Today it is my pleasure to serve as Judith Ryan Hendricks’ hostess on her The Laws of Harmony blog tour organized by TLC Book Tours. What a great way to kick off the week! Since I had already received a copy of this novel from Audrey at HarperCollins (thank you!), I get to offer my book tour copy to one of my readers. Please see information on her entire tour and the giveaway at the end of this post.
For more information on TLC Book Tours, their authors and all of their tour dates, please click here.
Sunny Cooper grew up on a hippie commune in New Mexico with her parents she calls by name, Rob and Gwen, her older brother Hart, her younger sister Mari, and all types of other people interested in living a communal lifestyle or at least partaking in its sexual and drug-related freedoms. Although she left the Armonia compound after graduating from high school, is now in her early 30s, and is a successful radio voice over talent, Sunny never seems to be able to escape the impact of her childhood, especially her relationship with her mother and the loss of her sister Mari. She finds herself unable to commit to marriage with Michael and hopes that living together will keep him satisfied. When he is pronounced dead after a tragic traffic accident, Sunny no longer has even a loose grip on her life. Impulsively, she sells everything she owns and travels as far away from Albequerque as she can get. She ends up on San Miguel Island in a small town called Harmony. She finds that even on an island surrounded by strangers that she can never fully escape her past. She has to learn to forgive and to acknowledge all that made her the person she is.
It was great to read a novel about a woman my age. Just because a woman is in her 30s doesn’t mean that she’s got her life together. Sometimes it feels far from it. Sunny and I had dramatically different childhoods, but I related to her as if she were my my sister. The scene at her maternal grandparent’s house as a child hit me both as a young girl and as a mother. Gwen grew up in a well-to-do family in California. When she left home, she turned her back on her family’s lifestyle. What drove her away appealed to Sunny and her grandmother saw to it that she got what she wanted. As they were leaving to return to the commune, Sunny begged her grandmother to let her stay where there was access to new clothes and indoor plumbing. I could feel Sunny’s anxiety over leaving a more normal life to return to New Mexico. I could equally feel Gwen’s pain as Sunny opening showed her partiality to the life she could no longer condone. It is interesting how each generation feels they know better how to raise children only to discover that their children do not agree.
This is the first novel I’ve read by Judith Ryan Hendricks. If her fourth novel is any indication of Hendrick’s talent, she is an author to watch. The Laws of Harmony is full of interesting twists, so it’s difficult to discuss the novel more in depth without giving anything away. It addresses relationships without being cliched or heavy handed. The fact that not all of Sunny’s issues and relationships ended neatly or with a dramatic reconciliation made this novel so much more realistic than most. What she discovers instead is that the strength and fortitude needed to move on with your life is there if you are only honest with yourself. It would make for an active and interesting book club discussion.
I cannot say enough about The Laws of Harmony. Although there were a few sections that slowed the story down for me, I did not regret a single moment I spent with Sunny. There is so much depth to her character and in her story. I enjoyed being surprised when several twists – including the ending – turned out much differently than I had suspected. If you ever dreamed of running away from your cares, you can relate to this novel. You might even find yourself thinking through similar issues in your own life. It’s always a rewarding reading experience to be invited to learn more about yourself through the telling of a story.
My stop is just the beginning for Judi and I am interested in hearing what everyone else thought! Check out her remaining stops this month:
Tuesday, May 5th: B & B Ex Libris
Wednesday, May 6th: Books and Cooks
Thursday, May 7th: Baking and Books
Monday, May 11th: Book Addiction
Tuesday, May 12th: Prudence Pennywise
Thursday, May 14th: Farmgirl Fare
Monday, May 18th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, May 20: Baking Delights
Thursday, May 28th: Stephanie’s Written Word
Friday, May 29th: Caribou’s Mom
I have one copy of The Laws of Harmony to give away. To be eligible to win, leave a comment telling me about a book you’ve read that has made you pause and consider your own life. This contest is open until Saturday, May 30th at 11:59 EST. The winner will be announced on Sunday, May 31st.
Tell others about this giveaway on your blog, through email, or through Twitter for an extra entry each. Leave a comment for at least 7 of Judi’s other hostesses (listed above) on their tour date and you’ll get five additional entries.
To ensure that you get you additional entries, please be sure to notify me here in the comments or through email.
Good luck! While you’re waiting to see if you’re the winner, why not check out the book trailer for The Laws of Harmony?
To buy this novel, click here.