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1967, East Grinstead, England
Juggling her large battered suitcase and her portfolio over her back, Julie trudged up the gravel driveway to the huge manor house. Her feet were terribly unhappy with the long trip from the bus stop, and the portfolio kept catching the wind, threatening to make her into a kite’s tail with each gust.
Saint Hill Manor was palatial. Perhaps it was indeed a palace.
She could count at least twenty windows in the façade. How many rooms did it have? Certainly there were dozens of people shuffling in and out of the place. It was like a beehive of activity.
“You! Girl! Have you checked in yet?” A gruff voice with a London accent called out above the din.
Julie turned around to find an older man with a fringe of white hair around his head pointing a clipboard at her.
“I… no, I don’t know where—“
“Over here, quickly now. What’s your name?” He started flipping through the pages, looking up at her when she didn’t immediately supply him with information.
“Jensen. Julie Jensen. From Detroit.” She put down her suitcase and portfolio while he searched for her name. The wind picked up, tossing her thick chestnut-brown curls into her face. With disgust, she pulled them back out of her eyes and repaired the ponytail loosened by travel.
She looked again at the grand house. Would she be in one of the upper rooms? Perhaps with a view across the extensive gardens? She smiled at the idea of waking up to such a view each morning.
“Aha! Found you. You’re down in Hayward’s Heath. Just a half mile down the path there. It used to be servant’s quarters. You’re in Unit C. Next!” He dismissed her and looked to an Indian woman in a bright blue sari.
GENRE: Women’s Fiction/Romance
Christy Nicholas will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Based on a true story.
In 1967, Julie was searching for adventure. What she found was herself, alone and pregnant, in a foreign country.
In 1985, Kristen was searching for her father. But did he want to be found?
Follow these two young women in a tale of a 30 year search for true love.
5 ***** Real stories make for awesome books
Better to have Loved was my introduction to Christy Nicholas’s writing and I couldn’t have asked for a better one. She uses multiple POVs to tell her story, which is always a favorite of mine. Her development of the story and characters is excellent as well. I enjoy nonlinear narratives so I didn’t mind going back and forth between Julie’s and Kirsten’s stories even though they span thirty years.
This is one of those books that stick with you after you finish reading it. I consider that an excellent quality in any book, by the way. I guess you keep thinking about Julie’s and Kirsten’s because they deal with things we all have experienced or still do. Better to Have Loved is about love, relationships, family, but above all about looking for that missing part that makes us whole. I’m dead set against spoilers, so I won’t say much more than what you can read in the blurb: Kirsten goes looking for her job. However, I can give you a riddle. The consequences of her quest reminded me of something that happens in the movie Letter to Juliet but I won’t say no more. LOL
Finally, I’m a sucker for true stories so finding out that the book is based on Christy’s and her mom’s journeys made it even more special to me.
I highly recommend it.
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$15 Amazon/BN GC
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon, has her hands in many crafts, including writing, digital art, beaded jewelry, writing, and photography. In real life, she’s a CPA, but having grown up with art all around her (her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected her, as it were. She loves to draw and to create things. She says it’s more of an obsession than a hobby. She likes looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or seeing a fragrant blossom or a dramatic seaside. She takes a picture or creates a piece of jewelry as her way of sharing this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus she writes. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. She does local art and craft shows, as well as sending her art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.