My rating: 5 of 5 stars
by Emily Hemmer
WYNN IN DOUBT
The memory of a stolen kiss ten years ago stirs up an adventure eighty years in the making. Wynn Jeffries has wanderlust. Unfortunately, her life stalled somewhere between graduating college and slinging drinks at the local dive bar. Stuck in a one-room apartment with no career, no boyfriend, no…life, she dreams of something more. Something amazing. Something like Oliver Reeve’s, her high school crush, whose back in town and reminding Wynn of the way she used to want things.
When a forgotten news-clipping about two prohibition moonshiners falls out of a book belonging to Wynn’s grandmother, a well-kept family secret is finally revealed. Is Wynn’s gypsy spirit the result of an overactive imagination or did she inherit it from a woman so determined to live a big life she gave up everything to have it?
The choices we make now shape our future. It’s the fear of making the wrong ones that give us doubt. So the question is: how much are we willing to sacrifice to have the life we want?
As I began to read this book I was immediately struck and saddened by the inspiration behind it. In the forward Emily Hemmer recounts the tragic story of her Great Grandmother Lena, who in 1917, decided to divorce her husband. She was just 30 yrs old and a mother to 3 small children. One can only imagine how difficult that must have been, particularly in a time when divorce was such a dirty word. Tragically as a result, Lena was shot dead by her estranged husband and he then turned the gun on himself. Life dealt Lena a cruel hand and her aspirations for a better life for herself and her children were never realised. So many “what if’s” and so many unanswered hypothetical questions led Emily to write this story as a tribute to her Great Grandmothers memory, an alternate ending, perhaps a “what could have been”.
“This is not Lena’s story. It’s Wynn’s story. She’s a young woman looking at her life and asking:Is there more?”
So we meet Wynn Jeffries… an ordinary, sweet, reliable everyday girl trying to find her way through life. While those around her have carved their paths and reached their personal ambitions, Wynn’s life has remained stagnant and upon reflecting on her achievements, or lack of them, she finds herself wishing for more. At the same time, her life is quite suddenly turned upside down when she discovers the boy she’s been in love with for years, the boy who kissed her and walked out of her life, Oliver Reeds, has returned to their home town to take stock of his own life. She has never been able to move past him and has always envied the fact that he went out achieved his dream of becoming a famous musician.
“I spent ten years thinking of Oliver and his lips. When he left I told myself the next time I saw him I’d be living a fabulous life.”
Unfortunately for Wynn when Oliver walks back into her life nothing much has changed, however circumstances that arise after the passing of her beloved grandmother force her to re-evaluate her goals, and a hunger emerges to know her heritage. It becomes clear to her that her path to self-discovery is intrinsically linked to uncovering the secrets that lie in her family history, and so it’s at that point that Wynn embarks on a journey into the past in the hope that with answers she can begin to build a bridge to her future and her dreams.
“I think a dream is something that makes you reach.” “And what are you trying to wrap your hands around?” “A life. One that scares me a little”
This is a beautifully written story of rekindled love, hope and self-discovery that will pull you into its pages and release you with a renewed sense of perspective and possibly ignite a hunger within you to learn your own history. After all we all have a little bit of Wynn in us, we all ask ourselves that poignant question “Isn't there more?”.
I absolutely fell in love with Wynn & Oliver and while I read this powerful story I shed many a tear thinking of my own grandmother and the life she lived. This book is a treasure that I will pass on to my daughters in the hope they too will search for answers to who they are in the personal life stories of the women who came before them.
5 Shining stars all day long!Thankyou Emily xox
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