Melody
ISBN-13: 9780451226495
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Published: April 2009
343 pgs




First line: When I was twelve years old, I helped my granddaddy bury a box in the back garden of our Savannah house.




After the death of her parents due to a tragic accident, young Piper Mills stays with her grandparents. Her relationship between her grandmother and grandfather is unlike each other as she shares most of her feelings and is much closer to her grandfather. It is not that Piper is unwilling to open up to her grandma, she just could not help it when her grandmother is a quiet woman and she tends to keep things to herself. Anyway, she does not really take this matter to heart as her mind consisted of only one thing - and that is to become an Olympic equestrian.

However, her dream is quickly shattered after she had hurt herself during a horse riding accident. And after the death of her grandfather, Piper returns to Savannah where she inherits her grandparents' house. During this time, her grandmother stays in a nursing home since she has Alzheimer.

Just when Piper wonders what and how she would cope with everything, she remembers the box she had buried with her grandfather in the backyard. It is also at this time that she receives a gold charm of an angel holding an opened book left by her grandmother, which was given through her grandfather's lawyer when he has some papers for her to sign concerning the estate she has inherited. She later discovers some letters, a few torn pages from a scrapbook by her grandmother and a newspaper article dated 1939 of a dead infant found floating in the Savannah River; it is through this discovery that further fuel her curiosity and determination in uncovering the truth and she managed to track down one of her grandmother's friends based on some clues left of the items. However, Lillian Harrington-Ross seems reluctant in revealing what holds the past and through Piper's patience and persistence, as well as some emotions evoked during the journey, she will soon learn about her grandmother's secret past and the mystery surrounding the scrapbook and the charm. It is also through this circumstances that she will discover about her own self and having the strength in reclaiming her own life again.

The Lost Hours is not only a story about mysteries and uncovering the secrets but it also tells the readers about friendships, love, forgiveness and redemption. There is so much about this story and Karen's writing is simply beautiful. I love the way how Karen unveil the story bit by bit smoothly; never too slow or in a rush yet giving her readers enough descriptions into engrossing themselves in this story.

But what I find most beautiful about The Lost Hours is the relationship between grandmothers and granddaughters and how great it would be if we take the time in connecting with the older generations before it is too late and having to regret later, in which this is the case of Piper. There are also a few interesting characters that adds complexity to this story, for instance there are Lillian's children, Helen who is blind after she had caught measles from her brother, Tucker. Tucker seems to have his own guilt as well after discovering his wife had committed suicide and he feels he has neglected his two young children all this time.

Overall, I think The Lost Hours is a great story. I am satisifed how the story is nicely wrap up in the end, for I can think of no other ending which will be better than this. I will definitely keep a look out for Karen's books in the near future.

*****

Many thanks to Joan Schulhafer from Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting for sending this book to me to read and review.

To find out more about Karen White and her books, click here.

Other reviews:
Peeking Between the Pages
S. Krishna's Books
(Let me know if I have missed yours.)



Guest Post by Karen White:


Recently I was riding in my car (blissfully and unexpectedly alone—except for my dog) and I heard an old Rod Stewart song. I’m not certain of the title but the lyrics go something like ‘I wish I knew what I know now when I was younger.’ Well, ain’t that the truth?

I’ve been married for almost twenty-two years to the same great guy (who travels an awful lot on business) and have two teenaged children (I know, I know, and I appreciate your sympathies): a boy who just turned fifteen and a daughter who is seventeen. I am also the author of ten published novels, with number eleven out in November 2009 and four more contracted beyond that—the first deadline being December 1st. This makes my life blessedly full, overly busy, too complicated, and way more demanding than I ever bargained for when I was a twenty-something and wanting it all.

So why do I do this to myself? This very question was asked by an old friend of mine recently and I had to think for a while before I could answer. It’s not because it was so hard to find an answer, it was just because it was so obvious that I kept trying to find a more complicated one. In a nutshell, I do what I do because being a writer isn’t what I do, it’s who I am. Although staring at a blank computer screen with a deadline hammering away at my brain while simultaneously trying to work out carpool schedules, negotiate the labyrinth of college applications, and stock the kitchen pantry is something akin to sliding down a razor blade and landing in alcohol, I am compelled to write because it’s how I’m wired. Creating characters and their stories, and then sharing them with readers, is what puts the wind in my sails.

Which brings me back to that Rod Stewart song: if I had known back before I started writing books how hard it would be, how exhausting, how many sacrifices in my personal life I’d have to make, would I still be doing this? Yep, I would. I mean, what sort of example would I be to my children if I didn’t follow my dream just because I had to work too hard? It reminds me of that Wayne Gretzky quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Yes, life could be easier; but it certainly wouldn’t be better.

