Did you make #timetoread during Saturday’s first annual National Readathon Day? I did. I read a bit of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch (Harper Perennial). I also read a bit of Stranded by Jeff Probst, host of the television series Survivor (Puffin Books/Penguin) with my son. A great day, indeed. (Hover over that #timetoread hashtag to see event-related happening on Twitter.)
Not realizing it until now, I suppose it’s been a Penguin weekend for me. I participated in their sponsored event (the Readathon) and read a book (Stranded) by one of their imprints, Puffin Books. Today, I’m reviewing a title from their NAL imprint, House Broken by Sonja Yoerg.
Why the Penguin-dense weekend? I dunno. Maybe because Tuesday was a day to celebrate actual penguins and I got carried away. They’re such cute little animals. Round bellies, tuxedos, the way they wobble. Love penguins? More about Penguin Awareness Day held every year on January 20th.
Today, I’m thrilled to bring you House Broken by Sonja Yoerg, a début novel I received as an advance reader copy (ARC) from NAL Accent, an imprint of New American Library, and a division of Penguin Group.
The day the ARC arrived, I shared the cover with my English Labrador, Chloe. That’s Chloe in the photo that opens this post. She didn’t exactly cooperate when I tried taking her picture. Chloe’s photo bloopers are at the bottom of this post below the Rafflecopter giveaway.
In this compelling and poignant début novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…
For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.
Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.
Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.
Sonja Yoerg’s Book Signing at Fountain Bookstore:
I enjoyed this début novel so much, when I heard the author was signing books at my local indie bookstore, Fountain Books, I stopped in to say hello. Great news! I picked up two signed copies of House Broken during my visit. (I never step foot inside an indie bookstore without buying something.) I’m giving away one of those books as part of this post (Rafflecopter entry below), and another this Wednesday during my monthly Hump Day Blog Hop.
Buy House Broken by Sonja Yoerg from any bookstore or online retailer or (an even better idea!) the same indie bookstore I purchased my copies from: Fountain Bookstore.
My review of House Broken by Sonja Yoerg:
Loved it. Told in third-person from the viewpoint of three characters, this multi-generational story will captivate readers of all ages, but especially those of the baby boom generation tasked with caring for a parent while still raising children at home. Each chapter is dedicated to one woman from each generation giving readers insight into each character’s backstory, fears, and motivations as the story unfolds.
Helen, Geneva’s alcoholic mother, is a difficult woman with an interesting and tragic marriage to a man named Eustace. It’s Helen’s vodka-fueled car accident that opens the novel and incites the action as main character, Geneva, takes Helen into her care as Helen recovers. With a relationship that has been strained for many years, Geneva holds Helen at a distance while discovering much (including her own form of forgiveness) during Helen’s time in her home. Ella, Geneva’s 16-year-old daughter, plays a minor role to Helen and Geneva’s story until a turn of events after a school event that propels all the characters in the novel into unchartered waters.
A vast, powerful story with characters who are both tragic and flawed but who find their own personal resolutions in the aftermath of devastating events. Play close attention to the dogs in the story. The author is well-versed in animal behavior (take a peek at her bio) and writes wonderful, fully drawn dogs that hold clues to the story and characters worth discovering.
Really looking forward to the second book by this author – due out this fall. I sure hope she returns to Fountain Bookstore for another book signing.
About Sonja Yoerg:
Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and studied learning in blue jays, kangaroo rats and spotted hyenas, among other species. Her non-fiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA) was published in 2001.
While her two daughters were young, Sonja taught fine arts, computer skills and science in their schools in California. Now that they are in college, she writes full-time.
She currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband. Together they run, garden, remodel houses, cook, eat, drink wine, then run some more.
HOUSE BROKEN is her first novel.
My dog Chloe – NOT cooperating during the photo shoot: