Tag: The Story Hour

+Blog Book Tour+ The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar *Release Day!* #literary fiction

Posted Tuesday, 19 August, 2014 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins), 19 August, 2014

Available Formats:Hardback, Ebook
Page Count:336

Official Author WebsitesSite@ThrityUmrigar  | Facebook

Converse via: #ThirtyUmrigar

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Acquried Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Story Hour” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher HarperCollins Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Book Synopsis:

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

From the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of The World We Found and The Space Between Uscomes a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, love, and second chances.

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she agrees to treat a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store, Lakshmi is desperately lonely.

Moved by Lakshmi’s plight, Maggie offers to see her as an outpatient for free. In the course of their first sessions in Maggie’s home office, she quickly realizes that what Lakshmi really needs is not a shrink but a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient become close. Even though they seemingly have nothing in common, both women are haunted by loss and truths that they are afraid to reveal.

However, crossing professional boundaries has its price. As Maggie and Lakshmi’s relationship deepens, long-buried secrets come to light that shake their faith in each other and force them to confront painful choices in their own lives.

With Thrity Umrigar’s remarkable sensitivity and singular gift for an absorbing narrative,The Story Hour explores the bonds of friendship and the margins of forgiveness.

Author Biography:Thrity Umrigar

Thrity Umrigar is the author of five other novels—The World We Found, The Weight of Heaven, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, and Bombay Time—and the memoir First Darling of the Morning. An award-winning journalist, she has been a contributor to the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the Huffington Post, among other publications. She is the winner of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard, the 2009 Cleveland Arts Prize, and the Seth Rosenberg Prize. A professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

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My Review of The Story Hour:

The voice of whom greets you as Chapter One opens is a woman whose English is not second nature, as she struggles a bit to fuse words to match her thoughts and emotions. Yet even in the manner of which she voices her innermost concerns, her voice has depth of awareness; of sensing her place as it is in the world and of where she is in her life. We are greeting Lakshmi at the very moment she is attempting to take her own life. Everything is planned and laid out within the opening page, except for getting to the root of what has caused her such a deeply felt psychological anguish as to effectively want to exit her life. The details of ‘why’ she is choosing what she is doing will surely come forward lateron, but in this heightened moment we are witnessing her actions without a way to decrease the tension of the moment. As she starts to move towards completing her task to remove herself from this world, her mind flickers back through memories of how unfair and unjust her situation has become whilst living in America.

We start to see how she has a torrent of psychological abuse stemming from her husband and how even the kind favour of a gift of gratitude will be interpreted with disfavour by others. She is struggling to make sense of her self-worth and her position in life now that she is no longer with her family back in India, where she even kept an elephant as a pet. Whilst her voice draws quieter through her ordeal, the next person to step into focus is her soon-to-be psychologist Maggie who is an African-American married to an Indian; her marriage is the leaverage her boss is hoping will open a door of dialogue with Lakshmi. I could understand Maggie’s instinctive reaction of disgust realising that the merits of her work ethic and capabilities as a psychologist were only second to being a woman of colour and living in a multicultural home. She tabled her own restless thoughts as she knew they were stemming out of anger ‘in the moment’ rather than out of experience with being around her boss. In this one scene, very early-on in the novel, Umrigar humbles her psychologist by allowing the reader to visually see her own flaws, misgivings, and humanistic reactions.

I felt myself distracted a bit by the pacing inside the novel, and the shifting points of time — as it was not always easily known if we were reading the present circumstances or withdrawing back into a flashback sequence of memories. What I did enjoy was seeing how the psychologist was starting to spiral a bit from the pressure of everything she had to endure internally as she listened to other people’s stories. It is rare when it is mentioned that psychologists have a weight placed on them that nearly expects them to be inhuman. To be more than they are, as they are not able to be shielded nor numb to what they listen to during their sessions. They still have to internalise the words, the horrific stories, and find some semblance of hope to share with their patients. This is a story that honours the psychologists who for whichever reason, have reached a point in their careers where carrying on as usual is not as easy as it once were.

