Summary: Sunny Cooper has been running since she was eighteen—from the New Mexican commune where she grew up . . . and from the haunting memory of the freak accident that took the life of her younger sister. Now, at thirty-two, Sunny voices radio spots in Albuquerque while struggling to hold on to a floundering relationship. But when a second tragic accident—and the devastating truths that come to light in its aftermath—turns her world upside down, Sunny runs again.
In the town of Harmony on San Miguel Island, she takes a new job, learns to ride a motorcycle, and makes some surprising new friends. But the past is never far behind. A startling discovery—along with an emotional and revelatory reunion with her estranged mother—is forcing Sunny to step out from the shadows of yesterday to embrace an uncertain future. -- Harper
THE LAWS OF HARMONY by Judith Ryan Hendricks was a fantastic book. I think it was exactly what I needed to read at this point in my life. I always am drawn to books about mother-daughter relationships and this one definitely fit that bill! From the first few pages, I was drawn into Sunny's life and couldn't put this book down.
THE LAWS OF HARMONY was very fast-paced, and I really liked how the story unraveled. Sunny was a fascinating character to me, probably in part because we couldn't have been more different. As I read, I was very anxious to learn about the commune she grew up on as well as her family and their secrets. Even though I didn't always agree with Sonny and her decisions, I found myself rooting for her throughout the story. I enjoyed watching her character mature -- the book was almost a coming-of-age novel to me; and I liked the woman she eventually became.
One thing I found special about this novel was that it also had quite a few surprises thrown in. The story begins with Sunny's fiance getting killed in an automobile accident. After the accident, she learns that their relationship wasn't what it seemed and neither was her fiance. Throughout the story, she learns more and more about his life and his secrets and really begins to doubt their relationship. Towards the end of the novel, she finally discovers the truth and gets many of her questions answered. I found these twists and turns to be extremely entertaining.
THE LAWS OF HARMONY is the first novel that I've read by Judith Ryan Hendricks; however, I wouldn't hesitate to read more of her books. I loved her writing style and her character development, especially as they pertained to the mother-daughter dynamics. I also appreciated how the author used food in different ways throughout this novel. Food was very important and it often times conveyed the mood of the story. Other times, it provided comfort to the characters and it even triggered memories. The only regret I have is that the ARC of the book didn't include some of the delicious recipes. If you are interested in learning more about Ms. Hendricks and THE LAWS OF HARMONY, you can read an interview with her that will give you some extra information about the novel.
THE LAWS OF HARMONY would make an excellent book to discuss at a future book club meeting. There are so many wonderful themes to explore such as loss of loved ones, mother-daughter relationships, friendships, secrets, and discovering one's self. There is a reader's guide available to jump-start your discussion, but I think everyone will have plenty to talk about beyond these questions. You can also get a sneak preview of 20% of the book's content here.
Check out the book trailer for the book. I think it does a wonderful job of giving you "the feel" of the novel!
I also found this interview clip with the author, Judith Ryan Hendricks. She is so interesting, and I can't wait to hear more from her on Book Club Girl's BlogTalk Radio show on March 10th at 6:00 p.m. I found the book very easy to read; however, it is a little on the long side (+ 450 pages) so you might want to get started so you're finished by the date of the show. I happen to love participating in these shows because I always learn something new about the book or see things a little differently. Without a doubt, my reading experience is enhanced because of these conversations with the authors.
THE LAWS OF HARMONY is available tomorrow, February 10th. Does this sound like a book that you'd like to read? I have up to five copies to share with some lucky readers. I will giveaway one copy for every 15 entries. Here are the specifics: for one entry, leave a comment with your e-mail address. For a second entry, blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post. If you would like another entry, mention this giveaway (with a link) on Twitter. The contest will be open until Friday, February 20th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will announce the winners the following day. This contest is only open to those of you with U.S. mailing addresses. Good Luck!
A special thanks goes out to Nicole from Harper Collins for providing the books for this giveaway.