The Real Thing, Tina Ann Forkner
The Real Thing, Tina Ann Forkner
Genre: women’s Fiction
This book turned out to be a very different read from what I expected, still good but a complete surprise! I thought this would be a fun, rodeo themed how the new wife fits in to the family read, with the ex wife being some beautiful, jealous b itch type, popping up to cause problem’s. I do love those characters 😉 they provide so much fun! Well, the ex does pop up but she’s nothing like I expected and the issues her presence causes are totally different.
I love Manda, though at first she does come off as the teeniest bit spoiled daughter self obsessed. Just saying – she’s not really like that though, her past marriage and problems have really knocked her confidence. Keith’s son is very young and happy to have her around, but Peyton, the 14 going on 24 year old daughter (aren’t they all at that age?) really isn’t happy about dad’s new wife.
Then there’s Keith, handsome, charming rodeo star, and all the issues that come with that. He’s their dad, her husband but on the circuit it feels like he’s everyone’s property….He’s a great guy though, devoted to his family and adores Manda and her sister and dad. They’ve become one big family, with lots of friends they all know from the town they’ve grown up in and the rodeo world.
Manda’s trying hard to fit in, difficult when she’s scared to ride, and Peyton makes it clear that she’s Not a substitute for her mum, that she wants Violet’s things left alone. Poor Manda, I understood her desire to stamp her own mark on their home, but of course Peyton wants her mum’s things left alone. She’s convinced her mum, who disappeared without trace except to forward divorce papers, will return, so when she gets a call on her phone from her she’s ecstatic. Just when they’re beginning to create a new life, when things are going so well then its all turned around.
Its a book that shows how issues affect everyone, how that we all make mistakes, that trying to do the right thing can cause so much pain. I liked that Keith was such a wonderful husband to Manda, and a great dad to the kids, but he’d learned too from his past mistakes, he’d done things he regretted. I liked how Manda had to learn to trust him, to not jump to conclusions because of how her ex was, I loved seeing how Peyton grew, and how they became a family finally, working through all the issues and difficulties to move forward. They were all in a really difficult position, one that’s faced by so many families in one way or another. There a section where someone says “Think about it. Most families don’t fit that conventional bill, whether it’s Grandpa living in the guest room or a single mom working double shifts while Grandma babysits…” and it echoes what I’m always thinking and saying – there is no such thing as “Normal” – whether that’s in families or individuals. Everyone has problems, the perfect life we read about is just a story, in real life we all have things to work past, problems to deal with.
It turned out to be a very different read from what I’d expected, but a very moving and emotional one. Who would know what to do? Which route to choose? And who’s to say which way is best when any decision, any choice can have the potential cause terrible problems. Thankfully, here they all come through but its at times a hard journey.
Stars: Four, a really interesting and moving read. How many families face a problem similar to this and what would I have done?
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes