We have a lot to discuss on the Lit Ladies, today. First we want to announce the winner of THE STRONG ONE contest, and then tell you about a book where the main character deals with her strength, and a chance to win this book on the Rafflecopter form below. So let’s go!
Thank you to everyone who nominated someone for The Strong One recognition. If you haven’t had a chance to read these amazing stories of the human spirit, then you can do so in the comments section of this blog post. It was very hard to choose a winner because, of course, each story is unique and a wonderful example of the human spirit as well as strength in adversity.
The stories of children struggling with illness and their parents really touched us. We will keep these people in our thoughts, and we believe that the strength both parents and children are showing is nothing but amazing.
The two stories that really stood out were the nominations from Janet L. Cannon and Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan, and it’s too difficult to choose a winner, so we are choosing both! Janet’s strong one nomination was for Shannon Aldridge, who lost his only child, a 13 year-old daughter, to brain cancer eight years ago. Out of that loss, Shannon and his wife Amy started “Hoops for Life.” Elizabeth’s strong one nomination was for her friend Lynne, who is a doctor and a single mom of three boys who were all born facing tough challenges, and she dedicated herself to adopting each boy and at the same time became a co-founder of Jeremiah’s Place, the first and only crisis nursery in Pittsburgh, PA, that provides temporary shelter for children in need. Stay tuned in the next couple weeks for more information about these two amazing families!
The Lit Ladies welcome author Karen Jones Gowen and her women’s fiction book, Afraid of Everything (WiDo Publishing). In this well-developed character-driven novel, Jones explores how Helena attempts to change her life (which to me shows amazing strength) in the face of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The strength comes in that Helena realizes she is gripped with fear and anxiety, and this causes her life to go in directions she wishes it didn’t, such as divorce and quitting a job.
After seeking help with a therapist, which the reader does see some of these sessions, Helena decides to sell her house and move. Even calling the realtor is very stressful for the main character, but again, she does it. She puts her house on the market.
Then everything changes. She gets into a car accident, which puts her in a coma. The last two-thirds of the book are about the coma and whether or not she can get out of it to make the changes she had started to make in her life. Everyone that reads the book mentions the events that occur during the coma as surprising, and the back jacket cover even states, “As Helena explores this intriguing new world, she realizes the truth about her past and the purpose of her future. And she is no longer afraid. She is at last ready to live.”
So what happens to Helena in the coma? You’ll have to read this well-written novel to find out.
Gowen also explores some important themes: living life to the fullest, seeking professional help when life is overwhelming, appreciating your family, risks, and love. There’s also a subplot, which deals with whether or not to remove loved ones off life support. Plus, there’s a lot of information about Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is a real disorder people suffer from.
Born and raised in central Illinois, Gowen now lives and writes in Panajachel, Guatemala. She and her husband Bruce are the parents of ten children. Her bio states, “Not surprisingly, family relationships are a recurring theme in Gowen’s writing.”
If you love character-driven novels that explore human struggles and joys, then check out Afraid of Everything. You can also enter to win your very own copy on the Rafflecopter form below!