About this book: (from the publisher) When adored town spinster Joy Talley ends up in a coma after a peculiar accident, she is surprised and incensed to hear what is being said in her hospital room, including plans for her funeral. When she finally wakes, her well-meaning, but bossy, brothers and sisters dismiss her claims, thinking her accident has knocked her off her rocker, but Joy has never felt better, and is determined to set the past right. Now Joy must face her darkest secret and risk reopening wounds caused by an old flame who rejected her more than twenty years ago. But taking risks brings change, as well as a new, younger man into Joy’s life, making her feel like a teenager again. Suddenly Joy’s once humdrum life is anything but boring and routine and the future beckons, exhilarating and bright.
About the author: (excerpted from her website) Tina Ann Forkner writes women’s fiction. When not writing, Tina is a substitute teacher who loves sharing her appreciation of reading and writing with children and teens. She enjoys traveling, gardening, and hiking in the great outdoors, is (still) learning to knit scarves, trying to cut back on caffeine, and not much makes her happier than an extra-large mocha.
Before making her way to Wyoming, Tina grew up in small-town Oklahoma, moved for a time to England, and eventually to Sacramento where she graduated with honors in English from Sac State. She makes her home in Cheyenne with her husband, three teens, and two spoiled dogs.
Genre: Fiction/Women’s Fiction
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: a very tame PG-13. Some mild cussing appropriate to context, didn’t bother me a bit.
How I’d judge this cover to suit the story: Perfect. To me, it speaks pure joy.
Reminds me of… shades of Joshilyn Jackson and Sarah Addison Allen
Will especially appeal to… readers of crossover women’s fiction who enjoy the novels of Lisa Wingate and Karen White.
Would I read another by this author? Do Southerners drink sweet tea?
This story matters because… it’s all about the hope of second chances and the promise that it’s never too late to start over and live life to the fullest.
My take: I’m going to keep this simple: I loved this story. Everything from its first engaging lines to its satisfying conclusion, and all that came in between. I found it impossible not to fall in love with Joy, who finds herself a spinster in her forties yet is not nearly ready to give up on love. I liked JOY’s sass and humor, its unassuming faith message and gently unfolding love story (which also managed to keep me guessing).
The author’s voice is vibrant, her prose smooth–altogether a pleasure to read. And the story is peopled by characters that range from charming to annoying, which is all as it should be. What’s more, I always appreciate women’s fiction that includes a dark mystery along with a bit of electric romance–and this one has both.
So put this one on your Christmas list, ladies. WAKING UP JOY is a novel to savor.
Thanks to Tina Ann Forkner for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: So fun to discover a new (to me) author whose voice just jumps right off the page. In the last year, who have been some of your best discoveries?