Author: Christine Lemmon
Publisher: Penmark Publishing
My synopsis: Fairly early in Anna's marriage, she discovers that her husband has had an affair. Believing that a change of scenery, and getting her husband away from his co-worker with whom he cheated, she quits her high power publishing job and moves her family to Florida, to a house on stilts. She has always wanted to write a novel and figures now is a good time to start.
New to the stay-at-home-scene she is overwhelmed by the demands of twin boys and a little girl. Feeling like all she does is clean the house, feed, or change the kids, or grab some much needed sleep, her novel isn't a priority.
"All I wanted was to finish an act from start to finish without interruption, so I set the egg I wanted to fry on the counter and steadily walked to the sink, trying hard to block out the noise hitting me from every direction. To an ordinary person, washing a pan is simple. But for a mother, who is also like a ringmaster in a three-ring circus, doing dishes is more hair-raisingly difficult than swallowing fire." ...
"You can do it," I chanted under my breath, trying hard to be the little engine that could. "You can make it through this day." At least I thought I could, thought I could, thought I could. There was nothing I wanted more this very moment than to become an escape artist and disappear, but then I saw from the corner of my eye the egg I was going to make for my children's breakfast, the only egg in the house, the extra large one sitting on the counter, roll to the edge and take a great fall. I dropped to my knees, trying to save old Humpty, but hard as I might, he slipped through my fingers." (Sand in My Eyes, p44)
I think that gives you a good picture as to Anna's state of mind. I know that I have been at this point before. It is actually this scene that sort of sets up the rest of the book. Anna's husband is leaving on a business trip, so he arranges for his parents to come and pick up the kids for a week. He doesn't really get why Anna can't get everything done with the kids there, but I think he doesn't really trust her to leave the kids alone with her.
Anna decides that this is the week to start her novel. So she does. She gets a lot of inspiration from her next door neighbor, Fedelina Aurelio, a geriatric gardener who shares with her much wisdom about life as it relates to flowers. She also meeds Fedelina's professor-son Liam and we learn about yearning and love lost. But I am leaving out an important part. We are learning all of this 20 years later, as she has gone to visit Fedelina in a nursing home, to share with her the novel that she has actually spent the last 20 years writing. The one she started the week she was home alone.
So you see, it is actually a story within a story. We learn all about Anna and Fedelina and the relationship that developed between them 20 years ago. But we also see the stage of life they are now in, and how their relationship has changed. Fedelina had shared with Anna letters from her mother Cora which she had written to her daughter over the years. As Anna lost her mother when she was in college, I believe that both Fedelina and Cora's letters served as a surrogate to her. They made it into her book, so they were definitely an inspiration to her.
I loved the way that whenever she felt stressed she would throw in children's rhymes (like the little engine that could, or Humpty Dumpty from the quote above). It gave the story a little whimsy. I enjoyed this book very much as I could relate to Anna so well (quitting a management job to stay home with the kids - it was quite a shock to the system!) There was so much inspirational, but not sappy, stuff in the book that I wanted to write down so I would remember it. The ending was a complete surprise and I never saw it coming, but it did wrap it up nicely. I would highly recommend this book to any mother at whatever stage of mothering she happens to be at!
I received a review copy for this book tour from Book Sparks, in exchange for my review.
About the author: Christine Lemmon is the author of Sanibel Scribbles, Portion of the Sea and Sand in My Eyes. She lives on an island off Florida’s Gulf Coast - in a house on stilts! - with her husband and children.
For more on Christine Lemmon and her books, visit: www.christinelemmon.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Sand In My Eyes
Publisher/Publication Date: Penmark Publishing, July 1, 2010