Betty’s Lit Lounge: Debut Must-Read
Shelter Me Touches Every Emotion
Juliette Fay weaves a heartwarming love story
When I first read about Shelter Me, Juliette Fay‘s debut novel, I knew it was a book I had to get my hands on even though it touches upon a very delicate subject matter. The main character, Janie LaMarche, loses her husband in a freak accident, and the book opens only a few short months later, while she’s still in the grieving process, trying to make sense of her new life as a widowed mother of two very young children.
I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive at the start, because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep track of all the characters in Shelter Me. But from the teeniest of characters, Baby Carly (who is delightful and helps Janie keep life in perspective), to meddling Aunt Jude, each of Fay’s characters brilliantly serves his or her purpose. And Fay’s smooth writing and bull’s-eye descriptions make it a cinch to get to know her characters. I instantly fell in love with Janie’s 4-year-old son Dylan, and cried for him as he waded through his own feelings of grief trying to understand his father was no longer with him.
Shelter Me is a beautiful family love story with little stories entwined, and as I read, I found that many times I couldn’t even begin to guess what would happen next. As Janie slowly pulls through her grief with the help of a very unlikely cast – a contractor hired by her dead husband to build her a porch, a priest who seems more manly than priestly, a baker cousin, an outlandish neighbor – we see that it takes all types to create a tapestry of love, and this book is truly that: A beautifully woven novel that will have you angry, sad, excited and hopeful for Janie, the true hero of this book.
From the publisher:
Four months after her husband’s death, Janie LaMarche remains undone by grief and anger. Her mourning is disrupted, however, by the unexpected arrival of a builder with a contract to add a porch onto her house. Stunned, Janie realizes the porch was meant to be a surprise from her husband – now his last gift to her.
As she reluctantly allows construction to begin, Janie clings to the familiar outposts of her sorrow – mothering her two small children with fierce protectiveness, avoiding friends and family, and stewing in a rage she can’t release. Yet Janie’s self-imposed isolation is breached by a cast of unlikely interventionists: Her chattering, ipecac-toting aunt; her bossy, overmanicured neighbor; her muffin-bearing cousin; and even Tug, the contractor with a private grief all his own.
As the porch takes shape, Janie discovers that the unknowable terrain of the future is best navigated with the help of others – even those we least expect to call on, much less learn to love.
If you’d like to win a signed copy of Juliette Fay’s Shelter Me, leave a comment in Betty’s Lit Lounge BettyTalk section! We will be giving away TWO copies of this heartwarming debut!