Thursday, May 12, 2011

Julie's Review: Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits Summary: When life gives you lemons, call your best girlfriends and whip up some lemon martinis. Such is the mantra for the Ladies' Society for the Conservation of Martinis, which was established after one fateful PTA meeting, when four young mothers-Lynne, Mary Kay, Beth, and Carol- discovered they had more in common than they ever thought possible. Meeting once a month, the women would share laughs and secrets and toast to their blossoming friendship with a clink of their sacred martini glasses. The Society was their salvation, their refuge, but when life-shattering circumstances force the group to dissolve, their friendship is never quite the same...until two years later, when a tragic event puts the Society back in session. When Lynne passes away suddenly, she leaves behind one simple request: that her old friends sort through her belongings. Reluctantly, the women reunite to rummage through her closets. There's nothing remarkable; no kinky sex toys, no embarrassing diary. But buried deep within Lynne's lingerie drawer is an envelope addressed to the Society. And inside they find a letter that reveals a shocking secret and a final wish that will send the women on a life-changing journey...proving that nothing is more powerful than the will of a true girlfriend and a good, strong martini.

Review: I adore books about friendships. I love them more when the author gives those friendships real, mature problems. In Kindred Spirits, Sarah Strohmeyer does just that. She creates a circle of friends who are mature, have real problems and who are at times struggling through life.

We are introduced to Lynne first and then the other 3 friends: Beth, Carol and Mary Kay(MK). They've been friends for 20 years from being new moms in the same town to having their kids grow up and go away to start their own lives. Now they are perhaps dealing with the biggest change yet; death of a dearly loved friend. Years before Lynne made them promise to be the only ones to clean out her personal items after she was gone. She had planned this so that she could reveal a big secret to her friends and have them conduct her final wish. I think she also intended to do it this way so that the 3 of them would reconnect and make that bond even tighter. She was savvy that Lynne. I also think she's the glue that kept these friendships together. Without her and her forward thinking, they might have unraveled.

Usually in a book with 4 main characters, I tend to identify with one of them distinctly but what Ms. Strohmeyer does so well is she made me find some of myself in each of the characters. These characters are so identifiable and real that you can't help but like them all and of course want to shake them all at the same time. They have problems that we all have gone through or could face at any time in our lives. What Ms. Strohmeyer does is makes it so that you know there are no easy answers, that they struggle with the decisions they have made and that maybe things will be alright in the end.

I cried, I laughed and at times I got angry. Sounds a bit like life, eh? These women are extraordinary in their own ordinary ways. Beth, the shy bookworm who doesn't take chances; Mary Kay, the nurse who was a single mom and is now getting to live her own life; and Carol, the rebel who through her "perfect" life to the wind and went out on her own. Each woman learns something during their trip and they grow.

Lynne was lucky that her friends took upon them her dying wish and did it without really questioning why she never told them about this secret. We all have secrets, things that we want to keep to ourselves for our own reason. Not everything is meant to be shared. It's what makes people interesting and unique.

Often, we get so busy in life that friendships fall aside and are left unattended. Friendships take work just like anything else in life; some more than others. As I get older and have less time with 2 little kids, I find myself evaluating the people I have in my life, weeding out those who I don't think would be there if the going got tough. I'm not about having the most friends these days; I'm about having quality friends. I think this is a lesson you learn as you grow up.

This is my first Sarah Strohmeyer book, but it won't be my last. She said that this book is different from her others and I think that's great. I know this book is extremely personal for her and probably therapeutic as well. She is a gifted storyteller who can make you cry and laugh all on the same page. You will also learn recipes for some of the best sounding martini's ever. (Tiffany - We will have to concoct some of these this summer).

If you are a fan of Women's Fiction, then I highly suggest that you go and buy (pre-order) perhaps, Kindred Spirits. I don't think you will regret it.

Final Take: 4.75/5

Kindred Spirits is on sale June 30, 2011

Thanks to the author for sending me the book!



Shon May 14, 2011 at 7:48 PM  

Great review! I'm looking forward to reading this book. I've read several of the author's previous novels and really enjoyed them. Books about female relationships always interest me.

Tiffany K May 17, 2011 at 4:33 PM  

I love reading your reviews, Jules. Even the ones Im not mentioned in. :) You have a way of wording things that make people feel like they've stepped inside the book...even if its just for a moment. Keep up the good work!

Sarah Strohmeyer May 19, 2011 at 11:10 AM  

Thank you, Julie! I'm really touched by this review and have posted it on FB. (Probably didn't do it the right link way, but oh well). It's so in depth!
Now going to read your other reviews. Having turned in my latest manuscript, I'm looking for a really satisfying read.

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