Tuesday, July 2, 2013

REVIEW & EXCERPT: HINDSIGHT by Sarah Belle

Title: Hindsight
Author: Sarah Belle
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Genres: Women’s Lit, Romance, Humor
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley
My smiley rating: 4/5

SUMMARY

The universe has sent Juliette a sign. She wishes it had been an email instead...

Juliette’s career is on fire, her marriage and family are in melt-down, and a red-hot goddess wants her husband. But those are the least of her worries when she wakes up on her lounge room floor in the year 1961.

Without any of her modern conveniences — nanny, housekeeper, surgically attached mobile phone, designer wardrobe, and intravenous lattes — Juliette is just over fifty years out of her comfort zone. But as she takes on the role of a 1961 housewife, with gritted liberated teeth, she discovers an unexpected truth: slower doesn’t mean boring, at home doesn’t mean dull, and priorities don’t mean sacrifices.
As she finds unexpected friendships, a resuscitated love life, tragedy and triumph, Juliette begins to wonder if she really wants to return home after all.


REVIEW

My main motivation for wanting to read this book was the absolutely breathtaking cover. Yes, I’m shallow like that. Many times I’ve been persuaded to read a book solely based on the beauty of its cover. The synopsis also had me curious, and now that I’ve finished it, I can tell you that the title suits the story perfectly and appropriately. I couldn’t have given it a better title had I been offered a million dollars.


Juliette is a character I loved and loathed all at the same time. She had her strengths and weaknesses, but because the story is told from her point of view, her voice is obviously the strongest and most important. What I loved about her was how her character developed and how she ended up being a completely different person at the end of the story than the person she was at the start. I have to admit, though, that I quite liked the career-driven Juliette we meet early in the book, as I could in some ways relate to her. I couldn’t identify much with the person she is in 1961, as I for the life of me can’t imagine what it must be like to be a housewife / stay-at-home mom, especially in a time before modern conveniences. I don’t think I would be able to adapt so well to the sixties or seventies if I had to go back to the past for nine months. She coped remarkably well.

Imagine going to hospital to give birth and your husband is told to go home until he receives a phone call from the hospital informing him how the birth went. No, no, no. That won’t fly with me. I can’t fathom giving birth without my husband by my side. If anything, Hindsight made me look at my life, take stock of my blessings and thank the heavens that I’m alive in the twenty-first century with pre-packaged frozen dinners, cell phones, disposable diapers, top loader washing machines and gender equality. The author brings the sixties back to life in this humorous and often touching novel of self-discovery and finding the true meaning of family, friends, and forgiveness. Although Juliette’s self-doubt irritated me at times, she is quite a complex character who throws herself into her career to avoid having to deal with the pain of loss and disappointment. Her life changes drastically when she wakes up in 1961, is told that she has no career, but has extended family and a best friend for whom she’d give her life. Her work (“women’s work” her husband tells her) is now inside the house as opposed to working outside the house to supplement their income. And here is where the laughs start as Juliette knows nothing about being a housewife and blunders her way through burnt toast, cloth diapers, laundry, ironing and running a household.

Hindsight is a wonderfully light but meaningful read similar to some of Sophie Kinsella’s books. I think a lot of women will be able to relate to Juliette in one way or another as she discovers that home is really where the heart is. Questioning her motivations for her career choice, battling her personal demons and accepting her imperfections, is a journey the reader is made a part of. A host of lovable characters accompanies Juliette on this journey in which she learns to find a healthy balance between her career and her family. The ending was a little too convenient for my taste, but overall this is a really terrific book and I can’t wait to read more from this author!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


This review forms part of my three-month participation in the NetGalley Knockout Challenge for 2013.

READ more REVIEWS

Hindsight by Sarah Belle has 6 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.


EXCERPT

  
“What are we going to have for dinner, bacon and eggs again?” I ask.
“No!” Chris, Will and Ethan chorus in unison.
I’m a bit taken aback by their united response.
“What’s wrong with my bacon and eggs?”
“Nothing love, but just out of interest, how long did you fry my eggs for this morning?”
“About thirty minutes. I wanted to make sure they were cooked all the way through.”
He stares at me with a vacant expression, and his mouth falls open. There is stunned silence for a minute. Then Chris awakens from his stupor, claps his hands together and says, “Will, Eth, come with me and we’ll get some fish and chips for dinner, special treat.”
“Oh, thank God for that!” Ethan says with relief.
“Ethan, you know what your father thinks of blasphemy,” I say, trying to remain in character.
“I don’t think he was blaspheming, Mum, I think he was just thanking the Lord,” Will defends his little brother.
“For what?” Just how honest will they be about my aborted spaghetti?
“For having a Mum who tries so hard,” Ethan answers, “even when she’s forgotten how to cook.”

NOTE: Excerpt taken from the uncorrected ARC I received for review.

PURCHASE LINKS


ABOUT the AUTHOR

Sarah Belle started her professional life in the hospitality industry, working in some of the roughest hotels in Melbourne in the late Eighties, surrounded by drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, and undercover police. Tiring of the inherent dangers of her working environment, Sarah completed a business degree and went on to work in the recruitment industry and the Department of Defence, where she met and married the man of her dreams: a dashing, romantic Army Blackhawk captain, Jason. They have four young sons and live on the beautiful Queensland coast, where Sarah's days are spent being a frazzled mum, an admin superstar for Jason, a writer, a Bikram Yoga devotee and the only woman in a house of five males.

AUTHOR LINKS

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1 comment:

Stephanie AndDanielle said...

Great review! Sounds like an interesting book :)