Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.
Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by an imprudent Aussie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.
There is something wrong with all the people in this story, and for that, we the readers, thank Higman from the bottom of our hearts. I've read some stories where the characters had past hurts, past sins to hide, and things they were still dealing with that affects them at the time of the story. A little baggage is necessary for dramatic stories, and for setting a backdrop to the tale.
But this novel just blew me away with the family drama and terrible pasts. While a little bit of not-so-great past is what makes novels great, Winter In Full Bloom just takes the prize on messed up families and damaged relationships. I couldn't believe that people so damaged can even function, much less forge new friendships and renew family alliances.
There is something wrong with each of the characters - desperately wrong. I wanted to fix them all, but I was helpless to help them as I watched them traverse the waters of new life. So many times I wanted to shake them and demand that they look to the One who could heal them of their pain, but I am not so good at that myself. I related to so many themes in this book, and despite the ugliness of life, there was also healing from the God who watches over us no matter where we walk. A somewhat depressing and dark novel, but one of those books you just can't put down.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
Ms. Higman takes us on a journey of life through an empty nester, Lily Winter, who has a heart of gold. Timid Lily, after hearing a secret her cold and distant mother has hidden from her for nearly forty years, travels halfway around the world with just a name and lots of hope. Little did she know her actions would touch much more than just her heart, but would set in motion a series of events that would change her views of her past, her present, and her future as well as those around her.
For years, Lily has walked away from life and was content to live in the shadows, this is her story. This is how she learns to confront the demons of her past - betrayal of the worst kind as well as rejection from her own mother - and move forward and unlock the love in her future.
Being the same age with a daughter on her way to college, I really connected with Lily and felt her pain. Her happiness. Her sorrow at the rejection and distance her mother continually offered. I cheered for her when she blossomed and realized that God does have a purpose for His children - even after your own children have moved on. This is an inspirational book that encourages us to look beyond the bitterness we could so easily adopt and see the beauty of the blessings God has already given us. It teaches us how to forgive the unforgivable, how to love the unloveable, and embrace the beautiful when it's offered to us.
*I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required they be positive. My thanks to the publisher, River North for this opportunity.*
This was my first book by Anita Higman, but not my last. This is a wonderful story, that I read in two days. Lily takes a trip to Australia to look for her twin sister, which she just found out about from her estranged mother. Lily has so many issues in her life to overcome and resolve. She meets Marcus, who helps her look for her sister and helps her take a closer look at her life. They help each other and become more than just friends. As she searches for her long lost twin her character evolves and develops into a more confident women. This story deals with issues including family dynamics, true love, reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing. Anita has a wonderful way of immersing the reader into the lives of the characters. I love the cover and the play on words between the title and her main character. I was given a free copy from River North publishers for my honest review.
Australia is a place my husband would like to explore someday, and after reading this book which begins in Melbourne, I want to go, too! The descriptions of this city and other close-by places in the Down Under are very well done. And I enjoyed learning a little of the Aussie slang for certain words. But, the main attraction of this book is the marvelous story and its unique characters.
The whole story is told in the first person point of view of widow Lily Winters who goes to Melbourne to find her identical twin sister she only recently learned about. What struck me as I leafed through the pages to do this review is how well the author handled the whole story in only Lily's POV, but still made me feel like I knew the other two main characters--the sister, Camille, and Lily's love interest, Marcus Averill--as well as I did Lily. I don't read a lot of first person novels, but would definitely want to read another one by this author. Superb job of writing!
There are also Lily's daughter and Lily's mother and a few other characters. Her mother is so set in her destructive ways, that you know only a miracle can change her, and like many miracles, it is not the way we expect it to happen.
I don't want to give away any of the surprises which bring us to such a satisfying ending, but if you love romance and its happily ever after ending after lots of twists and turns, then I highly recommend this book.
Although it was a gift to review, all opinions are my own.
Lily Winter had been estranged from her mother for ten years, but with her daughter Julie away at college for the first time and with Lily suffering from a severe case of "empty nest" syndrome, she felt the need to try and reconnect with her mother. Little did she know that on that fateful day that she would lose one hope and discover another. When her mother told her she had a twin sister, Camille Daniels, who lived in Australia, Lily knew she had to find her. What she didn't expect to find was love. The day Marcus Averill sat on the bench beside her with her cheeks stuffed full of marshmallows and despair in her heart, was the day Lily's quiet, lonely life changed forever. Marcus was quirky and funny and everything Lily didn't want. But underneath all of the antics, Lily soon discovered a gentle man with with a tortured soul. She found herself falling for Marcus and falling fast. Could they find a love that would weather every storm?
Marcus Averill left Texas to flee his father's hatred. When Marcus' younger sister Ellie was killed in a car accident, his entire life changed. He was bogged down with guilt for falling asleep at the wheel and causing the fatal accident and had given up hope of ever reconciling with his parents. That is, until he met Lily Winter. That fateful day he sat beside her on that bench their lives became interwoven. Marcus helped her find her sister and she helped him find his way, his way back to his family and in the process she stole his heart. They both had their own separate lives they needed to repair, relationships that needed to be nurtured. Could they weather their storms and still maintain their love for each other? Or would making their family priority tear them apart forever?
This book was a firestorm of emotions wrapped up in one neat little package. The moment I opened the cover a whirlwind of emotions was unleashed in me and continued long after the last page was turned. I was quite literally emotionally drained. I have often marveled at a writer's creativity and writing ability. That's why I am a reader, not a writer. The way Anita Higman wove this story left me in awe of both her creativity and her God-Given talent as a writer. This story was absolutely beautiful and I often found the tears flowing unheeded. Winter in Full Bloom was about Love, family reunions and Spiritual awakening. I rejoiced in the transformation of some of the characters and I absolutely fell in love with Marcus just as sure as Lily did. All of the characters endeared themselves to me and I thoroughly enjoy traveling with them on their journey. You, too, will love the journey and I say that with the utmost confidence. If you haven't read Winter in Full Bloom you surely don't know what you're missing!
** I received this book for free from Miss Anita Higman for my honest review**