Friday, 2 October 2009

Review - Retrieving Morning © JoAn Watson Martin

Title - Retrieving Morning
Author - JoAn Watson Martin
Publisher -  Wild Rose Press

Main Characters - AnnaMarie Whitson & Jay

AnnaMarie Whitson, a widow in her twilight years, has spent the last five years caring for her husband and now is determined to become an independent woman. Her adult children, however, expect her to act her age, maintain their childhood home, and serve as a babysitter. In an effort to be her own person, she attends her high school reunion and becomes re-acquainted with Jay, a boyfriend from years past. While overcoming the roadblocks erected by their family and friends, AnnaMarie and Jay enjoy the right to retrieve the morning of their lives.



AnnaMarie is a widow of a few years and before that she spent the preceding few year taking care of a terminally ill husband and yet even before that she was always the one in the shadow, the one who compromised, the one whose happiness was never taken into consideration.

This last realization however only came about once she tries to move on with her now widowed life and from the reaction of her children – you would think she had just told them of her plot to rob a bank, by the shock and horror that followed her pronouncement.

All AnnaMarie wanted was some independence, somewhere a bit smaller more manageable – and if she is honest somewhere away from all the memories.  Despite the reluctance of her children to support her decision she makes her plan.

When an opportunity presented itself to attend her high school reunion she takes it as a chance to spread her wings and enjoy the weekend and go down memories lane with old friends - one old friend in particular  - Jay, makes such an impact that the friendship follows them even after the reunion weekend. AnnaMarie and Jay are however not at the same place in their life’s but they were first love and  they each come into this friendship with more mature ideas of how to carry on after not seeing each other for fifty years.

I have had so few opportunities to read books with older couple and this was really a rare treat for me. Ms. Martin starts off this journey with Anna Marie because after read the book – I felt like I went on a journey with her myself, we find Anna Marie doing a whole lot of soul searching and planning on just how to tell her kids of her decision to sell the house. Think shock, horror – yes the house that they grew up in, the house that the grandchildren come to play in and yes the house that the youngest wanted to get married in – how could Anna be so insensitive to the needs and wants of her children.

And this is where I simple fell in love with Anna Marie, Ms. Martin gives Anna life, a voice, a passion to go out and explore and enjoy life and yet I shudder to think that yes - this is what and how family are with older parents wanting to move on and have a life. This aspect of the book was written as snippets of Anna Marie life – with little look at events when her husband was alive verses what she hoped to gain from this bold new move that she wanted to make and this worked for me.

With that story line going on you would think yes that is heavy enough material for any one reader, but no Ms. Watson tosses in a reunion weekend – fiftieth if you can imagine that – and a chance to revisit old haunts with old friends and boyfriends.  I was even treated to a girly night in that I thought was beautifully written

    After the dance, Dee Dee insisted AnnaMarie join her three best friends, Sarah Pearl, Celeste, and Amy Sue for a slumber party at Dee Dee’s house…...

Like her contemporaries at home, AnnaMarie noticed her high school friends were at an age that their medical problems, grown children and aging parents were the main topics of conversation. “And menopause!” Amy Sue made a face. “I thought I was having a heart attack. It started in my chest, ran like electrical impulses down my arms and legs, out my fingers and toes. I was terrified.”
In the middle of hoots and laughter, Amy Sue’s face was serious. “Don’t laugh. My palms were
damp. When I got to the doctor’s office, it happened again as the doctor was examining me. `Here one comes now,’ I yelled. `How old are you?’ he asked, watching the redness climb my chest and neck. I told him I wasn’t old enough and was insulted he put it down to a hot flash. So common and mundane. I guess I wanted it to be something glamorous, but not terminal.” Amid another round of laughter, Celeste said, “This is better than group therapy.” AnnaMarie wished she felt comfortable

Retrieving Morning © Joan Watson Martin

I went down memory lane with Jay and Anna herself and I enjoyed my visit to their small town and even after fifty years of not seeing each other, it was nice to see that some high school teenage behaviour never changes.

As much as Anna Marie is a likable character and I really enjoyed my time with this older couple – there is a portion of the book that Anna Marie just went off course and I admit I was a bit phazed by that scene and I felt that took away some of the magic of what Anna Marie was trying to do with her life.

Ms Martin voice is a gentle voice and it is confident in it’s style and that was a refreshing change considering she has penned a book about a couple in the autumn of their years and made it work.

If you are looking for a Happy ending romancy sort of book, this is not the book –  Anna Marie and Jay’s relationship was more a meeting of the mind with memories of the past and endless possibility for the future and I really really like that about this book.



6 Speak To Me:

Blodeuedd on 2 October 2009 at 18:54 said...

Is that a new review system I see? Very nice, I really should try something like that. Now most books get a 3, and among them are a bunch of different feelings

Sassy Brit @ on 3 October 2009 at 17:18 said...

I like your new rosettes! Very good idea.

Glad you liked this book - 'A meeting of minds...' loved that!

Anonymous said...

Hey EH,

I like the new system, too! Let's the reader know right off the bat what you think.

I gave you a blog award today- check it out! *G*

Have a great weekend!

~ Jenna

Erotic Horizon on 4 October 2009 at 18:44 said...


hey hon. no it's not a new system. I am reviewing for WRDF and thats the system that they use..

I like it as it covers some grey areas and side let the reader if the book is worth buying..


Erotic Horizon on 4 October 2009 at 18:44 said...

@Yup this was good read.. I like older couples as protags...

Give a bit of solidity to a story..


Erotic Horizon on 4 October 2009 at 18:45 said...

Hey Jen...

I'll be over to collect, A day late on everything today...

Thanks for the award...