Tuesday, January 29, 2013

marshmallows for breakfast

marshmallows for breakfast
dorothy koomson
bantam dell
published 2007

How do you explain those unexpected moments of love?...When Kendra Tamale returns to England from Australia she rents a room from Kyle, a separated father of two, and begins a new job. She's looking forward to a fresh start and a simple life.

Kyle's six-year-old twins, Summer and Jaxon, have other ideas and quickly adopt Kendra as their new mother - mainly because she lets them eat marshmallows for breakfast. Kendra eventually becomes a part of their lives, even though she's hiding a painful secret that makes her keep everyone - especially children - at arm's length.

Then Kendra bumps into the man who shares her awful secret, and everything falls apart: she can't sleep, she can't eat, she's suspended from work, and the kids are taken away by their mother. The only way to fix things is to confess to the terrible mistake she made all those years ago. But that's something she swore never to do...

There are sometimes books that I buy that sit on my shelves forever.  I don't read them.  Something else comes along first and since I own these books I don't have to read them right away.  Finally, I pick one up and read it and kick myself for having waited so long to get to it.

Marshmallows for Breakfast is one of those.

My sister-in-law gave me My Best Friend's Girl years ago.  It was Dorothy Koomson's first US release and it tore me in half.  I think I cried through most of the book.  Marshmallows for Breakfast was different, but no less stunning.  There was so much going on and it felt like it happened so quickly.  It was a constant series of gut punches.  And you thought you knew what was happening, but you didn't.

Koomson writes the most realistically flawed and perfect characters.  There is something you can instantly relate to in everyone.  They become friends, people you know or wish you did know.  Their hurt, their joys, their fears are absorbed into you and you are better for it.  There were times when I found myself touching the words on the page wishing I could comfort Kendie or Summer or Ashlyn or someone, anyone.

I didn't cry like I did when I read My Best Friend's Girl.  This book was happier, even with the sad parts.  But I loved it just as much I think.  These aren't romance novels, though they deal with love.  There is always something more in them.  Something that aches.  They aren't just about loss or grief or terror, they are just about people and the choices they make and how they live with those choices.

There is no way that I can't read all of her books now.  After the first book I went online and found that despite her having written 5 books at the time only My Best Friend's Girl and Marshmallows for Breakfast were available for purchase in the US.  I fear I must now stalk the interwebs until I can find them all!

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