Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SPOTLIGHT AND EXCERPT: Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman

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Book Information

Title: Plan Bea
Author: Hilary Grossman
Release Date: October 14, 2015
Genres: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Booktrope

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How well do you really know the people in your life?

Annabel O’Conner has the perfect husband, two adorable children, an amazing job, and the mother from hell! Annabel doesn’t like it but has come to terms with the fact that her relationship with her mother, Bea, deteriorated to the point of forced and strained communications. However, an unscheduled call from Bea turns her world around and makes Annabel question everything she believed about her life.

Despite the fact secrets, lies, and misplaced blame have destroyed the women’s relationship; Annabel reluctantly agrees to help Bea plan her wedding. Little does Annabel know the impact of her decision.

In this Women’s Contemporary Fiction novel, Hilary Grossman explores the complex relationship that exists between mothers and daughters in a light-hearted and relatable manner.


“I’ll get it!” Violet yelled as she raced to the front door. Since I wasn’t expecting anyone I trailed behind her. My mother was waiting on the other side of the door.
“Oh, you again,” Violet said with her hand on her hip and head cocked to the side. “You’re coming around a lot lately. Are you planning on moving in or something?”
“You sure got your mother’s mouth, don’t you, darling,” Beatrice replied.
“Yep! I do! I call ‘em how I see ‘em,” Violet answered, unfazed.
“What are you doing home anyway? Shouldn’t you be in school?” Beatrice asked sounding annoyed more than concerned.
“Strep!” Violet yelled before she ran back into the den to resume playing with Harley, who was also under the weather.
“Is she contagious Annabel? I can’t be getting sick you know. There is too much to do with the wedding right around the corner.”
“You’ll be fine Mother. It’s not like you were planning on kissing or playing with her. Besides, she’s on antibiotics.”
“If you say so, I guess I’ll have to trust you.” She removed her coat and handed it to me. “But if I get sick, you will be to blame.”
What grandmother acted like this, I wondered. Connie had always been the complete opposite. I remembered the first time Violet got sick. She was six months old and had a fever of one hundred and three. I didn’t know what to do. Connie was the first person I called. She went to the pediatrician with me and then even slept over just in case we needed anything. She never worried about herself. She just wanted to help nurse her grandbabies back to health.
“If you’re not comfortable being here Mother, there is no reason to stay. We can talk on the phone.”
“No, no. I’ll be okay, I’m sure. I have hand sanitizer somewhere in this purse.”
“Oh, good,” I answered as I tried to keep my sarcasm under control. “What are you doing here, anyway?” I asked as I pulled my hair into a ponytail. “I wasn’t expecting you. I’m working from home today.”
“I know. Which is precisely why I came by. I figured since you were home you’d have time to go over the guest list.”
I bit my tongue as I followed her into my kitchen. It was pointless trying to explain to her work is work regardless of where I’m performing it. She was never going to understand, because she didn’t want to. “Do you want some coffee?”
“Only if it’s fresh.”
I filled two cups and joined her at the kitchen table where she already had a stack of papers sitting.
I took a sip of my coffee and picked up the papers. “There are a lot of names here,” I remarked. “How big is this shindig going to be?”
“I am trying to keep it under three hundred and fifty but that’s easier said than done. Between Walter and myself there are just so many people we have to include,” she answered before taking a sip of coffee. As soon as she swallowed her face puckered up as if I gave her poison. “I thought you said this was fresh, Annabel.” She dramatically moved her cup to the side.
“It is. I made it only about an hour ago. And besides, I like it,” I answered as I took another sip. “Do you want me to make you something else? Maybe a cup of tea?”
“No. I’m fine. Let’s just get down to business so you can continue about your day.” She handed the handwritten pages over to me, “Here’s my preliminary list. Walter has his own, of course. I didn’t bring that one. You won’t know anyone on it, I’m sure. But I did want to check if you or Cole wanted to include anyone I missed. After all, your mother doesn’t get married everyday!” She beamed.
I scanned the names. On the bottom of the very last page, and written in a different color ink, clearly indicating an after-thought, were Cole’s parents and sister’s names.
“Figures,” I muttered.
“Did you say something, Annabel?” She asked as her steel gray eyes peered into mine.
“No. I’m glad to see you managed to include the O’Conner’s.”
“Of course I did,” Beatrice smiled. “I knew you wouldn’t want it any other way.”
“Is it safe to assume my kids are invited or would you prefer I find a random babysitter?” I asked.
“Annabel, really. Was that comment necessary?”
I didn’t reply. I knew my tone indicated my frustration, but really, was it such a far out question given how close my mother was to my children?
“Of course they're invited,” she answered, not missing a beat. “I want them to be my ring bearer and flower girl. They are my grandchildren after all. But it probably would be a good idea for you to arrange to have a babysitter come along too. You do want to make sure they stay occupied and out of trouble.” She reached for the undrinkable cup of coffee and took a sip. “Why do you always think the worst of me? Seriously, Annabel, it would be nice if just one time you could cut me a little slack.”
“Slack Mother? Really? You’ve got to be kidding. What do you think I have been doing all these years?” I blurted out; instead of swallowing the words they came spilling out of my mouth. Speaking my mind was addictive. The more I did it the more I wanted to let out everything that has been troubling me for so long.
“If that’s what you want to tell yourself, fine. But you know what? You can lie to others but you can’t lie to yourself. I’m not afraid to admit it; I know I made a lot of mistakes. I know I handled a lot of situations extremely poorly,” she said, as she made sure her caramel chignon was in place.
“You can say that again,” I mumbled, a little louder than I planned to.
“Yes, I know I did. And I’m not the only one. You have been far from perfect yourself.” She said pointedly.
“What do you mean?” I asked, confused.
“What about it?” I asked, not sure where she was going.
“I could understand given everything that had happened why you wanted to dash off to St. Kitts rather than have a proper wedding and reception. I could also understand why you wished to marry Cole alone and keep the ceremony intimate.”
I swallowed hard but didn’t say anything.
“I would even be able to accept it, but that wasn’t what happened, now was it?” Beatrice snarled.
I took a deep breath, but remained quiet.
She didn’t take her eyes off me, “I asked you a question, Annabel. I deserve an answer.”
“What are you getting at, Mother?” I asked as I pushed my cup of coffee away. I no longer had any interest in drinking it.
“You know damn well what I am getting at. And you still haven’t answered my question.”
My mind reeled. Could my mother have possibly known what really happened on the island? When I had told Connie my plan she tried to make me change my mind. She begged me to reconsider, in fact. But I was too stubborn. I didn't want to heed her advice. She warned me I was playing with fire and I couldn't keep the secret forever. I didn't want to believe her. Who was I trying to fool? I think at the time I truly hoped my mother would learn the truth. Part of me wanted to hurt her just as much as she had hurt me. But now I am no longer dealing in hypotheticals and I felt sick to my stomach. I had secretly felt guilty about this decision for years. For so many reasons, guilt has been my constant companion.
I removed the rubber band that was securing my hair in place and nervously ran both my hands through my hair, scratching my scalp hard in the process. “I don’t know what to say,” I replied softly. “You clearly already know the answer.”
“Yes, I do. And you want to know how I know? I know because I was there.”

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Author Biography

Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addition to denim and high heel shoes. She likens life to a game of dodge ball - she tries to keep as many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn't writing, blogging, or shoe shopping she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on the beach in Long Island.

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1 comment:

Hilary said...

Thank you so much for featuring Plan Bea on your blog!