Book Spotlight w/ Notes and Extract | “Off-Island” by Marlene Hauser

Posted Tuesday, 23 October, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you know, I have a keen interest in Women’s Fiction & Contemporary Romances – not just from the fact I host my own chat (@SatBookChat) but due to the nature of the stories themselves! I love reading dramatic fiction – of tucking into the realistic lives of women who are striving to either overcome a personal adversity or situations out of their control or simply pick up the pieces of their lives when something has gone awry. Sometimes this can be early-on in their careers, in the middle of a marriage, after a divorce or the sudden loss of a spouse – or in other instances, it is when they reach a cross-roads of their lives – where they need to make an honest choice about their futures irregardless of what others in their lives might think about their final decision(s).

This novel deals with a woman’s right to choose what is right for her in regards to her reproductive health and her overall wellness. It is a right we’ve had in our country since Roe vs Wade and it is explored through different genres as much as it is a critical journey explored by various authors of both mainstream & INSPY Women’s Fiction. Previously, I read a very heart-centred story-line about the choice and the remorse of abortion through one of the Coming Home series novels by Brenda S. Anderson which explores this through an INSPY lens of perspective. Anderson stands out for her realistic grit and her ability to tuck into hard-hitting subjects in a refreshing style that is not typical of today’s INSPY Lit but a new direction I hope continues to take hold as others like her are paving the way towards this new level of insight for INSPY readers (such as Dee Henderson, Kellie Coates Gilbert & Becky Wade for Contemporary novelists and Julie Lessman for Historical).

When I read the premise of ‘Off-Island’ I knew I wanted to read Ms Hauser’s novel to see how she approached the subject herself and how she took us through Krista’s journey.

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Book Spotlight w/ Notes and Extract | “Off-Island” by Marlene HauserOff-Island
by Marlene Hauser

Krista Bourne has always been surrounded by the strength, love and wealth of her family and their homes in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard. She has never had to think for herself. Living with boyfriend Michael and her elderly grandfather, she can also summon up the comforting ghosts of her beloved father and grandmother. In vivid dreams she flies with her pilot father, and when awake remembers idyllic childhood holidays spent with her bohemian grandmother.

When Krista impulsively walks out on her career as a professional dancer, it is the beginning of a new chapter in her life. She feels unsettled and excited by the sense of imminent change around her.

This feeling turns to panic, then fear when she realises that she is pregnant and is uncertain whether or not she wants to keep the baby, bringing her and Michael to a crossroads in their relationship. Adamant that she alone must deal with the situation, Krista rejects all offers of support from him, isolating her at a time when she most needs help.

Krista’s journey and emotional upheaval take her back to her summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, where she is surprised to find out that she does not know her family history quite as well as she imagined.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781789014495

Also by this author: Off-Island

on 28th September, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Published By: Troubador Publishing (@matadorbooks)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #RealisticFiction, #WomensRights, #WomensRightToChoose + #WomensFiction

About Marlene Hauser

Marlene Hauser

Marlene Hauser is a professional writer based in Oxford, UK, where she lives with her husband and teenage son. She served as editor of the Writer’s New York City Source Book and originated the television film Under the Influence, going on to serve as Associate Producer and Technical Consultant. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and has received numerous awards, including a residency at the Millay Arts Colony in Upstate New York.

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Read an Extract from the Novel:

At the window she peeked through the blinds. She watched an old man hobble down the street. He stopped at two aluminum trash cans and began to rummage. Krista felt pity for him. Michael turned over in his sleep. She wept. None of this had been planned. She had not asked for any of it, she told herself. She did not ask for a baby. Did she? Life enter here. No, she told herself, she did not have that kind of power. Something else was controlling her. Quite suddenly, she knew what she would do if the test proved to be positive. She would have an abortion. It was as simple as that. She would do it right away. She would find a good doctor. It would be safe. Abortions were legal. There would be nothing to endanger the time when her situation was better, when the decision to have a child was planned, when it was not an obscure, bolt-from-the-blue twist of fate. Life enter here. Was she that powerful?

