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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

March 25, 2023

Community Board by Tara Conklin ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

29-year-old Darcy Clipper has a comfortable life - a good job, husband of almost 10 years, and bingo night with friends. But when her husband Skip walks in from work and instead of enjoying their routine cup of tea he announces the marriage is over. Darcy is blindsided by this as she thought they had a comfortable life, maybe a little routine and a little boring, but they liked it that way. Right? With her life in a tailspin, she heads to her one safe place - her childhood home. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel Community Board by Tara Conklin
March 2023; Mariner Books; 978-0062959379
audio, ebook, print (272 pages); women's fiction

I don't usually care for novels where the main character wallows in self-pity and for probably 90% of the novel that is more or less what Darcy does. But something was compelling about the story and I didn't want to put it down.

I think it was partly Darcy's self-imposed isolation as there are days I would love to just run away and hide from the world. But also there are great characters who I wanted to know about more.

The structure of the story is a little unconventional. 

One thing that annoyed me is that there are not chapters. The book is broken up by season but that means there's a large number of pages before a break. I like to use reading as a reward - wash the dishes, read a chapter, vacuum the house, read two chapters, etc. That wasn't really possible with this book. Also at night, I like to stop at the end of a chapter before going to bed. 

The text of the story is broken up by excerpts from the town's community board and her draft emails to Skip, but they aren't regular enough to serve as natural breaks.

Another slightly unconventional thing is the lack of direct dialogue. What people are saying is relayed by Darcy and sometimes paraphrased.  It really keeps you in Darcy's frame of mind.

One thing I'm really glad about this novel was the nearly nonexistent romance. Often in novels where the main character is dumped, there is an emphasis on the character getting back to dating and falling in love. However, this novel is really focused on Darcy's healing and growth. She does admire the kilt-wearing chef who delivers her meals, but her best friends are a gay guy whose husband travels too much and an 80-year-old woman who lives in an assisted living home run by nuns. 

Darcy is a great character with her risk aversion and social awkwardness, which is all made worse by her self-imposed isolation. 

I probably should mention that the story is set in 2019 but that the author wrote this during the pandemic. Conklin draws on some of the emotions and realities we experienced during the "lockdown" period of the pandemic. At the same time, none of the novel felt like the pandemic. 

If you are planning your spring break reading lists, and you want something that is focused on the character's self-discovery and growth with a bit of humor thrown in, then Community Board would be a perfect book to add. 

Buy Community Board at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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