Cover Image:  Winter 2017 St. Martin's First Sampler

Winter 2017 St. Martin's First Sampler

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Member Reviews

I'm reviews this awfully late, but I did flip through and there were some excellent suggestions that I haven't gotten to read that are likely on paperback now, so I'm glad I did read this one  :)

Samplers are always a good way to get sucked into a new author's world.
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Thank you for sharing this sampler. I found several stories that I am interested in. I will definitely be reading several of these novels!
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It is always nice to get an idea of what is coming up but very hard to write a review on a bunch of samples!
Honestly these samplers shouldn't count against you percentage on netgalley!
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For March’s book club, we’re discussing Abby Fabiaschi’s novel, I Liked My Life. It’s a beautiful examination of grief, marriage, parenting, mother-daughter relationships, and aging. I’m thrilled the author is able to join us for Q&A.

Q. The book is told from the perspective of Maddy, a middle-aged mother who, after an apparent suicide, must watch her family from beyond and try to help them heal. You so beautifully capture the nature of grief. I loved Maddy’s teenage daughter’s cynical approach to mourners: I’m thinking about lines like: “They’ll go home to their intact families, proud of their sensitivity in pretending Mother’s Day doesn’t exist.” or “Someone needs to publish a list of things not to say to people in mourning and start it with Time heals all wounds.” I know people who’ve felt this way, but it’s not often discussed. Did this view come from research? Personal experience?

Abby. Unfortunately, personal experience. Some of my life’s favorite people have passed away, leaving me to experience–firsthand–the lonely, vulnerable journey of mourning. Grief can bring people closer, but only when both sides respect that in any given moment the loss feels differently.

Q. Throughout the book, Maddy urges her daughter to “Practice love, compassion, and forgiveness.” Is this your world view?

Abby. I have come to believe that if you rise above the fog and haze of grief there is insight and clarity in life’s most antagonizing moments.

Anything gleaned is at the expense of whatever you lost—and it will never be worth it—so you have to learn to accept that injustice. The quotation above is a beautiful example of this: When I was 15, I lost a dear friend in a car accident. It’s been over 20 years now, and I remain extremely close with her parents. It was Lynne Sachse, Elizabeth’s mother, who taught me the importance of practicing love, compassion, and forgiveness. Her wisdom, which was shared at the cost of great loss, seeps into my thoughts, words, and actions daily.

Q. You work so many wonderful insights about parenting into your dialogue. I loved Maddy’s husband’s recollection that, “Whenever we were around parents who had black-and-white goals for their children, your mother felt sorry for the whole family—the parents because they’d be perpetually disappointed, and the kids because they’d always feel nothing was good enough. She believed there was nothing worse a parent could pass on to a child than guilt.” Did you set out to offer views on parenting in the book or was that a happy coincidence?

Abby. No. Honestly, I never imagined the book would be published. My intent in writing it was to unburden my loss onto unsuspecting characters. Rather selfish, now that I think of it. But I Liked My Life did turn out to be an exploration of motherhood and marriage as well as mourning, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I suppose it makes sense I went there, given my current reality.

Q. This was your first published novel. What surprised you about the process of writing it?

Abby. That it sold and multiple houses wanted to buy it! Industry odds, what they are, it is surreal I Liked My Life found a place on store bookshelves. My background is in high tech sales, which sounds wholly unrelated, but the approach that supported my career also enabled this opportunity: It’s not rejection; it’s feedback.

Q. Can you share with us anything about your next book?

Abby. It’s not done, but I am madly in love with it. Anything Helps will come out late 2018 or early 2019. It questions what, if anything, an adoptive family owes to its biological parents. I’ll give you a hint: the father, mother, and child all disagree on the answer.

Thank you, Abby! If you’ve not read the book already, be sure to pick it up.
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Fantastic sampler! I found some really great titles I didn't have on my radar yet.
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Most of the books in this sampler I am very excited about.
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Amazing samplers, added the books to my TBR can't wait to get my hands on them!
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I really enjoyed this sampler and have added quite a few book to my wishlist - Can't wait to get started, some excellent books due out!!
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I was not interest in any of the books that was in this sampler. I may read Wintersong in the future.
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I definitely enjoyed the excerpts in this sampler. I look forward to finding the featured titles in my local bookstores!
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I really enjoyed the excerpts in this sampler. I look forward to finding some of the featured titles in my local bookstore(s).
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I really enjoyed the excerpts in this sampler. I look forward to finding some of the featured titles in my local bookstore(s).
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These samplers are great.  I have found so many new books to add to my want to read shelf on Goodreads.  The only downside is finding the time to read all of the wonderful sounding books.
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