Rating **** (4 of 5 stars)
***NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review***
Normally, books categorized as women’s fiction aren’t my favorites. The premise for this one sounded so intriguing though, that I wanted to give it a try as soon as I’d read the description. After losing her job in Milwaukee, Anna Jennings and her four-year old son, David, return to her grandparents home in the rural Wisconsin town of Salsburg to make a new start. As they settle into their new home, Anna is surprised and startled to find that she can actually see David’s imaginary friends, two dinosaurs that follow him almost everywhere and act as his playmates and protectors. Her grandparents’ neighbor, Jamie Presswood, who used to play with Anna when she would visit as a child, has also returned to Salsburg to care for his ailing mother. While Jamie seems intent on keeping his distance at first, the two eventual manage to resume their friendship, and start something more. Not sure if she is going crazy or if what she can see is really her son’s imagination, Anna struggles with her fear of not being a good enough mother to David, and of not being good enough to be loved again after her failed relationship with David’s father.
This story was magical, suspenseful, and heartwarming. Ms. Lochen has done a wonderful job of inserting fantastical things into mundane situations in a way that makes you feel that they utterly belong. The characters were so real, that I almost felt as thought I knew each of them personally by the end of the story. Anyone who is a fan of women’s fiction or sweet romance novels, or has ever tried to raise a child will love this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrea Lochen is a University of Michigan MFA graduate. Her first novel, The Repeat Year (Berkley, 2013), won a Hopwood Award for the Novel prior to its publication. She has served as fiction editor of The Madison Review and taught writing at the University of Michigan. She currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, where she was recently awarded UW Colleges Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
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