Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fairy Tale Girl...A Review

I have enjoyed Susan Branch's blog for many years. I love to see what she is up to at her beautiful home in Nantucket. I usually purchase one of her calendars each year. Right now, one is hanging in my walk in closet so I can see what day it is when I get up and get dressed!:)

I loved her book about the trip that she and Joe took to England...

I loved her descriptions of their experience on the trans Atlantic crossing of the QE 2.

Susan also adds lots of quotes and memorabilia to her story.

I especially remember her tales of learning to drive on the  "wrong" side of the road. I find that terrifying myself!  Joe soon mastered it!

The visit to Beatrix Potter's farm was another favorite portion of the book for this reader. I gave this book 5 stars on Good Reads.

So when Susan told us she was writing a new book, The Fairy Tale Girl, I was all in!

First, I must admit I thought this would be the love story of Susan and Joe, silly me! It turns out to be the love story of Susan and her first husband, Cliff Branch.  Susan does share some of her growing up years as the oldest of 8 children.  Then she tells us about her leaving high school and heading out with a friend to live on her own. No plans for college and as she put it, she always  assumed she would be a wife and mom. The Women's Lib agenda had not made it to Susan's little world. Susan describes working for Cliff, falling in love with him and making a home with him before he ever thought of marriage. He was a young and successful entrepreneur who really wanted to have his cake and eat it too! Susan allows him to string her along and he seems to reluctantly agree to marriage. During this time however, Susan begins to hone her self taught talent as a water colorist.  And sure enough this marriage does not last because Cliff found a new younger woman to be his girlfriend. Susan is broken hearted and as the book closes, she is on her way to New England.

First let me say...I admire anyone who keeps a diary. Susan could write this book so true to the events because she kept a detailed diary. She did not toss them out after the marriage ended so they were her reference points for the story.  Now I will also add that I do not think I would have written in such detail about a previous marriage when Susan seems to be in her dream marriage now and she has done so well with her life. It just seemed that there is something about Cliff that she has not left totally behind.  I say, Let it Go....she would probably say, " I am who I am because of my life experiences." I am just going to say it....I wish I had checked this one out from the library instead of purchasing it. Much of the story was so sad and I just wanted to scream.."Leave that jerk and find someone who loves you for who you are!"   I felt so sorry for Susan who was trying so hard to please a man who could or would not be pleased. And sadly, I see so many young women today who still put up with some of the same things just to have a man in their lives.  Maybe this book should be labelled "A Cautionary Tale".

Susan is now writing the story of her life in New England as an artist and how she met and married Joe. I think I will be much happier with the next book!!


Sandy said...

I am with you Arlene on leave the past behind. I also purchased this book and you and I are truly soul sisters. I couldn't have written a more accurate description of what I thought about the book. I think too many people just waller in the past. Learn from it and move on..I say.
I do love her ability to keep a diary. I will probably just stick with her seasonal books. This one was an easy read, and I did like the parts that let me see her development but not so much the Cliff part. I say ---Loser and good riddance.
I like to think of the happy times. I guess that is why I loved the Dick and Jane books as a kid. I like to think of life not through rose colored glasses, because it is definitely tough sometimes, but more of as an optimist with hope on my side.

Tori Leslie said...

The book sounds strange, writing about an X when you have a current. She sounds like a great writer though. Glad you enjoy her so!

Linda said...

I haven't read the book but I admire Susan for writing truth and moving on.
We tend to think the people we love and admire have had such story book lives, sweet memories and happy endings. Life is a mixture of good and bad experiences and we are who we are because of them. I know everyone has a story and that story is often very surprising. I'm glad Susan shared hers. The next book will be even richer!

Mrs.T said...

Arlene, thank you for this review. I am usually one of the last to obtain and read a new book. It could have been very tempting for me to buy this one, for Susan was doing a book signing only a half hour from me. Mr. T and I already had plans for that day, so I couldn't have gone anyway, but I did entertain the thought. Now, although I might still be interested in reading the book (I think), I'm pretty sure I wouldn't pay money for it. I am like you, I lose patience with characters (even fictional ones) in a story who just put up with mistreatment in any sort of relationship. But I guess we never really know for sure how we would respond were we walking their path, in their shoes. I'm happy that Susan's story has culminated in a happy ending with her wonderful marriage to Joe and her beautiful art that speaks to so many of us.

Arlene @Nanaland said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book. There was just something a bit odd about the way she wrote about Cliff. I had to google him and find out what he is up to these days. I see that he is quite the business man and came out with his own book about the time of Susan's book release. I read that they are still friends. After what he put her through I find that hard to swallow!! I saw that the book has many five stars on Amazon. I gave it a three on Good Reads. I was really amazed that she is totally self taught...I admire anyone who can draw so beautifully. I will be purchasing her next book because I do think Joe was the man for her!! I so enjoy reading of their adventures together on the blog and in books.

Susan Branch said...

All I can say is that I was an idiot when I was young, and I stayed young WAY too long for my own good! But if you DO read the second book, I promise I get better as I get older. That old live and learn thing is true! Love to read your honest and thoughtful comments! xoxo Susan

Arlene @Nanaland said...

Susan, I thank you for responding to this review. I always try to be honest in my feelings about the books I read without being ugly, I hope!! I just love you sweet spirit so much that I wanted to deck am glad you are happy now and I will be purchasing your next book!

Susan Branch said...

I felt the same way! But if I hadn't gone through that, who knows where I would be today . . . for sure Cliff got me to his grandmother and that got me to Joe, so that was a great reward for what I went through. Cliff was only 22 when I met him, so we were idiot children together. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. It's what we do with our idiocy in the long run that matters. I hope the story gets better for you. I just really wanted to tell the truth in all of it's highlights and lowlights. Maybe someone else is going through what I went through. Thanks for writing me back. And truly, being a person who STILL isn't always sure where she's going, I do very much appreciate your honesty. xoxo