Friday, September 6, 2013

Book Review: And Then I Found You by Patti Callahan Henry

I read Patti Callahan Henry's last novel a couple of years ago, and raved about it here on the blog. I simply loved it. I was thrilled when the SheReads Book Club announced in the spring that Henry's newest novel would be their April 2013 pick. I read the novel then (devoured it, much as I had the previous book of hers), but never got around to writing a post. Life got in the way, but that doesn't mean I can't still tell you about it!

And Then I Found You tells the story of Kate Vaughan, a 30-something woman who in many ways has it all together -- a supportive boyfriend, a successful clothing boutique, family and friends surrounding her. However, Kate has a few secrets in her closet, as most of us do. When she finds a ring at Rowan's house, her past comes crashing back around her. She can't commit to him until she's resolved some unfinished business.

She travels down south and down memory lane, all in one fell swoop. The choices she must make are forced when circumstances and fate take some decisions out of her hands. The result is life-altering for Kate.

I know you're thinking that plot summary tells you a big bunch of nothing -- and you're right! I purposely left out even things the Amazon or author's website summaries would tell you. I am usually of the mindset that I want to know just enough about a book, but never too much. My husband can attest to the fact that I get very angry when plots of any kind (television show, movie, or book) are spoiled. In this case, less is more. All you need to know is that Kate has secrets, those secrets (as most secrets do) have a way of coming to light, and the result is terrifying yet exhilarating all at the same time.

Henry felt compelled to write this book after her sister experienced a real-life version of the tale. Again, I won't give away any more details, but suffice it to say you will enjoy knowing that background information at the close of the novel. Henry writes characters that could be someone you know; they are that familiar. In this case, the character of Kate feels thoroughly genuine, which might just be because her story is (in some ways) Henry's sister's story. Henry wrote a short e-book version of the real story, called Friend Request, which is available from Amazon and other e-book retailers. (I haven't read it yet, but I think I may have to now that I am mentioning it to you!)

Henry is a southern author through and through; Coming Up for Air was set in Atlanta and on the Alabama Gulf coast. And Then I Found You is also firmly grounded in the south. Kate lives in South Carolina, and visits Birmingham. Although brief parts of the novel are set in the the Southwest and Northeast, the South is the true setting. Most of the novels I love the most have "the South" as a character -- that is, not a literal one but a metaphorical one, in which the setting is so rich that it becomes as important as any character is. Henry does that well in her novels, and And Then I Found You is no exception.

For more information about Patti Callahan Henry and her novels, visit her website. In addition to Coming Up for Air and And Then I Found You, Henry has written eight other books. If you'd like to read more reviews of And Then I Found You, visit the SheReads Book Club April selection page, where you will find thoughtful discussions of this title.

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