Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Finding Bliss by Dina Silver

Chloe Carlyle has always longed for the perfect family.

Growing up with an alcoholic single mother, she has seen her share of heartbreak and disappointment, and is striving to build a new legacy for herself. After graduating from college, she takes a job working as a summer girl for the Reeds––a wealthy, accomplished family that personifies her American dream. Her summer takes an unexpected turn when the Reeds’ eldest son Tyler, the star quarterback for Notre Dame, shows up and turns her life upside down.

An ambitious young woman with a wry sense of humor, Chloe never imagined herself as the type to succumb to the looks and charms of the hometown hero, but she falls hard for Tyler, and is devastated when they part ways at the end of the summer. As she heads off to law school, Chloe tries to convince herself this was just a fling, but she can’t quite get over him. It’s not until Tyler contacts her out of the blue late one winter night that everything changes.

After doing everything in her power to build the perfect life, Chloe soon learns that there are things beyond her control. She must draw on inner reserves of strength as her life takes unpredictable—and sometimes heartbreaking—twists and turns, and she finds herself faced with decisions she never thought she’d have to make. Poignant, heartfelt, and emotional, Finding Bliss is a reminder that you don’t have to live a fairytale life in order to have a happy ending

 Finding Bliss? Not in this book. I really wanted to like this book. It started so promising, and I had heard such great things about this author. I wanted to like it so badly, that I even took a day and went back to reread certain parts of the book. Unfortunately, the missed marks were still there. The sad part is that the story could have been a home run. The settings were great, the main character is so witty and funny, the charming best friend, and the love interest is pretty hot.

I can handle just about any sad situation that you throw at me, but I have to have an epiphany, a lesson learned, and character growth to make the pain I go through to be worth it. If not, then why put myself through the agony and heartache? When I felt like the main character was getting to a realization, she was right there and so incredibly close. I was left waiting and then, nothing. She moved onto the next subject. At a crucial point in the book, I really felt it needed a little introspection and the main character to own her part in the problem. Instead, I felt that she played victim when the signs were there all along.

I just expected a little more bliss, but what it felt like was complacency. Geez, life sucks, now I better move on. Which is great attitude after the character says to herself, “How did I get here? What did I do end up in this situation? What did I miss that I won't next time? Without this, I am left wondering will history be repeated? How will she be happy, like the epilogue implies, when I don't think the main character has really pondered these questions. It's sad that I feel like the character's mindset actually diminished as the story went on. The main character starts off as a fun loving, carefree babysitter, but ends up bitter, disillusioned thirty year old.

I will try my best to avoid spoilers, so I will stay away from the storyline as much as I can, but I will say this is a sad one. The ending, while hopeful, doesn't show you a lot of happiness, but it is implied that she is on the road to bliss. I just feel that to drag the reader through this pain, that they deserve to experience more happy scenes toward the end of the book.

I can honestly say that Dina Silver is a well skilled writer, and made me laugh many times while reading this book. Her comedic timing and wit are on point. No doubt that the scenes portrayed in this book are extremely realistic and accurate. The sad reality is that when faced with someone who has disappointed you terribly, and you are looking for an apology or an explanation, they rarely are able to give you what you want or what you think you need. The different locations were interesting and inspired. By the end of chapter two, I had made up my mind that I was spending the Fourth of July at a lake this year. I immersed myself into this story, and stayed up until 2am to finish it.

So I was quite taken with the story, and you are probably wondering why my review is leaning toward the unfavorable. When I rate a book, I take into account the writing's merit, in this case it is high. My rating also reflects how I feel about the story and resolution when finished. Even if I have been dragged to hell and back, I expect the story to have a solid resolution in the end. After ten years of a story, I expect a coming of age ending.  Unfortunately I just didn't feel this. I would be hesitant to recommend this book to my friends. I just wouldn't want a friend to feel as wrecked by this story as I was. I'm afraid they might walk into my kitchen and punch me in the face (sorry, story reference) and say, "Thanks for that!" 

So, poignant, heartfelt, and emotional? Absolutely. I think that as a reader you should be ready for this when you read Finding Bliss. I wish that I would have paid more attention to those three words in the blurb, than taking the title of the book at face value. I will most likely try another title from this author. I really liked her writing style, just disagreed with characters' emotional development, or lack thereof, and the turn that the story took in the last third of the book. So for me, this book just didn't work as a whole. I am hoping that it was just this book, because I know so many people adored One Pink Line, which I have not read yet. So here's to hoping that I find bliss in Dina Silver's next book.


Maria D. said...

Thanks for the honest review - it does sound like a promising book at least from the start

Anonymous said...

Thank you Maria. It started off great, but it's kind of like in gymnastics, you have to stick the landing. If you read this one, I'd love to hear your thoughts :)


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