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Thursday, May 7, 2009

She's in a Better Place...Review

About the book:
Jennifer Graham is struggling to make ends meet while running the Fairlawn Funeral Home, raising two children, and studying for her national board exam. Her work takes on a new dimension when Gerald Huffman, her assistant and mentor, reveals that he has a serious illness. When she learns that he and his daughter haven't spoken in years, Jen decides to help them reconcile . . . but things don't go exactly as she planned. Jennifer is longing for stability in her life . . . but she soon discovers that life isn't stagnant; it's always changing. Once again, the mortuary is a setting for lessons of laughter, love, and life. 

The third and final book of the Fairlawn Series. Of all three books, I enjoyed this one the most.

As Jennifer Graham is struggling to make the Fairlawn Funeral Home a successful business, she's also raising her children and studying for her national board exam to become a licensed mortician. Her life takes another turn when Gerald, her beloved friend and mentor, is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wanting him to reconcile with his estranged daughter Kirsten, before his death, Jennifer invites her to Mt. Dora. Kirsten isn't willing to listen to anyone and Jennifer's attempts to facilitate a reconciliation don't go according to her plan.

This novel had the depth that I found lacking in the two previous books. The topic of Gerald's illness and pending death was handled incredibly well and with dignity and respect. Gerald has been my favorite character in this series, but I did finally like Jennifer here. There was a bit of humor too, and Leticia's attempt at a "living funeral" were laugh-out-loud funny.

I still hate the narration style and find it incredibly distracting. Here, as in the first two books, Jen's story is told in first-person, which I rarely like, but isn't as bad as the rest of the narration. The chapters alternate between Jen and the other characters like her mom, Gerald, Kirsten, etc. These supporting characters aren't written as first-person, but are an awkward present-tense third-person narrative. As I've maintained through the other books, the story would have been much stronger had the author maintained the same style throughout it. To give the author credit, she has crafted a fairly compelling set of characters, because even though I hated the narration style, I still read all three books.

An interesting, enjoyable read, if you can get past the narration issues.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 5/09

* * *
3/5 Stars

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