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review 2017-02-26 09:34
The Nearness of You
The Nearness of You: A Novel - Amanda Eyre Ward

By:  Amanda Eyre Ward

ISBN:  9781101887158

Publisher: Random House 

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Hardcover  

My Rating: 4 Stars

 
Storyteller, Amanda Eyre Ward returns following (2015) The Same Sky with another thought-provoking and gripping tale of four wounded characters in THE NEARNESS OF YOU. (Beautiful cover ).

What does it take to be a real mother? With highly charged topics, Ward delves deeply into the emotions of the human psyche and what it takes to be a family. A surrogate young girl goes missing, disrupting the lives of all that are near and dear to the unborn child.

Set in Houston, Texas –Hyland and Suzette Kendell are married and celebrating their anniversary. It is the year, 2000 and the couple have been married for fifteen years and approaching forty years of age.

Suzette is a successful heart surgeon and Hyland an architect. He came from a horrific childhood and he would love to have children and a family. His parents had been killed in a car accident when he was eleven and grew up in the foster care system. He now works from home and desperately wants a family.

However, workaholic Suzette had been upfront from the beginning, she did not want children. Her mom was mentally ill and in an institution. She most likely would always remain there until she died.

Her father had died years earlier and her mom went a little crazy- erratic and paranoid, causing serious trauma for Suzette during her childhood. She too was sick in college; however, controls it with her meds. They continue to keep her mother in a nice facility and sometimes she tells herself her mom is really dead.

Suzette does not want to pass this sickness to children. She wants it to end here. She could not be the easy, breezy, fertile wife Hyland might have wanted; however, she would not be made to feel that she was lacking.

They are now ready for surrogacy. Hyland would sire a child. He was delighted with the opportunity of becoming a father. He would medically impregnate someone younger who would carry the baby to term. Suzette could keep working without interruption. It was a win-win. Or so she thought.

Suzette panicked and was scared, similar to PTSD, due to her own childhood dramas. They find what they think is the perfect candidate and was going to pay her $35,000 to cover the cost. However, the gal backs out due to Suzette being busy with work. She was not going to apologize for doing her job.

In the meantime, Suzette deals with life and death daily. Giving life after ending life with tragedy at the hospital. She cared deeply for her patients and she connected better with the babies than the adults. Each was a reminder.

Months pass and there is another candidate. This girl was much younger and inexperienced. She had never been married and never had a child, like the first candidate.

As a last resort, they decide on Dorrie (age 21). She gets pregnant quickly. We hear from different POVs. She worked at Sea-o-Rama feeding penguins. She wanted to escape her life and get off Galveston Island. She could finally move away from her mother and her dull disappointment—away from the stories about her deadbeat dad. It meant a bigger life: college, and a chance to succeed. When she had seen the ad, she knew this was the only way to attain money for college. A way out.

However, could she lease her body, and then hand over her child? She would trade nine months of her life. She earned less than $10.00 hour at her current job. The gift of life. It was love versus money. Which would win out in the end? Could she go through with it? Or escape?

She could drive away from Texas and make a life on Grand Isle, Louisiana. She needed to escape her own sad mom’s depression and alcoholism. However, without money, how would she live and support herself and her unborn child? How will Suzette and Hyland go on knowing their child was out there somewhere?

Dorrie is a dreamer and wants to wrap herself around books and living in a seaside cottage. She dreams of a life with her baby. She is immature and not thinking of how. She cannot live in a motel with no money, especially when this couple had money and would have the cops or PIs after her.

On the run, she meets another lonely girl, Jayne taking care of her own disturbed junkie prostitute mom. Another young girl, trying to escape her surroundings for a better life. Will they find solace in one another? Jayne is intrigued by the girl in room 29. They hit the road together.
 


Later when an illness arrives, and more problems, things change. However, there are still some secrets which are not revealed until the end.

The author takes us on a hauntingly beautiful emotional heartfelt journey. Told with compassion - from tragedy, pain, loss, and love. What it means to be a mother. A family. When matters of the heart are conflicted. From “The Nearness of You" an old Ella Fitzgerald song, to a desperate search for a mother.

Can a woman who fixes hearts mend one close to her own? Fast forward fifteen years later.

Every character is searching for a mother’s love and acceptance. Guilt. A yearning for atonement. Courage. Your heart goes out to all the flawed characters (they do make some poor choices); a situation when there seems there is no easy way out. Someone will be hurt. What it takes to be a family. They are not always the traditional ones.

I loved the quote: “The mother is the one who stays in the room.” (no matter how difficult, when she wants to run and hide).

I read two moving and beautiful books in a row about motherhood. They come in all shapes and sizes each with their own set of struggles. Highly recommend both: Amanda Eyre Ward’s THE NEARNESS OF YOU and Sally Hepworth’s The Mother's Promise.

A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/10/05/The-Nearness-of-You
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review 2017-02-08 17:12
The Nearness of You/Amanda Eyre Ward
The Nearness of You: A Novel - Amanda Eyre Ward

Brilliant heart surgeon Suzette Kendall is stunned when Hyland, her husband of fifteen years, admits his yearning for a child. From the beginning they’d decided that having children was not an option, as Suzette feared passing along the genes that landed her mother in a mental institution. But Hyland proposes a different idea: a baby via surrogate.