She realized for the first time how much she cared for life and how responsible she wanted to be as a mother. She wanted to be a parent who was fully committed and present. Her child would not be the extension of a fantasy, a roll of the dice. Her child would be someone planned, anticipated, truly wanted. Maybe it would be with Michael, and maybe it would not. Did she even know him? This child had come about purely because of the rain. Krista cried because being pregnant made her realize how much more than anything else in the world – more than a career, a way to prove herself to her mother – she did want a child, children. One day, when it felt right. She wanted a baby to love the way her father had loved her. But this was the wrong time. A woman could know it was the wrong time, or the wrong reason. Couldn’t she know that, in just the same way she knew whether she had conceived or not? That split second. Krista wanted a child. She did want to create life, but the time and the circumstances now were not right. Krista knew she was not yet ready to be a mother, the guide and compass to a new human being.

She crawled back into bed, curling around Michael, pulling his head to her chest. She kissed the top of his head. He worked his body toward hers, mumbling, half asleep.

‘What are you doing up?’

‘Nothing,’ she said, ‘thinking.’

‘Thinking?’ he said. ‘Not my little dreamer.’

‘That’s right,’ she said, hushing him back to sleep. She held him securely, as if he were the baby she was about to give up.

She lay holding him as she recognized for the first time what women – mothers – had always had the option to do. They could, like gods, give life or take it away. Did it even matter whether or not it was legalized? This was a power no senate could legislate for. Means would always be found. Biology was not a process of law. The feeling ran so deep, so primordial, so original. She knew she could not share her pain, her responsibility.

‘God,’ she pleaded, ‘I do not want to be pregnant. I do not want to have to make this decision. I do not want to cut this beautiful being out of my life. Please help me.’

Krista still hoped the test would be negative. She wished the past few weeks would all have been the fault of her runaway imagination. She begged God to let the pregnancy test be negative, and promised to never again play with the power she had been given. How could she not have known, not understood? She wept. I can create life. She recalled that instant surge of light. The moment of conception was indelibly written in her heart and mind. Who, she thought, had separated sex from producing life?

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As you read the extract you can tell your about to take an emotional journey into one woman’s search for her own truth in regards to how she feels about pregnancy and the timing of when a child unexpectedly enters her life. This is a journey built round the choices she needs to be making for herself but also, of a coming of truth moment in her life where she has to decide what is important and why she is recoiling from a relationship rather than turning closer to her boyfriend during a moment where an unplanned pregnancy occurs.

What interested me is why she turnt away from her boyfriend – was their relationship not as strong as she needed it to be? Was the sudden revelation about being on the fringe of mumhood too overwhelming for her to process or was there something else going on underneath the experience in this moment for Krista? It is almost as if she is in a moment of interruption where she needs to soul search & sort out her emotions as much as her thoughts – about life, about having children and about how she wants to be a partner in a relationship – as when you find yourself incapable of confiding such news to your boyfriend it seems to be a signal there is something else that is needs addressing before you can repair your relationship which may or may not be the right one for you to be in.

Krista is finding herself in a set of circumstances she didn’t want and how she chooses to handle this news is what will make or break her character’s future. I was curious if she was going to take a similar path as Richard Brook’s girlfriend in Chain of Mercy. I look forward to one day taking this journey into Krista’s life and seeing how Ms Hauser dealt with her character’s emotional arc as much as how she approached the topic of a woman’s right to choose.

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This book spotlight is courtesy of my first blog tour hosted by Faye Rogers PR:

Off Island blog tour via Faye Rogers PR

My interview with the author, Ms Hauser was unexpectedly delayed, however, I am thankful to host an extract this afternoon ahead of sharing our conversation! This is a new author I’ve found whose writing dramatic Women’s Fiction and approaching hard-hitting topics with compassion and a depth of a character’s journey which sounds like it will pull me through the full scope of the emotional depths I’d expect it to take me as I move through the story-line. I love spotlighting the stories I want to be reading and I look forward to one day reading this in print.

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15th October : Celticlady’s Reviews 16th October: Interview @ Donna’s Book Blog
18th October:
Guest Post @ The Writing Greyhound
19th October: Q&A @ Big Book Little Book
22nd October: Guest Post @Luna’s Little Library 23rd October: Jorie Loves A Story
24th October: Ginger Book Geek 25th October: Laura Morningstar
26th October: Belleandthenovel 27th October: Splashes into Books
28th October: Jen Med’s Book Reviews Be sure to visit the rest of the blog tour!

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Off-Island”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Marlene Hauser, the Extract from the novel and the tour host badge were provided by Faye Rogers PR and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Stories in the Spotlight banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 23 October, 2018 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Women's Fiction, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights), Women's Rights

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