Although Lakshmi’s voice is a strong undercurrent of the story, I nearly felt as though it was her personal plight in life and cross to bear that gave the freedom for Maggie to heal herself. Maggie was just as much in need as counsel and consolation as Lakshmi. Their paths crossed at a critical point in both of their lives, to where the sessions Lakshmi needed to talk out her life’s experiences and the emotional vaccum that had encased her past the point of wellness; gave Maggie a chance to re-examine her own difficult past. Both women share turbulance and domestic abuse to a certain extent, and both women never could be open and honest about who they each faced inside the mirror.

Yet the danger of allowing yourself to erase the distance needed to be a psychologist and effectively help your patient grow through healing is that the side effect could be devasting to your own affairs. The closer Lakshmi came to growing wings to fly on her own accord and stand on her own two feet, the closer Maggie came to watching her life spiral competely down the drain. The threads which connected them were a double-edge sword, as where on one hand a doctor is meant to heal and do no harm; the opposite is making yourself vulnerable to where the lines are too blurred to see who the patient is. The Story Hour is a domestic drama about two women from different walks of life whose path brings them into the forefront of each other’s awakening hour.

Fly in the Ointment: 

Although the randomness of the stronger words used in the novel are idly placed and randomly inclusive to the story, they are the little nettles of disappointment for me. I did not feel the words enhanced the storyline, nor the continuance of the character’s thoughts, if anything they felt like a simple way to express their emotions. I also felt a bit disconjointed from the dialogue and narrative passages, as one moment we are in the present and a second later we are in the middle of a flashback. I believe the effect was to be a continuing stream of conscienceness, but for some aspects of it, I felt muddled. As I wasn’t sure if I was still in the present, learning about the recent past, or ‘somewhere’ neither here nor there completely. There is a fair bit of crudeness as well, not as much as in crude humour but simply in crude ways of expressing certain things that the characters are attempting to reflect about themselves.

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This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

The Story Hour
by Thrity Umrigar
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Genres: Literary Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Published by HarperCollins Publishers

on 19th August, 2015

Pages: 336

click-through to follow the blogosphere tour.TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

Earlier today, I hosted an Author Interview with Thrity Umrigar.

Previously I enjoyed the story Losing Touch by Sandra Hunter.

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See what I am hosting next:

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Comments make me smile! Let’s start a conversation! I appreciate your visit & look forward to your return! I do moderate the comment threads; do not worry if the comment is delayed in being seen! Drop back soon!

Reader Interactive Question:

What are your own thoughts about the connection between the books we read, the authors who pen them, and the unique bridge of connective thoughts which unite all of us together!?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Story Hour”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.


Posted Tuesday, 19 August, 2014 by jorielov in Adulterous Affair, ARC | Galley Copy, Blog Tour Host, BlogTalkRadio, Bookish Discussions, Bout of Books, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Family Drama, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Hindi Words & Phrases, Library Find, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Literature of India, Medicated Against Will, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Psychiatric Facilities, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Social Services, TLC Book Tours, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Vulgarity in Literature

+Readathon+ Bout of Books, 11.0 – I seriously am addicted to the #BoutOfBooks experience!

Posted Monday, 18 August, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

Bout of Books badge created by Jorie in CanvaMy participation in the Bout this time around simply made sense due to the fact that I have a booked schedule between now & the start of September! I’d love to share journalling bits of where I am on my reading adventures, as much as interact with other Bout’ers when I could use a break between page turns! I am keeping in place the lovely paragraph I spoke on behalf of my participation in Bout 9.0 as it simply echoes my sentiments right now! :) Of course, I *love!* to push myself to read a bit more than I normally can during a Bout, but this time around, I seriously do have 8 books being read for review! On the flipside, I’m a late Austen in August reader who wants to *catch!* up a bit by soaking into her first picks for the challenge which celebrates her admiration and love of all things Jane Austen! I have a heap in store for my blog this next week, both for the readathon, for blog tours, and a few surprises outside of those too!
{Official Blurb}:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog – From the Bout of Books team

I, Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story is not only a seriously addicted reader of books which wrap me inside stories which enchant my mind and murmur reflections in my heart after I put the books down, but I am a girl who is positively happy whilst caught up in the book blogosphere events which unite readers with books, and stories with readers who love to chatter about why they love to read what they read! I am going to sit back and enjoy this Bout, as I’ll be reading up a wicked storm of fiction whilst hosting wicked awesome blog tours & reviews! I will be spending equal time on Twitter & in the blogosphere visiting other bloggers who are participating. Here’s to being spontaneous and seeing where the Bout takes me next!

Whose going to join me!?

Bout of Books badge created by Jorie in Canva

One year ago I participated in my *first!* Bout of Books!

I am #851 (signups) + #378 (goals)! Rock on, dear hearts!

A celebration of my life as a book blogger who celebrated her 1st Blog’s Birthday starts this week as well! Stay tuned for the start of 12 posts which journal back through my adventures!

Converse with Bout’ers:#boutofbooks | @BoutofBooks

Hostesses:@ + @

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Book badge provided by Squeesome Designs and used with permission.Book badge provided by Squeesome Designs and used with permission.Book badge provided by Squeesome Designs and used with permission.

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Personal Goals & Motivations of Bout 11.0!

Books to Absorb during Bout of Books 9.0:

Books for Review:

  • Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison (a Jane Austen re-telling)
  • The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar (a soul-stirring Literary fiction)
  • French Twist by Glynis Astie (a Contemporary Romance) Re-scheduled due to exhaustion
  • The Gin Thief by S.C. Barrus (as a beta reader)
  • Blade of the Samurai by Susan Spann (a sequel to a Cosy Historical Mystery)
  • Maggie’s Wars by Phil Pisani (a war drama Historical Fiction) Re-scheduled/Self-Hosting blog!
  • Romancing the Soul by Sarah Tranter (a parapsychological Romance)
  • Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele (an Inspirational Romance)

Author Interviews this week:

Books Aiming to Read in Addition:

  • Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann (the first Shinobi mystery)
  • Aunty Lee’s Delights by Ovidia Yu (the first Singaporean mystery)
  • Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber (sequel to the Lady Darby mystery series)*
  • {to be revealed} by Jane Austen (for Austen in August)*updating Austen in August MP
  • The first 25 pages of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (a RAL w/ @LitChat & my tCC List)

*my review of “The Anatomist’s Wife” (the first Lady Darby mystery) will post during the Bout!

Bookish Posts Forthcoming:

  • Jorie’s Box of Joy : Inbound Books for Review
  • Austen in August : an modified reading list & proper update
  • Top Ten Tuesday : ?
  • WWW Wednesday : An update on last week & this week’s readings
  • 10 Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts : my 1st contribution!
  • Jorie Loves A Story 1st Birthday Celebration Post
  • August 2013 to August 2014 : First Month Retrospective
  • Read A Romance Month : Participation & why I adore reading Romance novels!

Bout 11.0 Events I will be joining in on the fun:

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Seven days,
168 hours,
with the prospect of devouring itching to read books and savouring the joy of discovering the ones which I am reading for a blog book tour!
Ooh, let the readathon be underway!

