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Sheila's bookshelf: read

What Would the Founding Fathers Think: A Young American's guide to understanding the mess our country is in and how we get out
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel
Captive Heart
Cobble Cavern
Caller ID
Summer of Secrets
On Little Wings
We Lived in Heaven: Spiritual Accounts of Souls Coming to Earth
Christ's gifts to women
A Woman's power: threads that bind us to god
Scary School
Hope's journey
Targets in Ties
Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island
With a Name like Love
Sean Griswold's head

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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Review of Olivia: Book One of The Newport Ladies Book Club by Julie Wright.Also, an Interview with the Author!

Product Details:

  • Title: Olivia
  • Author: Julie Wright
  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.; 1st edition (January 30, 2012)
  • Genre: Women's Fiction
  • ISBN-10: 1608618439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608618439

Book Description:

January 30, 2012
The Robbins household looks perfect from the outside: no dust, no stains, no wrinkles. Yet a glimpse into its heart reveals no laughter, no closeness, no joy. Olivia thinks that if she keeps everything tidy and serves delicious meals on time, family life is bound to get better. But when her husband, Nick, misses their anniversary, she realizes no amount of domestic success will compensate for failure in their marriage, or for her own failure to develop her identity, always busy as a mother, wife, and neighbor, she has forgotten how to be a unique and vibrant individual. Determined to make a change, Olivia joins a local book club, where she nurtures new friendships and explores new ideas. But her growing confidence falters when Nick declares his independence, and while her new friends lovingly encircle her with support, only Olivia can reach into the depths of her fledgling self to find the faith, hope, and love her troubled family needs.
My Review:
I was so excited, and intrigued, when I first heard about this series called, "The Newport Ladies Book Club". What a genius idea! Here is what it is about...

"The Newport Ladies Book Club series is unique in that each Newport book is written from the point of view of a different woman in the book club. The first 4 books cover the same time period and the same book club meetings. But only with reading all 4 books, will you learn the whole story of each of the women and her full character journey. Think of it as a parallel series, not as a forward-moving series."

This series is being written by four very talented authors, Josi Kilpack, Annette Lyon, Julie Wright, and Heather Moore. 
The first two books in the series have been released. I am reviewing Olivia today, and will be reviewing Daisy in a few weeks.

Reading Olivia was a very emotional experience for me. Olivia told the story of a woman who has always given her all to her husband and children.Along the way she has become lost and doesn't know who she is anymore. The novel starts where Olivia and her husband, Nick, are having marital problems. All of a sudden she realizes that she needs to do something to find herself.This is when she joins a local book club, all strangers. This is a scary prospect for some people.

I loved the whole idea of this book club bringing this group of women together.It was delightful to see friendships grow, along with Olivia's confidence. I have read most of the books written by Julie Wright. This book, so far, is her best and most well-written book. The character development is so well done, the reader will  be able to relate to all of the women in the book club on some level. The emotions are so real, and there is a lot of angst filled moments. Julie truly pegs a marriage in trouble; which is amazing since I know Julie has a fantastic marriage. I'm not telling you what happens with Olivia, but I will say that she  changes and grows a lot. As she changes, so do the people around her.

Olivia will make you think and ponder. It will make you cry and search your own feelings. If you are looking for a heartfelt book, with real-life characters, that tell an enlightening story, then Olivia is for you.

I was thrilled that Julie Wright was willing to be interviewed. Enjoy what she had to share with all of you. 

1.How did the four of you, writing The Newport Ladies Book Club, decide which characters story you would write?
We actually almost knew from the very first meeting when Josi and I met Heather and Annette for breakfast to pitch the idea of writing together. Right there at the table we each came up with the character and character struggle we wanted to deal with. A few things changed but nothing major. it was a lot of fun and a great honor to work with women I love so much.

2.What process did you go through to write the character Olivia? I'm sure that it was an emotional thing.
Olivia was very hard for me because I have a pretty open relationship with my husband. Not that I'm saying every day is rosy and perfect, but that every day--even the bad ones--he is there for me. So to write a character who feels she can't communicate with her husband was extremely difficult. And there were days when I went to bed mad at my own husband because of something my fictional character did in the book. Mr Wright finally said, "Look! You cannot hold me accountable for the things your crazy characters do!" But I felt like I understood Olivia's plight. I've talked to so many women who live in silent bubbles where they can't communicate with their spouses for one reason or another. I told one such woman that she should just talk to her husband. She looked horrified that I'd suggested such a thing and shook her head immediately telling me I just didn't understand because that wasn't the life I lived. it made me really stop and think. What if that was a life in which I lived? What if I decided to break the silence one day with the words inside in my head? What would happen? That was when I knew that Olivia had to TALK. She had to at least try to communicate with her husband and let the consequences be whatever they were. That was a real changing point for me in the story.

3.How did you grow as a writer working on this novel?

This was the first genuinely adult book I've written. All my other books are shelved in the YA section of the bookstores. This one is firmly meant for adult women. It was nice to know I could communicate to grown ups too. It also gave me insight into understanding that not all bad guys are bad. Nick wasn't all bad. And not all good guys are good. Olivia had her moments of being downright awful. Their characters made me grow because of their beautiful complexities.

4.What did you "learn" from Olivia? What did you hope the reader learned or went away with after reading Olivia? 

What I learned and what I hope others walk away with is the need to be more connected to other women in the world. To be kinder to the people you meet, even just in passing, to not judge, to feel real compassion. The other ladies in the book club never really know Olivia's plight. They never know her marriage is crumbling or that she is dying a little more every day. And even without knowing, their very presence sustains Olivia through some major trials--all while they had no idea.
None of us know what our one word of encouragement or kindness might mean to another.

5.What character will you be writing next in the series? 

 I am writing Victoria (Tori) who works in the film industry. The tone of this next book for me will be much lighter and has a far more romantic feel to it. One thing I love about the series is that each book has its own tone and voice--a voice that completely personifies the character the story is about.

6.You did amazing work with Olivia. What do you hope to accomplish next as a writer?  
Wow. What do I hope next? It wouldn't hurt my feelings any to win a Newbery...:)
Thank you so much Julie for the interview!

Links you may be interested in:




About Julie:

Julie Wright (1972-still breathing) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. She’s lived in LA, Boston, and the literal middle of nowhere (don’t ask). She wrote her first book when she was fifteen and actually got the thing published. Thirteen novels later, she thinks she’s finally getting the hang of this writing gig.

She currently has eight published novels:
  • Olivia
  • Hazzardous Universe: The Magician’s Last Words
  • Hazzardous Universe
  • Cross My Heart (2010 Whitney Award winner for Best Romance)
  • Eyes Like Mine (2009 Whitney Award Nominee)
  • My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life
  • Loved Like That
  • To Catch a Falling Star
She has one husband, three kids, one dog, and a varying amount of fish (depending on attrition).
She loves writing, reading, traveling, hiking, playing with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner.
She used to speak fluent Swedish, but now speaks only well enough to cuss out her children in public.
She hates mayonnaise, but has a healthy respect for ice cream.

**I was given a review copy of Olivia. In no way did this influence the honest review that was given.**

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  1. Sounds like a great read. I'm adding it to my TBR/Wishlist. Thanks for your review.

    Ashley @ Dr. Pepper Diva

  2. I also hope you win a Newbery someday, Julie!


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