Book Review: "Leaving November" by Deborah Raney
Please forgive me if I act a little strange
Vienne Kenney has returned home after flunking the bar exam twice. Jack Linder has returned home also after completing a session in rehab. The two have plans to start anew in their hometown. Vienne is opening up a fancy coffee house while Jack paves the way for a new art gallery. Both of them face the trials of running a new business in a town and find themselves migrating towards the other for company. A relationship begins to grow until Vienne finds out about Jack's past. She has wounds that run deep involving alcoholism and and the relationship begins to fray. It takes a true act of forgiveness before all can be well again.
Clayburn is a town I would like to visit. I could see myself visiting both the art gallery and the Latte-dah. In fact I would probably be a regular visitor at Vienne's coffee house since I love frequenting places like that. It sounds like a great place to hang out with a book and a cup of mocha. I understood her frustration at Pete's gang disrupting the ambiance of her place with their manure covered shoes and loud talking. It's tough to start business with customers insisting on doing things their way and not yours. Both Vienne and Jack had secrets in their life they didn't want to share. This was probably not the best way to start a friendship because it kept leading to awkward moments between the two of them. This story shows the effects of what alcoholism does to not only the person who drinks but to other members of the family. Vienne's reluctance to get close to Jack is not at all surprising due to everything she went through with her father. It was interesting to see a recovering alcoholic's struggle with addiction and how prayer was the main thing that Jack could rely on. It was also painful to hear all the gossip that was being spread about Jack. It's sad that people will spread lies without knowing the whole story and then make false assumptions about others. I also felt touched by her relationship with her mother. It's not easy to have a stroke victim in the family and it can be very trying just to communicate with them. Vienne showed wonderful patience and kindness toward her mother. It's refreshing to read about situations like this instead of hearing about adult children who just leave their parents in the care of others.
The story is not overly preachy but instead shows the power of forgiveness and the struggles that addiction causes. It's a really touching story that everyone should read. If this is your first Deborah Raney book, it will make you become a fan. Highly recommend.
Leaving November by Deborah Raney is published by Howard Books (2008)