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August 9, 2021

2 New Books About Family

by Susan Roberts


Family sagas make some of the best books. Whether we come from a small family large, we can always relate to the various dynamics of the characters. Today, I'm sharing two beautifully written novels. If you love a good family drama, then you don't want to miss these two new books.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

The Rise of Light by Olivia Hawker

The Rise of Light
August 2021; Lake Union; 978-1542022453
audio, ebook, print (428 pages); women's fiction

"There were no bars on the age, but a good girl always stayed."  (p 11)

A powerful novel about the expectations of family―and the risks and liberation of defying them.

The Rise of Light takes place in 1975 in Rexburg, Idaho.  The Rigby family is made up of father Gad, mother, son Aran, daughter Tamsin, and twin boys.  The parents are strict Mormons and the children vary in their degree of acceptance of the religion.  The novel mainly focuses on Gad, Aran, and Tamsin. Gad is an extremely psychologically abusive father who runs his family HIS way and refuses to let them make their own decisions.

Aran and Tamsin are fighting their father at every turn.  Aran is an aspiring artist who has to hide his paintings and Tamsin is a rebellious girl who longs to leave Rexberg as soon as she graduates from high school.  She knows that she can't continue to be part of her family or their religion.  Aran and Tamsin are close to each other and rely on each other to express their rebellion.  It all changes when Linda moves to town trying to escape her unhappy childhood and she and Aran fall in love.  But Aran and Tamasin have a secret that they know will ruin their father and their family.  Will that secret come to light now that Linda is part of their lives?

The Rise of Light is a beautifully written story.  The author describes Aran's paintings so that the reader can almost see them.  She describes the beautiful scenery so that we feel like we are there.  Her characters are well written and very real.  Her writing is exquisite in describing the beauty of Idaho as well as the ugly dynamics of the Rigby family.  The story progresses to a surprising but perfect ending.

This novel is a beautifully written novel about light - not just the light that is shown in paintings but the light that shines through everyone's lives and how people decide to use it or not.  It's a book full of family love and rebellion, small-town secrets, and an all-encompassing religion that ultimately controls everyone's lives.  

Buy The Rise of Light at Amazon
(the ebook is a free read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers)

What We Carry by Kalyn Fogarty

What We Carry
August 2021; Alcove Press; 978-1643858470
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); women's fiction

"We carry all the colors of the rainbow inside of us, if you look in the right places." (p 320)

What We Carry is a beautifully written emotional book about miscarriage.  One in every four women suffers a miscarriage but it isn't a topic that people talk about much and there are very few fiction books about it.    This book is based on the author's own miscarriage and she wrote it because she wanted the subject acknowledged more than it is now.

Cassidy is a veterinarian and has always had her life planned out.  She and her husband Owen are devastated when she miscarries their son late in her pregnancy.  She can barely handle life again and has no one to talk to about it.  Owen is willing to talk but she feels that it didn't affect him as much as her and pushes him away. Her thoughts are filled with grief and guilt - in her own way, she is taking the blame for it.  As her grief continues, she has only her sister to talk to,  She has a very antagonistic relationship with her mother and knows that she'll be no help.  After having her life planned out from an early age, this really makes her question herself and wonder if maybe she wouldn't have been a good mother.  Owen is always there to help her and love her even as she pushes him away he longs for the wonderful relationship that they had before the miscarriage.  

When she becomes pregnant again, she is filled with joy and apprehension.  Will this baby be ok or will she miscarry again is on her mind constantly.  Owen is always by her side encouraging her but he understands that she is scared and admits that he is too. She and Owen work hard to overcome the problems in their relationship as both look forward with joy and worry about the impending birth.

In the first part of the book, I really didn't like Cassidy much.  I thought she was stubborn and uncaring.  However, as we saw her grief and despair, I began to like her as a character and began to understand her actions and attitudes. This book is an emotional look at pregnancy, family, and love.  Even though it was hard to deal with the sadness in the book, the final takeaway was one of love and understanding.

Buy What We Carry at Amazon


Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.


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