Souvenir by Therese Fowler was one of those books that I just lost myself in and enjoyed a great deal. I think it just may be one of my favorites this year. This book is emotional and heart wrenching and yet so good. It makes us think about where the decisions in life take us and how our lives may have been different had we taken the other road. I found myself so engrossed in this story that I felt the characters pain and sadness and was angry when they did something stupid. A book that evokes such strong emotion is always a good one for me.
Meg Powell comes from a poor family. Her father is one of those who loves to try new things with usually not much success. Consequently his family suffers. Meg though has Carson Mckay; they have been together and in love for as long as anyone remembers. They’re planning on a life together with a farm, horses and a family. However Meg learns something about her family and this sets in motion a string of events that leave her life and Carson’s anything but what they had planned for. Meg gives up everything – her happiness and her future with Carson – for a secure future for her parents and sisters. She marries Brian.
Meg meets Brian Hamilton while working in the bank. He’s the boss and he has an eye for Meg. Of course he tries all the normal routes to get her to go out with him but she’s loyal to Carson but then Brian manages to hit on the one thing that will get her to change her mind. Once they’re married she certainly doesn’t have a bad life. She becomes a doctor and has a daughter Savannah and they are definitely not hurting for money in any way. She has even grown to care for Brian as he’s not a really bad guy – the one thing she doesn’t have though is the passion and love that she had once shared with Carson who has gone on to be a famous rock star.
Meg and Brian are always busy leaving their sixteen year old daughter Savannah to fend for herself the majority of the time. Lucky for them she seems to be a smart and level headed kid. The one thing they didn’t count on though was her need to feel cared for and her need for the attention that she is longing for. She manages to get herself into quite a lot of trouble that had me just wishing I was there to bop her ears. For a smart girl she wasn’t thinking at all.
Meg then is hit with the most devastating news of her life. In the past few weeks she’s noticed that she’s had problems with her arm and now her leg is starting. She’s unable to complete a surgery and knows she must investigate. It’s the worst news – she has Lou Gehrig’s Disease which essentially means she won’t be around to see her daughter grow up.
Meg’s disease seems to be progressing more quickly than it does in some others and she knows she doesn’t have a lot of time left before she will be unable to function. Like others I imagine with not a lot of time left she thinks back to the things she wished she had taken more time with – like her daughter and herself. She thinks back to what might have been with Carson and they end up re-connecting. Their love never died – it was still there all those years later and it was just what Meg needed.
This book is full of characters you will come to care about. Meg is a great character and my heart hurt for her. I had great respect for how she handled her disease and the decisions that she ultimately makes for herself. Even her daughter Savannah who took the wrong path for a while and her husband Brian who was a jerk really for the pressure he put on Meg were likable. Then Carson you can’t help but like. He had a life and was planning for a future and yet when Meg needed him, he dropped everything to be there for her.
Souvenir is well worth reading. I will admit to shedding more than a few tears. I finished this book well over a week ago and these characters are still on my mind and in my heart. Therese Fowler has a beautiful way with words and storytelling and I certainly look forward to reading her other novel Reunion next.
My thanks…to myself. I bought this book.
I hadn't heard of this book before your review. I sounds very emotional, and I'll keep it in mind for when I need a good cry.
Linda Jacobs says
My, goodness, you certainly have a way of making books sound good! After reading your excellently-written review, I want to turn my Kindle on and download it!
Hope you and Buddy are doing okay!
Summer vacation startes today for me…Aaahhhhh!
This looks just like the kind of book I would read. And, I love the cover!
Thanks for the review Dar.
I really like those books that grab your emotions. Sounds like another good one from Fowler. I read Reunion and really liked it.
Fantastic review. This just went on my tbr list. Sounds like it would be a great summer read. I so enjoy books that you feel connected to the characters.
Wonderful review, Dar! It sounds like this one is a serious tear-jerker. Sometimes that is just what I'm looking for, so I will definitely be trying this one. It would probably be a really great read for me, so thanks for sharing this review!!
Dar — I am so sorry that I have to disagree with you! =) I read this awhile back for book club and could barely finish it. I just felt that it was over the top like a bad Lifetime movie and it was way too long. I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea.
Sandy Nawrot says
Wow, sounds like a real emotional read. Which works with me in the right mood. While you were describing the book, I kept thinking of "The Post-Birthday World" where we actually DO see what would have happened if another critical choice was made.
No, no it sounds too sad and depressing 🙁 I mean sounds like a great book but too sad for me
I enjoyed this book as well. I did think it was over the top and very emotional but I was lucky enough to be in a book club that the author participated in and it was so interesting to hear here reasons for everything. I look forward to reading more of her books.
This book sounds like a good one… pretty emotional though… I already have a couple of heavy books to-be-read.. so guess I will request this one from the library once I am done with my current pile…. 🙂
Hi Darlene: Google Alerts found your review for me, so I thought I'd stop in to say thanks so much for this! I appreciate it very much.
And thanks to everyone who has weighed in here–even those one or two who felt the book was "over the top." Readers' tastes vary (my own included) and no book is right for everyone. Thank you for giving my book a chance.
For those who'd like to give it a read, let me just mention that right now you can buy the hardcover via Barnes & Noble.com for under $5! The paperback, at $12, includes an author Q&A and book club discussion questions.
(And feel free to get in touch with me via my website or FB with comments or for a free signed bookplate.)
Best wishes to all of you–
It sounds very sad and emotional. I am in a place at the moment,where I don't think this book would be good for me, but I am really glad to hear it is one of your favourite books this year.
Therese, thanks for stopping by -loved the book and can't wait to read Reunion.
Thanks everyone else for stopping by with your comments – it is an emotional book and for some people that's great and others don't like it so much. For me, I love an emotional read like this – they always end up being some of my favorite books. Maybe I'm one of those over the top kind of people- lol.
Jess, I read this for a book club read and some have said that it wasn't their cup of tea either. We all have different tastes and perceive a book differently. That's what I love about the book blogs – seeing how a book I loved or didn't love rates with others.
Linda, have a great summer vacation! You deserve it!
This sounds like a compelling story — I love character driven novels.
Jenny Girl says
I'm tearing up from your review. Sounds like a great read, but something I need to be in the right frame of mind for. Thanks Darlene.
So this is one that you bought for yourself?? I'm glad that you loved it so much. I enjoy getting emotional so this one will be a must-read for sure!
Books like this break my heart!
Wow, this book sounds very good. Meg is an amazing woman and I want to read this book just because of her. To sacrifice your life for your family's security takes a lot of strength and love. Nobody deserves to get a disease like Lou Gehrig's disease but Meg, of all people it seems, should at least have the chance to live a life free of any other struggles. I wonder what it's like to spend your life married to someone you don't love and then to be forced to be dependant on them.
Thank you for a wonderful review, Dar. I am definitely going to read this book.
Wow.. Dar.. it sounds so very very emotional. Must be really well done to get such a good mark from you. I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for your review. xo
Alice Teh says
I cry easily and I have a feeling I'd do the same if I read this. I want to. Thanks for the review, Dar!
You know a book is good when the characters continue knocking around in your head weeks later. Glad to hear how much you enjoyed this one, Dar!
The Reading Cove says
Great review of SOUVENIR, Dar!