I guess I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining this to my inquisitive friend because her next question was something along the lines of how my children handled sharing me with my writing. Granted my kids aren’t overly familiar with home-cooked meals and have had to make do with me attending only 90% of all their athletic events, but they’ve seen firsthand what it’s like to pursue a dream; to set goals; to press on in the face of little failures; and to get back in the saddle after major spills. I think that’s a fair trade-off for a childhood of frozen whole wheat waffles for breakfast.

So, here I am. It’s a Saturday night in April. We just got back from spring break where we did about eight college tours with my daughter. I’ve barely had time to do the required nine loads of laundry following that trip when here I am preparing to go on my first book tour—for three weeks. Leaving my husband in charge. Ack! Like a third child, I will have to write out all of his duties (like feeding the dog and checking to make sure somebody’s fed the guinea pigs). I’ll have to pretend that getting room service every morning is going to be a hardship.

My life right now is a mixed bag of expectations, responsibilities, coming up short, and sometimes even successfully accomplishing my myriad tasks. Yes, I’m exhausted. But I think that just means that I need to go take a nap.

*****

Many thanks to Karen White for this lovely guest post, and also thanks to Joy from Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting for making this guest post possible!
14 Responses
  1. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    First of all, the book sounds fabulous, and almost bittersweet. I am thankful that I had very full relationships with my grandmothers when I was young. As I grew up, I didn't spend as much time with them as I did earlier in my life, though, and when they passed, it broke my heart that I didn't have more time with them. These emotions expressed in this book along with the mysteries uncovered, is irresistable! I loved the guest post by the author as well. I always wonder how these people do it, with kids and spouses and lives. Thanks for this wonderful post!


  2. naida Says:

    Lost Hours sounds like an emotional book, great review and guest post!
    I think that the bond between grandmothers and granddaughters is a very close one.
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/


  3. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I have an award for you Melody! Come on over and check it out!


  4. violetcrush Says:

    I love that she "wrote being a writer isn’t what I do, it’s who I am"

    And she doesn't feel guilty for what she is doing. I hope all woman think like that and not feel bad about not doing enough for theirfamily. It's always going to be something, If not work.

    Thanks for the guest post and the review Melody


  5. Karen Whtie Says:

    Thanks, Melody, for the lovely review--I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! Now all I have to do is write the next one... (smile)


  6. Melody Says:

    Sandy - My grandmother's the one who took care of me when I was a toddler (since my parents worked full-time then). Honestly, I don't have memories then because I was so young, but I do treasure the time I've with her now, though not often.

    And thank you so much for the award, Sandy!! :)

    Naida - Thanks! I think the bond between grandmothers and granddaughters are something very special and precious. And often they've so many stories to tell! ;)

    Violet - I enjoyed reading Karen's post. I think to be able to write and have time for your family definitely isn't an easy task, and that's why I'm in awe of Karen! :)

    Karen - Thank you so much! I really enjoyed reading The Lost Hours! I'm now checking out your previous books and I can't wait for your next books to be released! :)


  7. Beth F Says:

    Super guest post! Wow! It's really a good thing to let your kids know that you are a real person with real goals and dreams beyond them. You're a great role model for your kids.


  8. Dar Says:

    Wonderful review Melody. I agree, I found Karen's writing to be beautiful. The words just seemed to flow off the page for me. This book also really made me miss my grandmothers. I would give anything for them to still be here to have a relationship with.


  9. Julia Says:

    A very great reviews and interview, Melody! I wish to know my grandmother lot more when I was younger. She passed away before I even had that chance. But what I remember of her is sitting near by her and watch her brush and fix her long white hair. And watching her "watching" everyone in the room with loves in her eyes, while everyone partying during Family Reunion. I love that moment.

    I'm looking forward to read Karen White book *waving*...Hi karen by the way! *grin*. Great interview!


  10. Melody Says:

    Beth - I agree with you on Karen, Beth! She's one amazing and talented author! :)

    Dar - Thank you! It's definitely a page-turner for me. I wanted to know so much about Piper's grandmother and her secrets. This is really a wonderful story!

    Julia - My father's mother passed away when I was a small kid, so I've not much memories about her. I feel much closer to my mom's mother though, since she's the one who brought me up, even if it's only for a few years.


  11. Iliana Says:

    Loved the review and the Karen's guest post! This book sounds wonderful! I've been very blessed to have at least one of my grandparents around. My grandmother is 95 years old and she's great!


  12. Julia Says:

    Sorry about your father's mother. And I'm sure she would have love you too. I'm glad that you got to know your mother's mom :)

    Sad to be told, I didn't know my mother's mom at all. I see pictures but never actually "met" her. She died last year in October.


  13. S. Krishna Says:

    I enjoyed this one as well. Nice review!


  14. Melody Says:

    Iliana - My grandma (my mom's mother) is around that age too! :)

    Julia - Indeed I'm glad to have my grandmother around. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma's passing.

    Swapna - Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it too. :)