Sunday, November 15, 2009

Review #25: The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate

Title: The Secret of Joy

Author: Melissa Senate
Format: ARC from Publisher for review
Publisher: Downtown Press (Simon and Schuster)
Genre: Fiction

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY on Tuesday, November 17! Come back and check it out!

Rating: 4/5

My Review and Description:

This was the first Melissa Senate novel that I have read. My good friend Cheryl is one of her biggest fans having read all of her previous seven novels. So when I had the opportunity to read this one I jumped on it, not only for myself to read but also to share with my friend, the big ol' fan. Melissa Senate is most know for her chick lit/relationship based books published by Red Dress Ink. The Secret of Joy marks a change in publishers for her and time will tell if it changes her story lines.

This book is a story about sisters. The main character Rebecca is a paralegal living in New York with her boyfriend of two years. Is she happy? Well, she's not UNhappy. She has a decent job, a decent boyfriend, a decent apartment, a decent life. But her father is dying. On his death bed he makes a startling admission that he had an affair 26 years ago and had a child, another daughter. Rebecca's now ordinary life is turned upside with this discovery of this half sister. Her mother died ten years before and after her father passes away, she is left with a box of letters addressed to this new found half sister and her only family member. Rebecca always wanted a sister but she is unsettled with this information. She makes the brave decision, much to her boyfriend's disapproval, to find her and give her the letters.

Well, imagine if a stranger dropped on your door step with the news that she was your half sister and the father you never knew was dead. Wanna hang out? It obviously doesn't go that well at first and the story takes a sweet but awkward direction. Rebecca ends up staying a lot longer than she had imagined meeting much of the local town folk and becoming a strained figure in her new half sister's world. The half sister, Joy, runs her own business which involves a bus tour for singles. Ironically, she is having some issues in her own emotional life.

There were many things I liked about this book. I liked the two sisters, very different, yet so honest in their struggles with coming to terms with one another. I liked the quirky side characters that comprised the small Maine town that Joy lives in especially the dreamy carpenter guy that Rebecca gets involved with. I especially liked the easy to read writing style, simple yet honest. Like I said, I have never read Melissa Senate before so I didn't know what to expect and I am pleasantly surprised.

I think this would make a perfect holiday gift for a sister, or a good friend, or a close female cousin. It does focus on definitions of family and support of friends and community. Overall, it has a good heart and would make a sweet gift this holiday. Also, you can't go wrong with the town hunk!

I passed this along to my mom and she is loving it. Next stop will be to my friend, Cheryl. I look forward to seeing how this one ranks in comparison to her other novels.

I will post my Q & A with Melissa Senate on Tuesday, November 17 along with a giveaway of this title. Stop on by!

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child


Lisa said...

So glad to hear you liked this one. I need to get it read for review by tomorrow night so I'm glad to know it won't be a struggle to get through! Nothing like putting things off until the last minute, uh?!

Jenny said...

Sounds great! I've heard so many good things about her books. I really need to pick up one one of these days!

Amy J said...

Sounds like a great read! I will have to add it to my wish list!

StephTheBookworm said...

I love her books, so I definitely plan on reading this! I'm glad you liked it!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I have this one to read too - I am excited!

Michelle Santiago said...

thanks for the great interview; i'll have to check this out next time i'm at a bookstore. i think the book cover on this one is cute... goes well with the title :)

Unknown said...

I haven't read one of her books, but it sounds like I'd like them! Thanks for the rec.

Jessica said...

I like the sound of this book! I can't say that I've heard of this author before today, but I really enjoyed the interview and your review is amazing. You've officially piqued my curiosity. :D