Friday, June 21, 2013

The Library - Contemporary Novel Review "The Rockin' Chair" by Steven Manchester

Title:  The Rockin' Chair
Author:  Steven Manchester
Publisher:  The StoryPlant
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Genre:  Contemporary Novel
Format: Paperback 272 pages  | Kindle 548 KB

Where to find 
Steven Manchester Online:


Buy the Book:  Kindle   |  Paperback

Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy Grandpa John calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, THE ROCKIN' CHAIR is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.

My Thoughts...

This is the 3rd book of Steven's that I have read and it's definitely my favorite of the 3.  This is the story of family and how sometimes it takes losing a family member to truly bring a family back together.  This is a story about making the choice to forgive instead of hanging on to the bitterness of the past.

Big John McCarthy has just lost the love of his life.  Alice battled with Alzheimer's in the end and even through the rough times John was right there by her side loving her to the very end.  He wants nothing more that to be right there with her when she is gone, but he has things that need to be tended to before he goes.  His long estranged son, who lived just across the creek, hasn't spoken to him in years.  As he calls all his grandchildren back home for the funeral he realizes that his family really is in turmoil.

Each of the 3 grandchildren have had their own share of troubles and heartbreak.  Georgey is in the military, just finished with a tour in Afghanistan.  While following orders on a mission he did something that earned him a commendation, but it's one that he won't accept because of something that happened that he blames himself for.  He has decided that he is leaving the military, but he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life.  Evan has done all the way to the East Coast to be a writer.  He was engaged to the woman he believes is the love of his life, but she has left him and he is reeling from her betrayal.  He leaves their home on a mission to find his twin sister Tara in New York City.  No one knows where she is since none of them have heard from her in some time.  By a wild stroke of luck Evan finds her and takes her and her daughter back home to Montana.

The family re-connects through their grief and through memories that they share of good and bad times.  They each have special moments with Big John as they re-live things from the past and move on to a better place in the present.  John just has this feeling like he has been given extra time to set things right then he can go on to be with his Alice.

This is such a heartfelt story that could be the story of any family.  It's full of love and hurt, misunderstandings and forgiveness.  I was literally in tears for the entire last chapter.  It's a very well written story for sure.  The only tiny thing that bothered me were the italicized "inner thought" part.   They didn't flow well for me and I think it's maybe something I have pointed out in Steven's other work.  It didn't hinder me from enjoying the story though.

This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good heartfelt and emotional read.  This will make you think about the things that you may need to change about your life and things you need to may want to tell your family members.  It's a nice clean read that would be enjoyable no matter your age or gender.

*Disclaimer:  I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.*

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