Beatrice Buchanan has spent more years than she can remember distancing herself from everyone close to her. She has no relationship with her grandchildren and the only time she speaks to her daughter is during her weekly fifteen-minute commute to the nail salon. When Bea meets Walter on a cruise she realizes there may be more to life than designer clothes and impressing the ladies at her country club.
We live our entire lives thinking we know those closest to us. But do we ever really?
On the outside, Annabel O'Conner has it all - the perfect husband, two adorable children, and an amazing job. The only thing missing is her mother's love. When Bea begs her daughter to help plan her wedding, Annabel reluctantly agrees. Little does she know the impact of her decision or the surprise that is in store for her!
This emotional and honest women's contemporary fiction novel will tug at your heartstrings and the twist ending will shock you.
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Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1PZabz0
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Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plan-Bea-Hilary-Grossman-ebook/dp/B016E6FS4G
Review: Annabel and her mother Beatrice have a very strained relationship. Anna's life looks perfect from the outside, but on the inside she is broken and lost, just wanting a relationship with her mother. Bea comes across as cold, aloof and manipulative, wanting everything and everyone to follow her commands.
We learn that a tragic event is the cause of their rift, and read about it through flashbacks, which flow seamlessly with the story of the present day. That story--of Anna helping to plan Bea's wedding--is full of laughter and tears.
The characters are all realistically written, flaws and all. As someone who once had a difficult relationship with her own mother, I found the situations equally realistic. I was definitely rooting for Anna and Bea to work through their issues and mend their relationship. But if you want to find out whether or not that happens, you'll have to read the book.
At the end of the book, we are treated to an excerpt from the next one, Plan Cee. I am anxiously awaiting its release already.
**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**
Rating: Four stars
“Good morning, Annabel,” my mother said as I answered my cell phone early Friday morning, a little over a week after her big announcement. Since we’d already had our “scheduled chat” the day before I got a sinking feeling in my stomach she was finally going to enlist my help in her wedding preparations. I didn’t know why I got my hopes up, but after over a week of not hearing one more peep about the wedding, I really thought there was a chance she would switch plans and forgo this whole idea and just dash off to the Justice of the Peace, or something equally sensible.
“Hi Mom,” I said as I hit save on the Power Point presentation I was working on.
“What are you doing today?” she asked, clearly forgetting I had a full-time job.
“Working.” I answered as I tried to ignore the email from a client that popped up on my screen.
“But it’s Friday. Aren’t you off on Fridays?” she asked, perplexed.
“No, Mother.” I sighed. I was so tired of explaining this. “I’m not off. I work from home on Tuesdays and Fridays.”
“Like I said, you’re off.”
“No, Mother, just because I’m home doesn’t mean I’m off. I still have to work all day.” I rolled my eyes and started to walk into the kitchen to refill my coffee cup. “Why doesn’t anyone ever realize when you work from home you still have to work?” I said, exasperated.
“No need to get testy, Dear. A simple ‘I’m busy’ would have sufficed. I can appreciate you have things to do. After all, my day is pretty jam packed too. I have a hair appointment in a little over an hour. I’m thinking about adding some low lights to my hair. Everyone is blonde these days, you know covering up the grays and all. I don’t want to look like everyone else... Especially for the wedding.”
“You would probably look very pretty darker. I remember when you were a brunette. I liked it.” Over my lifetime my mother has had every color hair imaginable. I had no clue what her natural shade was. I wondered if she even remembered.
“Oh yes. I was mahogany brown when Brody graduated middle school,” she let out a deep sigh. “Those were the good old days, weren’t they?”
I smiled as I thought back, “They sure were, Mom. Do you remember—”
Before I could continue, she cut me off. “Good. So you agree. Low lights are the way to go. Then after my hair I am going to Walter’s apartment in the city to help pack up. He is officially moving in with me tonight. Isn’t it exciting?”
“I guess.” I didn’t know how I really felt about it. On one hand, Walter seemed like a very nice guy. But they were moving extremely fast. After all, they had only known each other a few months.
“He isn’t going to give up the apartment, of course. What a location!” My mother exclaimed. “It has magnificent views of Central Park. We will weekend there, of course. It’s the perfect get-a-way!”
“Sounds lovely.” I stirred some half and half into my coffee. “I don’t remember the last time Cole and I had a weekend in the city,” I mused. Before we had kids Cole and I would spend at least a weekend a month in Manhattan. Sometimes we’d catch a show, but more often than not we’d just walk around, pretend to be tourists. It was amazing, despite having lived your entire life on Long Island, like Cole and I both had, you never seemed to experience all the sights. In fact, I was actually almost twenty years old when I went to the top of the Empire State Building for the first time.
“You two should go one of these days then. I don’t understand why you don’t.”
“You’re right. We should go. I’m sure Connie and Patrick would gladly take the kids for a weekend. I hate to impose, but really I’m sure they wouldn't mind. After all, they’re always begging to have the kids stay for an overnight.”
“You should take them up on it,” she replied. Although I expected the response it still stung me like a hard slap across the face. Just once I wished my mother would offer to spend time with my children. What grandmother didn’t want to dote on her grand babies?
But rather than express the hurt and disappointment I felt, I opted to just abort the call. “Okay, Mom. I gotta go. I have to get back to work, and it seems like we resolved your hair conundrum.”
“Yes. Thanks for your help. But that wasn’t why I called. Today I am tied up and you apparently have work to do. So I guess that leaves tomorrow. We really need to pick out invitations for the wedding.”
“What?” I asked.
“Invitations. Annabel, the wedding is in three months. We have to begin planning, time is running out. I don't know how long they will take but I want to send them out in sufficient time. I don’t want anyone to think they were on the B list. There is nothing worse than being an afterthought invitee.”
“You need my help in selecting invitations?” I asked as I sat back down in front of my computer.
“Of course, I told you all of this already. Really sweetie sometimes I think you don't listen to a word I say. I need your help with all of this. I'm in way over my head. I love Walter so much. I want this day to be perfect. I don’t want to mess anything up. So yes, I want your help. No, I need your help. Come by my house at one o’clock and we will drive over to the store together.”
I took a deep breath. Tell me again, why did I say yes to this? But I wasn’t going to back out. “Sure, Mom,” I answered unenthusiastically.
“Great. Oh, before I let you go. Guess who called me to offer congratulations?”
“Who?” I asked.
“Cole’s mother, Connie. She was so sincere. Like a breath of fresh air,” Beatrice gushed. “Oh, what a delightful woman. Okay, well I'll see you tomorrow,” she said as she hung up not waiting for me to reply or say goodbye.
Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addiction 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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