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{My Bout’er Updates:}

  • Monday 18th: I was quite literally consumed inside the world of “Sense & Sensibility” through the dramatic re-telling of Rebecca H. Jamison! She not only proved that she could write a believable story, but for me, she added in so many realistic elements of what can happen that at times I felt emotionally blindsided! One particular event held my breath in my throat as what I hadn’t disclosed in my review is there is a motorcycle crash in the latter chapters that puts your heart out of your chest! My family has always been cognisant of cycles on the road & want to find one of those bumper stickers to reflect awareness for everyone else too. I am not sure how much of the story follows in line with Jane Austen, but for me, I could not read the story fast enough as I was completely tied and invested inside the lives of the characters in this modern re-telling! I lost all sense of time, and I can only hope my thoughts I left behind can convey how much I enjoyed reading the story! I might have found a few wrinkles (my ‘fly in the ointment’) but that did not stop my pleasure of the novel overall! I find that even the most celebrated works I discover at times have a few things I might have found rubbed me the wrong way, but it is presence of where the writer took me in the text that gives all stories the ability to have me transcend directly into the world they gave to us as they penned the story! I was hoping other Janeites & Austenites would leave comments about cross-referencing the original canon to what I disclosed on this re-telling as that is one element I could not give this year. This was also the day I did the most tweeting for Bout’ers and slightly missed the chance to ‘talk’ during the live chat!
  • Tuesday 19th: Whilst I edited my Author Interview for Thrity Umrigar, I started to read her novel “The Story Hour”, only to find that despite the allure of the synopsis, I was having a bit of trouble shifting into the story, as the characters were being presented in a way that felt a bit disconjointed for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the Questions I had composed for the Interview, as it was one of the few times where an author has such a breadth of media posted online and in different mediums like: podcast, YouTube interview, print media, and other blogger Interviews! The day dissolved before my eyes and turnt into Wednesday,…
  • Wednesday 20th: I was attempting to accomplish so very much today, as I sort of had a late start, as I found I had overslept and that completely threw off *everything!* I not only wanted to blog about (as I wanted to work on the *Bookish Posts* section of this challenge, but it threw off my focus to dig into “Claws of the Cat” before the day I was meant to post my review of “Blade of the Samurai!” I did accomplish one wicked sweet thing: I not only read, edited, and commented on “The Gin Thief” — I actually learnt a few new tricks on how to use added features of Word! I was most delighted as I had not sorted out the ‘insert comment’ & the ‘track changes’ features prior to my project and work with S.C. Barrus as one of his Beta Readers work a work-in-progress! I appreciated the work immensely especially being that his writing style is so far outside my own that it felt like a joyful adventure! I can see why writers talk about being a Beta for stories not only outside your comfort zone but outside what you were  normally read, as it heightens your eyes to seeing what might not be working and/or to give a different intensity of feedback. As the night was folding into midnight, I was still working on my double showcase for Ms. Spann. The Interview Questions arrived whilst I was firming together how I wanted the Interview to look and feel inside the post, and then, I rather happily staid posed at my keyboard until nearly 3am sorting out how I wanted to add replies! It was a special Interview to host, as it always is when I have previously known a writer I feature on my blog! The hours I was spending working on everything overlapped with the hours I wanted to tweet & thus, I missed the second chat for the Bout! I also wanted to soak into the French Twist series by Glynis Astie, as I was striving to post my book review for “French Twist” — there are some days the hours dissolve faster than we’re able to grab them!
  • Thursday 21st:
  • Friday 22nd: Oh, my dear goodness – I never thought it would be possible to self-host my blog within 24 hours, but necessity was the  (work in progress)
  • Saturday 23rd:
  • Sunday 24th:
  • Monday 25th:

{SOURCE: Bout of Books Badge created by Jorie in Canva to give readers & visitors who come to her blog a way to know of its existence and therefore increasing the mystery & lore surrounding it!! Badges for Proud Book Nerd, Read All Day, & Coffee are given to bloggers to add personality to their blogs by Squeesome Designs.Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Book Covers: “Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison provided by the author; “The Story Hour” by Thrity Umrigar provided by TLC Book Tours; “French Twist” by Glynis Astie provided by the author; “Blade of the Samurai” by Susan Spann provided by the author; “Maggie’s Wars” by Phil Pisani provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours; “Romancing the Soul” by Sarah Tranter provided by ChocLitUK; Willow Springs tour banner provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media; “The Gin Thief” by S.C. Barrus provided by the author; all Press Materials are used with permission for both review and promotion on my blog.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Monday, 18 August, 2014 by jorielov in Bout of Books, RALs | Thons via Blogs