Summary

Though Just Like Family was flawed, just like this dysfunctional family, Ms. Casey created interesting characters, and her visuals were very descriptive. However, the ending left me hollow and wondering what happened to the rest of the story. 

3-STAR REVIEW: JUST LIKE FAMILY by Barbara Casey

About The Book

Publication Date: August 9, 2022

All in one day, thirty-five-year-old Hallie Marsh learns that the man she loves, works for, and is living with has found someone else and that she no longer has a job or a place to live.  She is also involved in a car accident.  She retreats to her parents’ home in the northern part of Florida to be consoled and to decide what to do with the rest of her life only to find out that her mother is planning to leave her father for another man.  Embittered, filled with anger, and wanting revenge, Hallie decides to take a year’s sabbatical and write a novel that would reveal the unethical, if not illegal, real estate business practices of her former boss and lover.

Determined and focused, Hallie buys a house in the neighborhood where her two best friends and former co-workers live:  Carol Mathews and Gordon Sebastian Cooney.  It is through Gordon and Carol that Hallie comes to know four neighbors, one of whom is Carol’s Vietnamese mother who carries a doll and talks into reflective surfaces.  These four neighbors–Cora, Suong, Charlie, and Vince–are all elderly, peculiar, and alone at this stage in their lives until Vince comes up with a plan:  The four of them will form an alliance, buy the old Braswell estate which is located just down the road, fix it up, and live in it almost like family.  Hallie is fascinated by these four people, and rather than write a tell-all book she begins writing about their alliance.  With this new focus and the friendship of Carol and Gordon, Hallie overcomes her feelings of rage, she is able to cope with her mother’s sudden death, and she finds true love.

Excerpt

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The Review

Just Like Family by Barbara Casey was dysfunctional from the first page to the last. Hallie loses her job, her boyfriend, and where she lives, and to top off her awful day, she gets into an accident. 

Hallie’s best friend, Gordon, comes to her rescue repeatedly, and they definitely have a strange relationship. He’s always there for her, no matter what, and I don’t think she appreciates how he drops everything to be there for her. 

Hallie tries to reinvent her career, but it is hard to tell if she’ll have any success becoming a writer. 

We get to meet the various characters, who all have their own quirks but somehow are just like family—except for Hallie’s previous boss, who had been her live-in boyfriend.  

There are multiple storylines told that are woven together—sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much. The characters definitely have depth and even some wisdom, and we get to know them a little at a time. 

The four older characters add some levity to the story, but it’s also heartbreaking at times, and their newly formed friendship becomes very important to all of them. 

Friendship and family are stressed, and the older characters form their own family in more than one way, much to the chagrin of some. There are vivid descriptions of the homes and the land, and it was easy to visualize the repairs being made, the slimy mold, the food, and the abundance of flowers.

The story was sometimes choppy, and the ending was surreal. It wasn’t only abrupt but seemed like the author ran out of steam. There was no closure, no happily ever after, and it left me adrift. There seemed to be more story to tell and many loose ends that left me hanging. I actually tried to turn more pages in my Kindle, thinking I missed a few pages, but it wasn’t to be.

Though Just Like Family was flawed, just like this dysfunctional family, Ms. Casey created interesting characters, and her visuals were very descriptive. However, the ending left me hollow and wondering what happened to the rest of the story. 

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About The Author

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels and book-length works of nonfiction for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Several of her books have been optioned for major films and television series.

In addition to her own writing, Barbara is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas.

Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with three cats who adopted her: Homer, a Southern coon cat; Reese, a black cat; and Earl Gray, a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.

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Blog Tour Schedule

October 24: Fabulous and Brunette
October 25: Splashes of Joy
October 26: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
October 26: Sandra’s Book Club – review only
October 27: Novels Alive – spotlight
October 27: Long and Short Reviews
October 28: Literary Gold
October 28: All the Ups and Downs

REVIEW AUTHOR

JoAnne Weiss
JoAnne Weiss
JoAnne Weiss, nee Montalbano, was born and raised in NYC until moving to CT with her family when she was 16 and she's never left. Married for 41 years with one grown son, she works in an elementary school office where she's been since it opened in 2003. Prior to that, she was an accountant in several corporations before becoming a stay at home mom for 12 years. JoAnne enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with her family, and extended family as well as with friends. She enjoys cooking and rarely uses a recipe the way it was intended but instead uses them and cooking shows to give her new ideas and suggestions. JoAnne has a huge bucket list of places she'd like to visit but has been lucky enough to travel to England, Italy, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and many states in the U.S. including Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Maine among others. Some of JoAnne's favorite genres include contemporary romance, chick-lit, romantic suspense, and historical romances including regency and those set in the west. JoAnne is on several author's street teams and enjoys interacting with many of them on Facebook as well as reading their newsletters. She has been lucky enough to meet some of her favorite authors among them Susan Mallery, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, Meg Tilly, Beatriz Williams, and Marie Bostwick. JoAnne took a road trip with her sister in the fall of 2019 and visited Nora Roberts' bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland for an authors' signing. She hopes to do more of this in the future. JoAnne leaves reviews for all books she reads on Goodreads and her reviews can be found at https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5001736?ref=nav_mybooks JoAnne currently reviews for two sites - NovelsAlive.com and RomanceJunkies.com Previously she reviewed for Romancing-the-Book.com which has since closed. Payment is in the form of receiving free books to read and review. Her mantra is too many books and not enough time!

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Though Just Like Family was flawed, just like this dysfunctional family, Ms. Casey created interesting characters, and her visuals were very descriptive. However, the ending left me hollow and wondering what happened to the rest of the story. 3-STAR REVIEW: JUST LIKE FAMILY by Barbara Casey