An Uncommon Family – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts
“Mama?” she whispered. She saw the woman only from behind, but the bounce in her step, the long, reddish-blond hair flowing down her back, swaying left and right, the tall, slender figure – it must be her mother. She tossed the rest of the ice cream into the trash can, got up, and ran after the woman. “Mama!” she called as the woman got ready to cross the street. The light turned from blinking red to solid red, just as the woman reached the other side. Karla rushed after her, barely aware of the honking around her or of the shrill warning bell of the blue-and-white streetcar. She heard someone yell at her but by then she had arrived at the other side. The woman was walking along the river toward the Lake of Zurich. “Mama, wait!” Karla bumped into someone. “Watch it, kiddo.” A man stepped aside. “Mama…” The woman finally turned around and looked back, scanning the people behind her, then walked on. Karla stopped dumbfounded. It as the face of a stranger.
Six year old Karla is devastated when she realizes the woman she followed wasn’t her mother. The disappointment she felt when finding out she had been mistaken brought her to her tears causing her to fall and skin her knees. Jonas Bergman was walking by at that time and helped the little girl up and tried to ease her pain until her Aunt Anna made it to her side. When Karla explained that she thought the lady was her mother, Anna had to explain to not just her but Jonas as well that her mother wouldn’t be coming back. Karla’s mother and grandmother had both been killed in a car accident. This was something that Karla knew but wasn’t ready to accept.
After her sister and mother were killed, Anna took custody of Anna. She was a single woman with memories of a happier, yet devastating time when she was younger. Twenty years ago she was married to a wonderful man and living in New York. Live couldn’t be better. But it could be worse and that’s exactly what it became.
Jonas was a widower. The love of his life had died of cancer leaving him with an emptiness that no one would ever fill again. His life now consisted of his art work and teaching. And after seeing some of Karla’s work, he knew she would be a master student.
Now, can you take 3 very lonely people and make them into one happy family? Can you take the lack of trust from a woman that has been hurt so badly that she swore to never trust another man and turn her into a loving companion? Can you take a man who spends his free time talking to his deceased wife as if she is there and convenience him to take a step toward healing and happiness? This is what Karla and her best friend Maja plan to do.
An Uncommon Family was an extremely heart touching book. When I read a book to review I normally make notes or post stickies on pages marking events I want to remember. I didn’t do that with this book. I didn’t have time. I became so engrossed that I turned page after page and forgot the notes. This is a truly beautiful story about love and the loss of love.
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