A celebration of marriage, narrowly defined.

HIDDEN TREASURE

A WORKBOOK TO HELP YOU DISCOVER THE AMAZING GIFT OF YOUR MARRIAGE

Genuine, accessible advice on strengthening a marriage through communication.

The Fontanas’ debut relationship title delivers a powerful message: “When a marriage succeeds, the nation succeeds. Strong marriages, including yours, are good for EVERYONE!” The authors then explain how. Each chapter after the first explores a relevant topic and presents accompanying worksheets for couples to fill out and discuss. Topics range from the obvious—children, money, sex, etc.—to deeper issues such as different communication styles. The Fontanas include extensive, broadly applicable discussion questions and worksheets for newly married couples, those considering marriage and partners experiencing a rough patch. Nontraditional couples remain unmentioned, and same-sex attraction is only addressed as a potential “issue” to “overcome.” The Fontanas write from a Catholic perspective; they recommend natural family planning and barely explore other pregnancy strategies. They frequently remind readers of their obligations to charity and community service, and a chapter highlights marriage vows in relation to the church and a couple’s obligations to their religious community. Despite such an obvious religious perspective, a friendly and welcoming charm pervades each section. Even the chapter on sex within marriage doesn’t shy away from issues of satisfaction and mutual understanding of each other’s particular needs. Of particular interest is the authors’ emphasis on what they term “a straight message”—clear, nonjudgmental language to convey information, especially with regard to sensitive or controversial topics for the couple. Another sharp insight suggests that clear communication can be subconsciously impeded when couples don’t understand the differing ways they prefer to be loved. Without realizing it, a person will usually show love to his or her spouse in the manner he or she wishes to receive love rather than the style of loving to which the partner responds best: through kindness, for example, or through spending time together or touch. The simple exercises here should bring couples closer by helping them learn about each other and themselves in life and love.

A celebration of marriage, narrowly defined.

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1484085370

Page Count: 102

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2014

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An engaging childhood memoir and a deeply affectionate tribute to the author’s parents.

THIS TIME NEXT YEAR WE'LL BE LAUGHING

The bestselling author recalls her childhood and her family’s wartime experiences.

Readers of Winspear’s popular Maisie Dobbs mystery series appreciate the London investigator’s canny resourcefulness and underlying humanity as she solves her many cases. Yet Dobbs had to overcome plenty of hardships in her ascent from her working-class roots. Part of the appeal of Winspear’s Dobbs series are the descriptions of London and the English countryside, featuring vividly drawn particulars that feel like they were written with firsthand knowledge of that era. In her first book of nonfiction, the author sheds light on the inspiration for Dobbs and her stories as she reflects on her upbringing during the 1950s and ’60s. She focuses much attention on her parents’ lives and their struggles supporting a family, as they chose to live far removed from their London pasts. “My parents left the bombsites and memories of wartime London for an openness they found in the country and on the land,” writes Winspear. As she recounts, each of her parents often had to work multiple jobs, which inspired the author’s own initiative, a trait she would apply to the Dobbs character. Her parents recalled grueling wartime experiences as well as stories of the severe battlefield injuries that left her grandfather shell-shocked. “My mother’s history,” she writes, “became my history—probably because I was young when she began telling me….Looking back, her stories—of war, of abuse at the hands of the people to whom she and her sisters had been billeted when evacuated from London, of seeing the dead following a bombing—were probably too graphic for a child. But I liked listening to them.” Winspear also draws distinctive portraits of postwar England, altogether different from the U.S., where she has since settled, and her unsettling struggles within the rigid British class system.

An engaging childhood memoir and a deeply affectionate tribute to the author’s parents.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64129-269-6

Page Count: 314

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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