Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication date: August 25, 2015
Source: Author/Publisher for an honest review
Katherine Lamontagne isn't Celeste Barnes's mother, but ever since Celeste graduated high school and her parents abandoned Hidden Harbor, Maine, she's acted the part. At twenty-two, Celeste worked at Katherine’s bakery, and hoped to buy the business once Katherine took early retirement. But when Katherine reconsidered that decision, Celeste fled to culinary school in New York—only to return two months later, a shadow of the girl who’d stormed out the door.Katherine knows the signs of secret heartbreak. Years ago, she gave up her baby son for adoption—a regret she’s never shared with either her ex-husband or Celeste. She longs for Celeste to confide in her now. But it will be a stranger in town—an engaging young wanderer named Zach Fitzgerald—who spurs them toward healing. As both women are drawn into Zach’s questioning heart, they also rediscover their own appetites for truth and for love—and gain the courage to face the past without being imprisoned by it.
Uplifting, emotionally rich, and deeply satisfying, A Measure of Happiness illuminates the nature of friendship, motherhood, hope—and the gifts of second chances.
As with each of the books by Lorrie Thomson, A Measure of Happiness took my breath away and wrenched at my heart strings.
In A Measure of Happiness, the reader gets a closer examination of the lives of some of the more peripheral characters that appear in What's Left Behind - especially that of Celeste - Abby's best friend. For me it was a little bitter-sweet to get glimpses of a young Luke, knowing what happens later. But still, this was such a good book. And both books are standalone and while the appreciation is greater having read the other one, both can be completely enjoyed on their own.
Katherine is both Celeste's boss and a mother figure for her and their relationship shows this is the case for both of them --- they love each other but there is conflict there as well. Celeste wants to prove herself as worthy to take over the bakery and Katherine is hanging on to it -- for some complicated and mostly unspoken reasons. Both women have some things to work through and this is where one of the strengths of Thomson's writing shines. Thomson brings out the humanity of these characters -- things happen to them, they make decisions -- but the point is the people - and these characters seem like real people. I think that is one of the things I love most about Thomson's books --- I can't get the characters out of my head and I feel like they are real.
As with each of Thomson's books, I hate to give too many specifics since the experience is the thing. The journey through the story always feels like a learning experience for me --- I learn something about people and myself with each book. I will happily read anything that Lorrie Thomson writes and indulge myself by savoring every page.
I liked Celeste in What's Left Behind because she is a loyal friend who speaks her mind, I really loved her in A Measure of Happiness because I got to learn more about her and appreciate her story. I loved all the characters, actually. Katherine is sympathetic and a mothering person who hasn't learned to forgive herself. And Zack is simply adorable. A Measure of Happiness is another of Thomson's books that I will be strongly recommending.
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