Friday, November 2, 2012

Review of Torn Together by Emlyn Chand

Today I have the pleasure of hosting author Emlyn Chand and her emotional Women's Fiction novel, Torn Together. This is Emlyn's first foray into Women's Fiction and I have to say that this book shows a lot of promise for the future.


BLURB:

From her cheating boyfriend to her dead father and cold, judgmental mother, Daly knows she can’t trust others to be there when it counts. This cynicism begins to melt away when she meets Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, who decides he cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family in order to seal their “forever.”

Meanwhile, Laine struggles to cope with the pain of early widowhood, fleeing into the pages of her well-worn library and emerging only to perform her duties as a social worker at the crisis pregnancy center. Although her daughter wants nothing more than to work as an artist, Laine doesn’t know how to redirect Daly to a more suitable profession without further damaging their tenuous relationship.

Can Laine look past her pain to learn from an unlikely mentor? Has Daly finally found someone whom she can trust? Will the women recognize their common bonds before the relationship is broken beyond repair?

"Torn Together," Emlyn Chand’s first sojourn into Literary/Women's Fiction, illustrates how our similarities often drive us apart.


EXCERPT:

He pretended to clack at the keys in an exaggerated pantomime. "All right, you're officially in the system. Now, what can I do for you?"

When she hesitated, Kashi encouraged her to continue with a swift nod. "Well, I was on my way home and started sneezing. Then I realized I'd forgotten to fill my prescription. I've got pretty severe hay fever."

"I understand. Please, give me a moment to contact your old pharmacy, and I will fill your prescription." Kashi walked out of earshot, then reappeared and went to the back of the pharmacy. He returned after a few moments carrying a little white paper bag with her name stapled to the front.

"Take one a day, preferably at the same time each day, and I think everything will be just fine." He rang up the purchase.

Daly handed him her credit card, which he refused.

"On the house," he insisted, slipping the ten dollar co-pay from his wallet into the register drawer.

"I've never had a man woo me with pharmaceuticals before. Thank you."


Kashi winked. Then, feigning surprise, he said, "Oh, it seems you've been selected to respond to a brief in-store survey."

"More questions?"

"I'm sorry, every fifth customer gets selected. You have no choice but to respond." He cleared his throat loudly before carrying on. "First question: on a scale of one to five, five being the absolute best possible answer, how would you rate your satisfaction with your shopping experience today?"

"Five," she said, smiling.

He clicked a key on the register. "Okay—on the same scale of one to five, how attractive do you find your pharmacist today?"

"Kashi! It says that?"

"Please, you must answer the question."

"Five." She blushed and glanced toward her toes. When she looked back up, Kashi had a crestfallen expression on his face.

"Only five?" he asked meekly.

"You said five was the best possible answer!"

"Yes, but you could've picked the secret answer. If the subject feels strongly, she may volunteer six as an acceptable response."

"Okay, okay. Six!"

"Only six?" he mumbled, his brow pinched in distress.

She flicked the wrist he held poised over the register's keys. "Okay, fine. One billion!"

"Well, that's more like it." Kashi removed the key from the register and locked up the pharmacy for the night. "So... now that the official business has been taken care of, I do believe I promised you a life-changing date, should we meet again—and meet again, we have."

"I believe your exact words were, 'very special.'" She fell into step beside him as they made their way out of the store. "But, sure, I'll settle for life-changing."

MY REVIEW

Emotional and obviously deeply personal, Torn Together is in the true tradition of sharing a young woman's journey to overcome her past and to find a future for herself that is uniquely hers. Ms. Chand does a lot right in this story. There is brilliant writing with turns of phrase and description that perfectly match the themes and moods in several scenes. Each character in the book is important to Daly's journey, with Kashi and Meghann taking on the largest roles of mentor and best friend.

For me, there were some missteps as well which made it more difficult to keep engaged, particularly in the first third of the book.   I was frustrated with the feeling that there were missed opportunities to work significantly more of the relationships into this story. The roles of Daly's mother and her best friend, Meghann, were often told in reflection instead of experienced in real time.  I felt that too often the scenes were cut short when they could have gone to one level higher of emotion and exploration which would have made their connections to Daly's journey that much more real and meaningful. But the author repeatedly backed away from staying in those moments, almost as if it was too painful for the author to go there herself.

The relationship with Kashi, on the other hand, was handled deftly and I truly believed the emotion and caring built in this romance, even when Kashi sometimes seemed too ethereal to be real. In particular, when Daly goes to India to meet Kashi's family the author's descriptions of India truly captured the sights, sounds, smells and tastes and matched them to the ebb and flow of the relationship almost seamlessly. It certainly made me fall in love with the country, the culture, and all that it offered Daly in her journey.

