would identify with Maddie’s tendency to fall for the wrong guy, and even her dilemma in feeling like she needs to choose between love and career.

3. QUESTION: What do you want readers to come away with from your book?

The bonds of family cannot be broken by time, space, or death, and sometimes forgiveness, redemption, and love come along when we least expect them.

Most of all, my goal is to entertain. I hope to create a world in which readers can lose themselves for a few hours--a world that evokes both tears and laughter.

4. QUESTION: Is there any other books in the works?

My work-in-progress follows two women of different centuries, linked by a mysterious piano, who defy the expectations of their families and communities to pursue a passion for music. The setting of the novel alternates between South Dakota and Bergen, Norway, and it captures the experience of Norwegian immigrants to the Dakota Territory and their descendants.

After that, my plan is a series set in Old Snowmass, Colorado, where local ranchers share the idyllic mountain valley with the monks of St. Benedict’s Monastery. When three women find refuge and transformation in the valley, the vision of a local developer collides with the values of the monastery and with the determination of a reclusive rancher who wishes to preserve the land.

5. QUESTION: Have Maddie's mother tell us why someone should read this book.

We all experience regret and fear that we haven’t been the best mother, father, daughter, sister, or grandmother. Maddie’s story considers the possibility that love, forgiveness, and redemption can still happen, even after we are gone. As Jackson tells Maddie early in the novel, “ . . . the divide between this world and the next is not as fixed as we would like to think.” Maddie’s journey has brought the telling of a story that I could never tell myself –and produced the kind of life I never could have imagined.