Monday, January 28, 2013

The Second Daughter **Blog Tour**

Hello and welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Second Daughter, by J. Jeffrey, presented by Sage's Blog Tours.

The Second Daughter
By J. Jeffrey

Amazon GoodReads

You try turning out all right after you overhear your mother wishing you hadn’t been born.
It had started out well. Umbrellas tangled. A storybook romance followed. A wonderful wedding. A beautiful, sweet first daughter. They were complete, a family, happy. And then they went and had another daughter.
Her charming and witty father Theodore starts disappearing, then worse, starts coming back. Her once allegedly sweet older sister Regina angrily resents her, and the sisters are at constant war. Her
mother Helen is so busy what-iffing about the life she might have had that she overlooks the life she is actually having. Everyone blames Debra for pretty much everything as the family slowly, then quickly, then one day explosively disintegrates. Along the way there are secrets and lies, heartbreaks and betrayals, plus the dramatic unexpected death of a central character at a pivotal moment. The now young woman finds herself living awkwardly alone with her embittered mother when the phone rings—and her
mother’s secret past suddenly crashes back into the present.
Their life may be about to change forever; or rather, perhaps, revert back to what it should have been all along.
But not exactly because of that phone call, as it turns out.
Because of the remarkable second daughter. For what Debra Gale has is unyielding determination. What she has is an irrepressible capacity to love. And now at last what she has is a chance.
The complex dynamics of a changing family. Mother, daughters, sisters, and the father who both divides and unifies them. That dramatic unexpected death, plus more than the ordinary amount of banana cream pie. Welcome to The Second Daughter: a funny but poignant, unusual but beautiful love story.

About the Author
J. Jeffrey stands about six foot three and likes poetry. He has been known to climb the occasional mountain and tame the occasional lion. He sings opera as an amateur but is trained as a masseur, and he is extremely partial to his wife’s green tea perfume. He drinks too much coffee, and gets lost a lot. Two words: Florence, Italy. Pastry for breakfast, over the crossword puzzle, preferably after noon. Soup for lunch, preferably late afternoon, over another puzzle (the first having been solved). His favorite drink (after coffee) is red wine. He knows a word or two but will not play scrabble. Regrettably, he believes he might be happy if only you would think him as funny as he thinks he is. But most importantly, he is not to be trusted. He writes biographies full of lies, or are they novels full of truths? Such a fine line.

My Review
This book will break you heart. Make sure to have a box of tissues handy when you sit down with it - you'll need it. 

J. Jeffrey has written such a charmingly engaging and heartbreaking tale in The Second Daughter. It is a superbly rendered blend of love, joy, and humor along with sadness and regret. At its heart, it's a story of life.

Helen Faire Gale is a woman who needs her life to be orderly and tidy in all aspects. She leads her life in this manner while preparing for her "long journey to the promised land." Then she meets Theodore Gale - a man who couldn't be further from neat and tidy if he tried. But something about Theodore's lack of order and his spontaneity appeals to her. And somehow this pair of opposites ends up married.

Within their first year of marriage, they have Regina, the perfectly tempered first daughter. Exactly two years after Regina's birth, the second daughter, Debra, comes along. And Helen and Theodore's seemingly perfect world begins to crumble. 

Regina is seen as the quiet, tidy, obedient and smart daughter. She makes a point of living up to those expectations, in between doing everything to torture her younger sister and/or make her appear as the reason the Gales' life isn't going smoothly.

Debra is seen as the loud, clumsy, untidy, disobedient and not smart daughter. She, too, does her best to wear those between trying to love her sister and/or defend herself against her sister's antics.

There is much about this story that I found personally relatable. That may be why I found this story so moving. One element of particular interest this novel illuminates is the difference in people's perception of events - even between those living through the same event. One of the most touching elements of this story for me is the journey Helen and Debra undertake from the moment of Debra's birth. That Helen goes from blaming all her woes on her youngest child - what iffing Debra's existence to her epiphany:

"All I ever really wanted, Dub, was to have a long, meaningful journey somewhere. And it turns out I had one, right here, with you..."

This is a truly unique love story. Oh, there is love between husband and wife, between parents and children but it's the love between a mother and her second daughter that's the highlight here. And it's achingly sad in its beauty.
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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