From the trip to India to the end I was completely invested in the story. So my advice to you is to stick with the story past the beginning. I promise it gets better and better until the emotions will tear the insides of your heart from you, scatter them into a thousand pieces, and then push the chaos back into your core to sort out in the end. The ending is difficult, but it is the right ending for this type of story and, for me, ultimately uplifting. In the end I knew that Daly had finally matured and found her true self. I knew that Daly would walk her unique path and share it without restraint. Isn't that ultimately what we want for ourselves?

I look forward to seeing what else this talented author has to offer in the future.

BUY LINKS

Evolved Publishing | Kobo | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Bookiejar



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children's book series and is beginning to dabble in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media site in existence. Visit her author website for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!

Emlyn Chand on the Web



*****CONTEST*****

Emlyn will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card and an autographed copy of Torn Together to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  I've listed all the tour stops below the GoddessFish banner, so you can follow her. Remember the more blogs you visit and comment, the more opportunities you have to win. Even though I'm stop #5, you can go back to the previous stops and read those reviews and compare.



October 29:  Chef John Malik: A Writer Trapped in a Cook's Body
October 30:  The Bunny's Review
October 31:  Long and Short Reviews: Romance
November 1:  Everyday Is An Adventure
November 2:  Maggie's Meanderings
November 5:  The Muse Unleashed
November 6:  Wicked Readings By Tawania
November 7:  Queen of all She Reads
November 8: My Reading Obsession
November 9:   It's Raining Books
November 12:  Reviewing Shelf
November 13:  SnifferWalk
November 14:   Momof2BookReviews
November 15:  Welcome to My World of Dreams
November 16:  House Millar
November 19:  MK McClintock Blog
November 20:  Blooding Book Reviews
November 21:
November 22:  My Odd Little World
November 23:  Diane Vanaskie Mulligan


15 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Evelyn Bohn said...

This looks like a really interesting book. I've never been to India but I have several friends from there I met in college and I would love to go one day.

I trust Maggie's reviews. And if she "emotions will tear the insides of your heart from you, scatter them into a thousand pieces, and then push the chaos back into your core" I am hooked. I'm going to add this to my list of books to get for Christmas break reading time.

Catherine Lee said...

Maggie...I appreciate an honest review. I'm one of those folks who don't always stick with a book until it picks up. I'll definitely stick with Emlyn's.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Christy said...

Based on the excerpt alone, I would read this book. I found a new author whose work I'm excited about reading, so I thank you, Maggie, for hosting her. Emlyn, I'm glad to have found you and look forward to reading Torn Together.

Paty Jager said...

The excerpt and problems between the mother and daughter give this all the ear marks of a good story.

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I'm hoping Emlyn will drop in this evening and say Hi. I'm not quite sure how she's doing the drawing. I assume she'll just put names in a hat associated with the blog and then let us all know.

I really appreciate your support of my blog and of Emlyn Chand and her new book.

Carrie said...

I agree with your comments about the beginning. It was frustrating to see so many missed opportunities for Daly and her mother to begin fixing their issues. But i understand why it was so difficult. Both had been doing this for so long, it was hard to break free of the pattern.

Thanks goodness for Kashi! Sucha delightful character. I was so sad about the ending....i cried actually.

ad0ffae6-78f6-11e1-8cde-000bcdcb5194 said...

It sounds like it might be a little intense for me, but I'm sure it's beautifully done!

vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

Karen H in NC said...

Thanks for your review of this book. I've never read this author's work, but I believe I'll put her on my list of authors to read.

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Carrie, Vita, and Karen, I'm so glad I could introduce you to another author. Please check back on this blog because I will be doing additional book reviews for other tours. I'll also be posting my own tours and contest giveaways here.

laurie said...

The excerpt and problems between the mother and daughter give this all the ear marks of a good story.

Emlyn Chand said...

Thank you for the insightful review, Maggie! If you had a chance to read the author interview at the back of the book, you'll see your insights are actually dead-on. This book was incredibly painful for me to write, but in the end very worth it!

Emlyn Chand said...

Another comment to address the comments:

@Maggie I'm sorry I got so behind in coming over to comment, but I'll be sharing on Facebook later today and can hopefully drive some new traffic. At the end of the tour, Marianne shoots me an email and has me choose using random.org, so it's fair!

@Carrie and @Maggie - Yeah, my editor told me I needed to increase tension between Laine and Daly so that when they finally came together it was more meaningful. The first three chapters were completely rewritten four times. I mean, like new plot and everything! This book was three years in the making, and I actually wrote it before Farsighted, which was published over a year ago!

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Emlyn, Thanks for stopping by. I hear you on the painful part of the writing. Anytime something hits close to home it is difficult. I experience this in some regard with every book I write, but there are some that are more difficult than others.

In any case, as you can see everyone is very interested in it and the emotional tug of war. Great job and I wish you the very best and lots of sales.

Christine D. said...

I like what you said about missed opportunities. A lot of times characters seem so naive and don't do what you expect them to you. It can be upsetting to the reader, yet it shows how immersed you are in the book. Thanks for your review!

chrysrawr@yahoo.com