Suzette agrees, and what follows is a whirlwind of candidate selections, hospital visits, and Suzette’s doubts over whether she’s made the right decision. A young woman named Dorothy Muscarello is chosen as the one who will help make this family complete. For Dorrie, surrogacy (and the money that comes with it) are her opportunity to leave behind a troubled past and create a future for herself—one full of possibility. But this situation also forces all three of them—Dorrie, Suzette, and Hyland—to face a devastating uncertainty that will reverberate in the years to come.

Beautifully shifting between perspectives, The Nearness of You deftly explores the connections we form, the families we create, and the love we hold most dear.

 

Ahh, this one had so much potential and so many moments where I almost fell in love with it, but it simply covered too much ground in too little space.

 

Suzette was an absolutely fantastic character. She's an accomplished surgeon and there are many scenes that show her in surgery, and to me, that was just so darn cool. I had so much respect for her and as this is a piece of life I don't usually get through literature, I was excited to experience it. I also really respected her not wanting to pass on her genes due to her history of mental illness, yet her openness to having a child despite. She had so much strength, but she wasn't perfect and didn't always act as I thought she would. Seriously, I love Suzette.

 

The other characters I wasn't so into. Dorrie felt too simplistic and I was saddened by how she evolved during the book. Hyland gets a little characterization but I never really grow to care about them. While I normally adore having books told from many character's perspectives, I felt like there were too many perspectives in this one and it made it hard for me to really engage.

 

But ultimately my biggest issue with this book was how fast it moved. I normally have the opposite problem, yet in this case, I felt like there were many sections of life that needed to be expanded. The gap between the first and second parts was where the book really lost me; a significant period of time passes and I want to know how the relationships between the characters evolve in that section.

 

The prologue sets up the ending like a ciffhanger, but I felt like it was kind of obvious how the scene would be resolved. A plot twist came late that was cool and explained a little bit of Dorrie's motivations, but felt like it was there for shock value. I did love the entire concept of having a surrogate mother and the idea of motherhood, but this book simply attempted to cover too many points. Though it was an easy read, I think that if it had been twice its length, I'd have liked it twice as much.

 

Though I recommend this book for people interested in the topic, this book failed to capture me.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-01-30 01:44
The Nearness of You: A Novel - Amanda Eyre Ward

This was a story that will really challenge your emotional and moral standards. A couple after 15 years of marriage decide to have a baby. Unfortunately, they cannot have one together. So they decide to use a surrogate which costs them $35,000. The surrogate after 9 months decides she's going to keep the child and runs away. Of course, the couple are stunned, lost, and grieving. After 2 years, the surrogate brings the child to them and says she can't keep it anymore and leaves.

What happens after that really makes you start to question this surrogate. (I'm not spoiling it any further!)

I found this book emotionally entertaining as it really touched several nerves. Okay, many nerves. I think that any book that can do that to me, is definitely worth reading. For me, that means the author has been able to impact me in such a way that those words weren't just words. They touched me.

Thanks to Random House - Ballantine for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-01-10 22:00
The Nearness of You
The Nearness of You: A Novel - Amanda Eyre Ward

I thought this novel had the makings of a great story. The story itself was fascinating, there was enough drama to draw the reader in and keep them engaged as the story was captivating but I think it lacked on delivery. Suzette and Hyland decided to find a surrogate as Suzette was worried about her family’s health issues being passed down. Dorrie didn’t quite fit within the guidelines of what they should be looking for but they liked her, so Dorrie became their surrogate. When she doesn’t show up for the sonogram appointment and they find a note on her door, fear creeps into the couple life. Betrayal, anger, confusion, grief and frustration all pop into my head as I read the note that Dorrie left for them. As the story unwinds, I found it hard to get emotional as I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters in this novel. As the couple tries to locate Dorrie and they deal with their emotions and with each other, I understood what they were going through but I felt like I should be feeling something deeper. I heard Dorrie’s side of the story and other individuals that were close to her and I understood where she was coming from and why she behaving the way she was but again I felt I was missing something. Perhaps it is just me and other readers will enjoy this novel just the way it is, everyone is different. I did enjoy the story though but I think I would have told it a different way. 3.5 stars

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-01-06 04:26
The Same Sky
The Same Sky: A Novel - Amanda Eyre Ward

This is a story told in turns by two narrators: Alice, a forty-year-old woman who, despite her good fortune in life still finds it wanting, and Carla, a thirteen-year-old who knows more about wanting than Alice ever will. This story put me through the ringer – there is abject poverty, unrelenting sadness, and overwhelming despair. It is a story almost without hope, but for a tiny glimmer that Alice and Carla cautiously protect, like a tiny votive candle flickering in a pitch-black night.

 

At times, I wanted to yell at Alice, because she had no idea how good she really had it, and Carla was barely holding it together, despite heroic efforts on her part to be a parent in her own parent’s absence. (Did I mention her mother left her and her brother in Honduras with their elderly grandmother to start a new life in Texas, and things get dramatically worse for Carla after?) So, this was a sometimes-frustrating story to read, but there was always a little voice in my head reminding me that this is indeed the reality of life for so many people. This is not a story playing out in politics or the media, this is a story from the heart. And yes, there are so many loose ends that are neatly tied together in the end, and there is, in fact, a very predictable happy ending. But honestly, by the time I got there, a little happiness was just about all I could handle.

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