Friday, August 23, 2013

The Conditions of Love by Dale M. Kushner

Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars.

Growing up fast in the last part of the 1950s wasn't easy for the likes of Eunice. The first decade of her life had been spent wondering who her father was and why he was never around. It was only when he unexpectedly showed up one morning that she began to think her life could be as normal as the way it was in the movies or for the kids she went to school with. Life's never that easy as she would soon find out as he left them for a second time, leaving more devistation and heartache in his wake.

Though she tried, Eunice never really received the affection she wanted from her mother. When they moved from their small hometown to start anew, Eunice began questioning everything she had ever been taught by her mother and reached within herself to find some semblance of belief. After a flood ravage the town, Eunice was left on her own, her mother taking off with the local deli owner to California, and began to cultivate a life in the forest with the kindness of a stranger. But even that love wasn't meant to last.

Being a minor, she was forced into a foster home until Fate itself intervened and sent her a sign that she belonged somewhere else. Following the direction of love's compass, she left the foster house and made her way into the arms of the only person who wanted her as much as she wanted in return. With all the secrets she carried, could she ever really find peace among the rows of crops or bleating of the sheep? Will she finally find the true Eunice buried underneath all that she had been told for so many years?

I'm very glad to have won this book from a giveaway. It's not the normal type of book that I would have picked up but I was intrigued by the blurb on its page. I'm very thankful that I entered. Once I began to delve into the world of Eunice, I didn't want to come out until I had reached the very last page in order to know everything that I could.

The life of Eunice is broken into three parts or the three acts of love. Each one shows both us, the reader, and Eunice the perils and joy that love can bring in its many forms. From silly, childish love of her parents and those around her to the pitfalls of adolescent attraction, Eunice has to gauge everything in the scope of what she knows. That in and of itself is very little thanks to her mother who is caught up in her own wants and needs while often daydreaming of finding someone to swoop in and make everything better with the snap of his fingers. Somehow, Eunice seems to find some sort of strength within her to make peace with everything and do what needs to be done for those who have given her the most of what she sought - love.

To say that I got lost within some of these characters would be an understatement. The author chose to set the book within a time when the world was on the brink of extraordinary change and I do believe it works well within the story. I don't believe the story would have been quite as believable if it were set in more recent history. The world was very much a different place in the late 1950s/early 1960s. People were much different then, as well, and the story reflects that difference with beauty and respect.

Many times I forgot that Eunice was still a young adult because she had been thrown into situations where she had to grow up fast to deal with what was happening around her. She still had her moments of childish behavior but by and large, she was a woman before she needed to be. I think that's a large portion of why the character has stuck with me after reading. Each of the characters come with their own backgrounds, secrets and quirks that add to the atmosphere of the story.

I had no trouble at all the pacing of the story. It was quick enough to keep me engaged in what was going on while slow enough to allow me to absorb the surroundings and the consequences of what happened to the characters. In the end, I would have never have guessed that this was the author's first novel. It is very well written. If you're looking for a good book to cool up to and get lost within, this is definitely the one you need to pick up!

The Conditions of Love by Dale M. Kushner is available in both paperback and Kindle forms. It can be purchased at in either form by clicking the link below.
The Conditions of Love by Dale M. Kushner

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