REVIEW: LIFE & OTHER INCONVENIENCES, BY KRISTAN HIGGINS

Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her—until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?l

potpourri thoughts

From the very first page of Life and Other Inconveniences, I was immersed in the family dynamics and the intriguing characters. They felt so real, and they kept me smiling, laughing, and sometimes crying.

Emma was my favorite character, along with her daughter Riley. Genevieve, whom we came to know a little better when her alternating narrative took over, kept me intrigued. She was a mixed bag of sadness, loss, and the kind of staunch grit that comes with her background and experiences.

There were times that I could almost empathize with Clark, Emma’s father, but he was such a weak imitation of the life he could have had.

So many troubled characters who could have had more, but who sank to the lowest of lows when confronted with difficulty. Or those little inconveniences that life throws at us. These were the characters against whom we cast the truly great ones, like Emma and Riley.

Then we meet Miller, and watch him deal with his challenging daughter Tess, and the combination of Emma and Miller made my heart soar. A lovely 4.5 star read.

***

FAST-PACED TREASURE HUNT — A REVIEW

In a delightfully fast-paced novel, with action from the very first page, we come to know Birdie Kaminsky and her quest.

She purportedly is in search of hidden treasure, via clues left by an ancestor, Lucas Postell. But before the quest is over, we come to realize that what she really seeks is love and connections.

She finds a growing set of connections in Liberty, Ohio, where her ancestor lived, and where his “freedwoman” Justice ends up to await the return of her one true love; in fact, the first clue leads her to the Last Chance Café in this very town.

Along the way, she meets colorful characters from the town and the café, and also is forced to share living space with Hugh, a womanizing journalist from Akron, Ohio. He has his own demons to fight, and is trying to ward off his growing attraction for Birdie. Especially after he does a background search and discovers her somewhat sketchy childhood and young adulthood.

What is Theodora, the octogenarian, all about, and why is she so interested in Birdie? How does a young girl named Blossom fit into the scheme of things? And what does wealthy banker Landon Williams add to the intriguing mix?

Some parts of the plot were a bit far-fetched, but the whole was delivered in a colorful, fun way. I definitely connected with the characters, enjoying most of them. I thought that Meade, an uppity, judgmental woman, turned on a dime a bit too quickly. But the ending came together nicely and the clues finally fell into place. I awarded Treasure Me four stars.