Olivia by Julie Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received Olivia in the mail yesterday and was very excited to start reading this first book in The Newport Ladies Book Club series. The series is written by four authors well-known in the LDS market (Julie Wright, Josi S. Kilpack, Annette Lyon, and Heather Moore). Part of what drew me to The Newport Ladies Book Club is that it is intended for a national audience. It always makes me happy seeing LDS authors using their talents for a broader market.
I don't always read book dedications and acknowledgements, but for some reason I did with this one. The tears started flowing during Julie Wright's acknowledgements as she talked about women (both friends and kind strangers) who have offered a smile or a shoulder to cry on. My friends (which include my family) are so important to me. I depend on them and really appreciate them!
Olivia tells the story of a 40-something mother of four that finds herself struggling. Her husband has become very distant, and she's not sure who she is anymore. One particularly bad evening she sees a flyer for a book club and decides to join. The friends she makes and the books she reads help her cope with her problems.
It was good that I kept a tissue handy, as I needed it a few times during the novel. There are some light moments, but overall it's pretty heavy. Although the focus is on Olivia, each of the book club members has had some significant trials. I couldn't relate to many of their issues (thankfully!), but I could definitely relate to the importance of good friends and being there for those around you.
A very touching story and a great start to the series.