Pemberton Manor: The Moon Mother by Becky Doughty

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Pemberton Manor: The Moon Mother: A Serial Novel by Becky Doughty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Lucy Farnsworth is in rather dire straits, but she’s determined to protect and provide for herself, her young daughter, and her unborn baby. However, when a fellow resident of Pemberton Manor reports a disturbing incident at Lucy’s apartment, it could put her desperate situation on blast in Pemberton Manor: The Moon Mother by author Becky Doughty.

And here I am, a reader who doesn’t “do” serial novels until she has all the episodes, going along on this Pemberton Manor journey strictly because she trusts this author. The prequel, The Goodbye Girl, certainly whet my appetite for this first episode, and I wasn’t disappointed.

There’s something endearing about this manor, this apartment building full of misfits, even though I haven’t met all the misfits yet. Even in Lucy’s weakness, her courage is evident. And, seriously, the way she conducts herself in the midst of the mess she’s in had me calling her Wonder Woman—as I’m sure motherhood has a way of revealing the Wonder in many a Woman.

I’ve found such a richness and realness in much of this author’s writing, and this installment of Pemberton Manor is no exception. It’s with all virtue of patience (and anticipation!) that I’m looking forward to the next episode.

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Here’s my review of the Pemberton Manor prequel, The Goodbye Girl.

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Pemberton Manor: The Goodbye Girl by Becky Doughty

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book, for which I’ve given an honest review, from the author.
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Five Gold Stars

51ofxpylyglThe Goodbye Girl: A Serial Novel – The Prequel by Becky Doughty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Grace Winters is by no means petite. And perhaps when her fairly big foot accidentally steps on the toes of an apparently pompous August Jones in an antique elevator, he deserves it. But it just may be Grace’s luck (or something else?) when she, August, and a couple of Pemberton Manor residents get stuck in this elevator on Christmas Eve in Pemberton Manor: The Goodbye Girl by author Becky Doughty.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that, as a rule, I don’t do serialized novels. That is, I don’t do them until all the serials are published and I can just read the complete book. Reading a good story in pieces makes me feel teased and impatient.

But I’ll also be the first to admit, as I have before, that I’m up for reading any fiction with this author’s name on it, and The Goodbye Girl prequel was here and waiting. So I broke my own rule to read it and may have to return to the rule later, as I enjoyed this prequel so much that I’m already ready for the next Pemberton Manor installment.

I found this novella funny and distinctly touching, with such an understanding of human nature. And I love this Grace heroine, how compassionate, flawed, and grown she is. Yes, at a pivotal point in the story, I said to myself, “See, that’s what a heroine does when she’s not a self-centered little girl at heart. When she’s grown.” And the story closes–it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or anything, but it certainly whet my appetite to meet more of the Manor’s misfits.

The fact that it’s also a wonderful Christmas story is a bonus. So although I could see myself reading it at any time of the year, I’m glad I read it this week.

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After this prequel, you’ll want to read Episode One of Pemberton Manor, The Moon Mother.

Phoebe and the Rock of Ages by Becky Doughty

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Four Silver Stars

Phoebe and the Rock of AgesPhoebe and the Rock of Ages: The Gustafson Girls Book 3 by Becky Doughty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Well! On to the “wild child” in the four-woman band of Gustafson sisters, the G-FOURce. I knew Phoebe’s story would carry on the still-developing aftermath of the sisters’ parents’ deaths, but so much more of the past comes to light in Phoebe and the Rock of Ages by author Becky Doughty.

Since I skipped reading the blurb beforehand, I got double the pleasure out of seeing the return of a key character from Book One in the series: the motorcycling musical minister Trevor. Whoo hoo!! (Yes. Two exclamation points.) His half of the story brings a lot I appreciate about the true meaning of grace. And I was in for some surprises in actually getting to know Phoebe. Her journey–from the present, to the past, and back again–is raw, real, and redemptive.

This is quite a reflective type of read, which is good, though some of the reflection felt redundant in places, and I got a little bogged down in it, wanting the story to move along.

Still, this is my favorite book in The Gustafson Girls series so far, and once you read this one, you’ll have to read the next.

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See my review of the first book in the series, Juliette and the Monday ManDates.

Juliette and the Monday ManDates  Renata and the Fall from Grace

A Long Way Home by Becky Doughty

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Four Silver Stars

A Long Way HomeA Long Way Home by Becky Doughty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

It wasn’t typical “preacher’s kid” rebellion that once led Savannah Clark to run away from home to join a traveling dance troupe, Marek and the Gypsies. But in A Long Way Home by author Becky Doughty, a serious accident brings Savannah to a crossroads: she can either endure the danger of staying, or face the danger of returning to her family–and to her first love, Jordan Ransome.

My journey with this series started with All the Way to Heaven, a rich and alluring trip to Tuscany, then went on to A Light in the Dark, a book I could barely finish for weeping so hard, and finally here to Savannah’s difficult dilemma.

This novel deals with some heavy issues, from manipulation and domestic violence to rape, without glossing over them to paint an unrealistically sanitized picture but also without plunging the reader hopelessly deep into darkness. Savannah’s story gave me pause in several places, exploring the difference between performing through life and being real, and also showing what it’s like to be so accustomed to abuse that the idea of safety scares you.

I understood Savannah and Jordan’s romance, though I couldn’t get into it fully, partly because, in the midst of her trouble, Savannah hasn’t much time to shine or reflect who she is, or may be, in her own right. And it could just be a hitch in my understanding, but a pivotal resolution in the story didn’t resolve the matter for me as much as it gave me more questions.

Still, I think it’s a worthy continuation of the Fallout series. And, no, you don’t have to read the preceding novels to appreciate this one, but, my goodness, you won’t be sorry if you read them anyway.

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Note for my blog readers: this novel is a clean read but does contain some innuendo and content for mature minds.

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Here’s my review of All the Way to Heaven.

All the Way to Heaven  A Light in the Dark