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Carry yourself back to me (Deborah Reed)

There is never good timing for heart ache. It can take the form of a fog, or a striking pain, it is different for everyone and has no miracle cure. Annie Walsh is a singer song writer, no longer fresh to the scene but with bated breath fans waiting for her next release. They will be waiting a longer than they expect though, as Annie has lost her muse and she is hermit-ted, seemingly a new person (broken).
Annie has been self medicating as only she can see fit. She has been hiding from the world for months. When her boyfriend Owen abruptly left her, her focus switched to the grove of Tangelos out front and ensuring that they are tended to. Her secondary focus is on sandpapering Owen out of her existence. Music no longer matters..
After sIx months of hiding out, wallowing in her pain, and seething in her anger.. Annie is just beginning to numb, to reach an internal understanding and start to heal. Because the universe is cruel (and authors are more so) this poor woman just cannot catch a break, Annie’s brother Calder is arrested for murder. This news brings her back into the celebrity spotlight, and brings Owen back into her town and knocking on her door. She is forced to come out into the light, and deal with her life.
On the Novel – It is hard to go into too much detail on this book, it does not deserve to be critically analyzed or torn apart; it begs to be consumed to be embraced to be thrown across the room in a fit of “I hate you” and to be gently picked back up to continue consumption. Deborah Reed built it with layer upon layer of emotion and I am finding it hard to do it justice in any form of discussion.. It is painful to read and heart wrenching to put down. Reed’s book made my soul ache.
This is easily one of the best novels I have read in years. I am proud to have this book on my shelf. Folks who are into literary fiction, musician novels, being stabbed emotionally, and experiencing ambiguity as to your personal opinion of cheating lying men.. This book may be for you. If you are a cheating lying man, this may also be for you. If you like sad tales of like those of country story tellers past, this may be for you.
I say pick it up, even if you do not know if it is up your alley. You know 15 people you can give it to who will thank you for it and love it when you are done. It’s just that good.
On a slight aside note – You hear a lot of people ask authors “what did you listen to while you were writing this” or “what would be on the soundtrack for this book”. This book goes one further because it IS a soundtrack. The characters, being musicians make a number of references to great music, I highly suggest that readers who are unfamiliar with specific works mentioned should look them up. The prose of the novel is already melodic, and the strength of the characters provides a constant rhythm, backing it with real world music adds a depth, characters become real people.. Specifically check out Brush Prairie and the song “Carry Yourself Back To Me”. You will notice that the EP cover and the book cover are similar.. I do not know if the book inspired the song, or the other way, but both are excellent.
On the Author – I listened to Reed do some speaking at WordStock 2011. She was kind to the fat bearded man (me) who walked up and advised he had never heard of her, but was glad to have caught her round table discussion. She was incredibly nice and interesting insert other pleasant words here. I was pleased to be able to catch her at the convention and chat for a couple minutes. I highly suggest fans go to her events and say “Hi”, you won’t regret it.
    This book was provided to me free by the the author after talking to hundreds of strangers at a convention and likely just wanting to go home and crash… (thank you!)

    This review is based on a book kindly provided for free by the publisher or author. Please check my FTC Douche-claimer for details regarding this disclaimer’s existence.


    1. [...] Wildly gorgeous review from a mystery blogger. Thank you, whoever you are. [...]

    2. What a beautiful, heart-felt, ebullient review. I totally agree: Give Carry Yourself Back to Me to 15 people and they will read it thank you for the experience. My book group, about a dozen people, read CYBTM, and absolutely loved it.

    3. Thanks for stopping in Sharon, I am glad that others are having the same reaction I did, other bloggers love this book, but I haven't seen much feedback outside the blog community.

      That's fantastic [book club note]!
      I keep trying to get my wife to read this, but she is in a mood lately for only junk fiction. Nothing wrong there, but doesn't help me have someone to discuss with. :)

      Off to check your blog..

    4. Anyone else stopping in here, go check out Sharon Harrrigan's review of the same book. she takes it a level deeper in analysis than i do, and does so while still remaining conversational in presentation.

      This is hard to do and worth checking out.

    5. An absolutely lovely book, I agree. Another highlight, for me, is the strong sense of place in this book, which seems lacking in so many recent novels focused on matters of the human heart.


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