Monday, October 5, 2020

"A Borrowed Life"

Kerry Anne King is the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of Closer Home, I Wish You Happy, Whisper Me This, and Everything You Are. Licensed as both an RN and a mental-health counselor, she draws on her experience working in the medical and mental-health fields to explore themes of loss, grief, and transformation—but always with a dose of hope and humor. King lives in a little house in the big woods of the Inland Northwest. She also writes fantasy and mystery novels as Kerry Schafer.

King applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, A Borrowed Life, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Drink lots of water, and let’s get some food into you.” He reaches for the chips and sets them in front of me. Pours more water into my glass.

I watch his hands, entranced by the way he serves me as if it’s the most natural thing in the world, not as if he’s making some sort of tit-for-tat point he’ll expect me to pay for later.

“What does your husband think of you getting into this whole drama thing?” he asks. “I mean really. I’m asking Liz, not Lacey.”

I drop my eyes and twist the ring on my finger, imagining Thomas’s scathing reaction to my behavior.

“He died. Awhile back.” I try to make it sound like it’s been years, not just a few months. I don’t want to see Lance’s eyes and face close into sympathy as he locks me up in the widow box.

“Divorce, for me,” he says.

I try to read his face, assessing the damage, unsure why we are talking about our no-longer-here spouses.

“Hey, you two lovebirds.” Bernie’s voice cuts through the chatter. “Are you having your own personal conference over there?”

“Jealous?” Lance asks, fully Darcy again, claiming my hand in his own.

The warmth of him, the sensation of it being the two of us, together, a partnership of some kind, fills and feeds me more than the giant plate of food that arrives a few minutes later.
In this scene, Liz is out for dinner and drinks with the members of a community theater production she’s just gotten involved in. I’d give page 69 a five on a scale of one to ten as far as how representative it is of A Borrowed Life. This page beautifully captures the sense of my main character, Liz, balancing at a cross-roads between her old life and her new. It introduces her relationship with Lance, her love interest in the book. But it could mislead a reader into thinking they were reading a romance, which this is not. A Borrowed Life is the story of a repressed woman who has lived for thirty years under the thumb of a rigidly fundamentalist pastor who believes that women were created to serve the needs of men. Liz sets out to create a whole new life for herself, and finding new love is only one part of that adventure. One of my readers summarized the theme of the book better than I can, so I’ll quote her here:

“There's mother-daughter drama, there's comedy, there's female bonding, there's romance and more but what I loved most is that this isn't the story of Liz finding love again, at least not with a man. It's about Liz finding a way to build a life she loves so that she can come to love herself.” ~Reading Is My Cardio Book Club
Visit Kerry Anne King's website.

--Marshal Zeringue