Tag Archives: Elizabeth Hein

How To Climb The Eiffel Tower

eiffel_towerThis is a difficult book to explain at first. It’s about cancer, but it’s neither saccharine nor depressing. It’s about transformation, but it’s not a lifetime channel inspirational tract. The best I’ve come up with so far is that it is an unusual Cinderella story, in which cancer is the prince. Whatever it is, it was a moving and powerful read, that also made me laugh.

Lara Blaine isn’t easy to like at the beginning of the story. She’s had a rough early life and it hasn’t left her friendly, approachable, or all that interested in others. She’s driven when it comes to her work, and impatient with incompetence in others. She has trust issues. She’s prickly.

So, when she gets a diagnosis of cancer, she isn’t very well equipped to deal with it. She doesn’t have a circle of family or friends around her, and her personal resources are limited as well. But, in dealing with her illness and her treatment, Lara grows, makes friends, and finds herself.

In that way, it’s kind of like a post-apocalyptic story, where a character is burned in the crucible of severe life challenges and their true self is formed or revealed.

I recommend this one to readers interested in stories that focus on the main character’s inner journey.

About The Reviewer:

BRYANT-CroppedSamantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her Menopausal Superhero series is available on Amazon or can be requested at your favorite book store: Book 1: Going Through the Change, Book 2: Change of Life, and (upcoming in 2017) Face the Change.

Learn more about Samantha and her work at http://samanthadunawaybryant.blogspot.com/

Escape Plan

escape_planEscape Plan is the sequel to Overlook, both by Elizabeth Hein. While it can be enjoyed out of sequence, I recommend reading Overlook first. The two books make a single story if read in order, a satisfying story about revenge, justice, and finding one’s true path in life.

Overlook is the premiere neighborhood in an imaginary North Carolina town in the 1970s and Stacia rules it with an iron fist inside a kid glove. Property values and family values are one and the same, and woe be to anyone who upsets the status quo with unseemly drama or tragedy in the Stepford-like lakeside community.

Things begin to change when Stacia’s best friend Kitty becomes the center of a particularly unsavory family situation in the shape of a philandering husband who fails to keep up appearances. More than one of the Lookers is revealed in a different light as Kitty’s life falls apart and Stacia decides where her loyalties lie.

Book two picks up in the immediate aftermath of the events at the end of book one.

There are spoilers for Overlook in the rest of this review. You’ve been warned.

Kitty Haskell kills her husband (believe me, if you read book one, you’ll think he deserved it and be cheering for her to get away with it). Escape Plan is a book that dares to say: Now what? Like finding out what happens to the princess after the prince comes, this book shows that taking action against your troubles might just land you in an entirely new pool of hot water.

Not getting caught is only one of her problems. It’s the 70s and Kitty doesn’t have a job, and Seth left them in debt. There’s no insurance money since he’s only missing legally speaking, not dead. Heck, she doesn’t even own the car she was driving.

She’s a social pariah in Overlook, unable to keep up now that her finances are constrained and her life is in disorder. People she’d thought of as friends turn away from her completely. And there’s the matter of that mistress, the one her husband planned to leave her for. She’s not just disappearing.

I really enjoyed watching Kitty come into her own in this novel. I liked her in Overlook, but now I love her. I was surprised by many of the twists of fate in Kitty’s life and truly satisfied by the ending.

I recommend this book for readers who enjoy realistic, but dramatic stories and strong character arcs. It’s also interesting as a period piece and a commentary and the changing roles of women in the 1970s.

About The Reviewer:

BRYANT-CroppedSamantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her debut novel, Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel is now for sale by Curiosity Quills.

Learn more about Samantha and her work at http://samanthadunawaybryant.blogspot.com/