‘The Making of Nebraska Brown’ – Louise Caiola
The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory.
All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family – each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded.
Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn’t know who to trust especially when Tommy’s lies become too obvious to ignore. And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to.
‘The Making of Nebraska Brown’ tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.
About the author:
As a young girl who spent her allowance on Nancy Drew mysteries, Louise realized that one day, she might have a story of her own to tell. Maybe even more than one story. After years focused on raising her children she eventually reconnected with her passion for creative writing. She soon began to craft a large collection of short stories which were published in the inspirational online magazine, Faithhopeandfiction.com. Shortly thereafter, she authored her first novel, ‘Wishless’, a contemporary Young Adult novel, released in 2011.
Louise devotes a portion of each day to honing her skills. She has several other novels currently in various stages of development. A confirmed bibliophile, Louise enjoys reading outdoors on a warm spring day and watching her pup chase leaves on a breeze. She looks forward to meeting others who share her love of the written word and invites you to visit her blog, her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
An unusual story from Louise Caiola, ‘The Making of Nebraska Brown’ had me hooked straight from the beginning. At first I thought this was a story about a young woman who appears to have suffered from memory loss, but there is a lot more being offered in this narrative.
Ana (Italian version) or Ann Leigh (Nebraskan version)? The main protagonist feels completed isolated from those around her in what is apparently her life in Italy. Everyone else knows her but she does not. The loneliness and panic that Ana experiences is very believable, and coupled with the flashbacks to her life in Nebraska, the whole idea of disjointed memories leaves readers being as desperate to piece Ana back together as she is herself.
The two lives that we are presented with are very different. First, Ann Leigh in Nebraska looks to be trapped in a marriage that she doesn’t love in return, stuck in a small town and helping to run the family business, a growing diner-restaurant. On the flip side, Italian Ana lives and works with her attractive and wealthy boyfriend, living a typical Italian lifestyle and enjoying everything that is offered. When these two worlds seemingly collide in Ana’s head, she questions her Italian life and what she thinks she knows. Suddenly suspicious of her boyfriend and his apparent support towards her, I found myself hoping that Ana would find inner peace and learn what connects these two very different lives.
This is the first book I have read by Caiola and I really enjoyed it. I was very quickly drawn into the narrative and had lots of questions about where the story would go in a very short space of time. It is a very intriguing plot and with every question that Ana answers, a load more surface to be addressed. The flashbacks between past and present are seamlessly embedded into the narrative and each time Ana returns to the present, the author leaves us on a cliffhanger, desperate, like Ana, to know what happens next.
This is a great read and one I would definitely visit again. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it different to other books I have read recently. I would be interested to see what other books this author has written and am glad I was given the opportunity to read this. You can easily immerse yourself into the story and before you know it, you won’t want to put it down.
This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Excerpt from the novel:
Tommy sat down beside me. His musky cologne smelled familiar. His espresso-colored brown hair parted over on the left side of his head, draped over his ears in dogged springiness. I’d told him I liked it shorter. I knew that, too. “Of course. We were supposed to meet there for lunch, like we always do on Tuesdays. What’s going on? Why are you playing games?”
I let my head fall into the cushion. Tears tempted me to cry them. They’d been behaving for hours now. I clamped my lids shut, breathed through my mouth. “I’m not playing. I don’t know what happened. I can’t remember why I’m here or who I am. Who you are.”
His hand fell on my knee like winter’s first snow, easy and without a sound. When he spoke, he used that same tone—sweet and calm as dawn. “Ana, it’s me. Tommy. And you’re you. We’re us. Have been for over a year.”
I wound my fingers with his, searched his face for the other half of this “us” he referred to. He pulled me close. Caramel wafted at me from inside that bag, slapping me around, calling me silly. Tommy held the small of my back in his palm. His hands were large, strong and sure, the kind of hands that had never had a frightened moment in their whole life.
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