December 19, 2011
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I am very excited to share You by Joanna Briscoe (A+) today. I received an early reviewers copy from The Library Thing and I am extremely happy that I did.
Cecilia’s mother, Dora, an art teacher moves the family to the Moorlands where she becomes employed at a very progressive school. Her dad, a member of the Bannan clan, doesn’t do much to support his family. As a potter, he spends most of his time in his studio creating things that really never sell. He spends his days chatting away with local chaps just like himself. He is content to live off the kindness of others. The reality, however, is that Dora must be the financial head of the household.
Dora enrolls Cecilia at the school where she is working and it is there that Cecilia falls in love with her English professor, James Dahl. An illicit affair ensues between teacher and student and soon enough Cecilia finds herself pregnant. Cecilia must leave school and James behind so that no one can suspect who is the father of her child. During this time, it isn’t only Cecilia that is hiding something. Dora, too, has her own secret. She has been having her own affair with Elizabeth Dahl the wife of James.
Let’s fast forward to Cecilia as an adult when she returns home with her own family to care for her ill mother. Cecilia writes children’s books and has several successfully published. She has three daughters with Ari the man she believes she loves. Ari has no idea about Cecilia’s teenage pregnancy and love affair but Cecilia has never forgotten and is haunted by the child she gave up for adoption. She has returned to her childhood home with the intention of caring for her mom and meeting her writing deadlines but once there she finds herself looking for the child she left behind.
There are several sub-plots within the novel. Several times, I had to re-read chapters just to be certain I understood it all. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed You so much. It had several twists and turns that kept me glued to every page. While it all comes together in the end, not all of the story is wrapped up in a pretty bow. The reader is left wondering if there isn’t something more to the story, something unsaid, unwritten and something left for “you” to decide.