Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn't shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie's heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.
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Customer Reviews for Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words
Interrupted by Rachel Coker is a book about growing up. It is 1939 and Alcyone Everly is a girl ready to turn 14 tomorrow. Her friend Sam Carroll is steady and stands beside her no matter what but he is always so friendly no matter what and it bugs her. Alcyone, Ally to her friends, has a hard life. Her mother is different from most people for goodness sake she named Alcyone after a star. Now she is forgetting things and sees things that aren’t there and she is so tired now sleeping all the time. Last year the Dr Murphy diagnosed brain cancer but her mother refused to seek treatment. Ally has been taking care of her mother for quite a while now and Ally is so afraid that she will die. Her mother is all that she has since her father left the family 6 years ago. Then the unspeakable happens—her mother dies. Right after the funeral the social worker the social worker allows Ally to pack a few things and states that the rest is to be sold to pay for the funeral even her beloved piano. Ally is taken to live in Maine with Beatrice Lovell who wants to adopt her and become her mother. Ally refuses to let anyone in to be close except Charlotte (Charlie to her friends) and Irene her new sister. Beatrice never gives up and continues to pray for her and love her and try to accept Ally’s rejection of her. Can Ally grow to reach out and let others and God into her life? How can she deal with the men, boys really, going off to war, maybe never to return? This is her story and how she faces life. I liked this story. Ally has many of the same qualities and problems that many girls face growing up no matter the times. In that respect this book is timeless. Ally also has the problems of loving people and knowing that they may leave her—some through death, some through walking away—and she must learn to love and trust anyway. It is a story of growing up in uncertain times. In this particular story is during times of the loss of a parent and wartime but all of history has its uncertainty and as humans we must as we grow learn to love and trust or we become people who never know the joys that God means for us to have in this life. This book can be read and enjoyed by all but it feels made most especially for women of the ages of high school and older though can safely be read but though much younger. This book was provided for this review by Zondervan.
It always fascinates me when authors are published that are younger than me as in a way somebody reminded me today that even though I don't write fiction , I am still a writer as I continue to write reviews etc. I find though that when young ones are published, it's such an achievement on their behalf as the journey to writing the book is a long one filled with research, writing, editing, re-writes etc. Interrupted takes us on a journey to the year 1925 , where we are introduced to the main character Allie , her mother and the annoying next door neighbour Sam. Allie is fourteen years old and looking after her mother, her mother is dying and unwell mentally. Allie besides her next door neighbour Sam keeps to herself , helping her mother get well and remember things. To me it seemed like her mother had a case of Alzheimer's Disease or Mental health issues- this part of the story hit quite close to home for me as I have a Granddad with Alzheimer's , a sibling with Autism and another sibling with Mental Health issues and a dad who works in the mental health field. Halfway, through the novel tragedy strikes and Allie is sent to live in a foster home in Maine, with a woman named Miss Beatrice. Life for Allie is difficult as she misses her mother terribly. As the novel goes along, we see Allie struggle with Beatrice's religious ways and starts to communicate with her mother the only way she knows how - in a series of letters and poems. When Sam later down in the track locates Allie, it stirs up alot of bottled up emotions , can Allie learn to forgive and move on from her past in order to move forth with the future or is it too late for her as World War #2 begins and Sam is called for duty ? Find out in Rachel Coker's debut novel "Interrupted - A Life Beyond Words".
Before I get to the review, I have to compliment Rachel for getting published! This is such an accomplishment. I eagerly wait what else you'll publish.
Now for the review. :-) Interrupted is set in the early nineteen-forties. Rachel did a fantastic job researching things in that time period from the ice-box to jukeboxes and gramophones. She also weaved the Second World War into the storyline to add the right amount of tension.
Our main character in this story is Alcyone (or as she likes to be called, Allie) Everly. The book begins with Allie at a mere age of thirteen and comes to a close when she is nineteen. Her mama is very sick and her memory comes and goes. This leaves Allie trying to help her remember and get better. Rachel throws in several sweet scenes with Allie and her mother and their neighbor Sam Carroll, but more about him later. Within a few chapters, we discover her mother suffers from a cancerous brain tumor and that she won't get better. I have lost a loved one to cancer when I was very young so I felt I could relate to Allie's many feelings when her mother passed away. After her mother's funeral, Allie was adopted by Beatrice Lovell.
To my great pleasure, I now get to introduce you to Sam Carroll, who in my humble opinion is just awesome. He has his flaws but he has a good heart. He would follow Allie around, tease her, and make her laugh. He's quite endearing and it's quite clear he has a crush on Allie. Allie was raised to believe (though she questions it) that Heaven doesn't exist and that Christians will "make you believe they care" when they really don't. This is where Beatrice truly shows Allie, through her actions, the love of God. I think Rachel handled Allie's "come-to-Jesus" moment and everything coming up to that point fairly well. It felt different to read about a character who didn't believe. A good kind of different.
This book had me wanting to know how events played out, if my questions would be answered, and so on. I wasn't disappointed. I felt like over the course of the book we really got see Allie grow into the young woman God wanted her to be.
Congratulations again, Rachel!
I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review, which I have done.
I really liked this light, romantic young adult novel. It is also supposed to be a Christian novel, although I can't in all honesty say I saw much of God in there. It begins a few years before WWII, and ends during the war.
The elements of romance, friendship and dealing with grief were very well and realistically done. Allie has had a great deal of trouble dealing first with her mother's illness and then her untimely death. She can't get rid of the bitterness and pain, and finds that the only way she can survive would be to close her heart to everyone and everything. I really liked this aspect of the novel. It felt very realistic to me, and I think it would to everyone who has had to deal with a painful 'interruption' of their life.
Allie is adopted by a woman who lives in an Avonlea-type little town, where there are a lot of colourful characters, including her step-mother, and step-sister. These people seek to help her ease her pain, but she won't let anyone in. Then her childhood friend arrives, but he is not alone. Right on his heels is a great war. There are not many details given to war-time, just the general idea that the men are away fighting. There wasn't much historical information in this book, nor historical detail.
I would rate this book higher if God was really present in it, in a more personal way, and not just in the from of Sunday-morning church. Still, for a secular book, it was clean, and in every other aspect an excellent read.
I still can't imagine how a home-schooled 16-year-old could portray human nature so well. I will be watching this author from now on.
I received this beautiful hard-cover book from Zondervan for review.
Zondervan provided me with this book free for the purpose of review.
The story unfolds as Alcyone, the fourteen year old daughter of a single mom, awakens her daughter to see the stars at 2:52AM. Mom is a lady that wants her daughter to enjoy and experience many things so a 2:52 AM wake up to look at stars is not uncommon. Mom was talented in so many areas voice, piano, poetry and reading to her precious daughter for many hours. Reading led Alcyone to a deep relationship with Emily Dickinson and her works. Alcyone and her mom were blessed in their relationship that would always be Alcyone's strength and courage. It would also be her greatest point of distrust. In a single moment Alcyone is faced with circumstances she can neither prevent nor control and at 14 that is mind boggling.
Sam Carroll, that annoying classmate of Alcyone's forever was over to bring a birthday present. Not because Alcyone wanted one from him but because he was Sam and that was what he did. He cannot fix her circumstances but .......... Sam appears in and out of Alcyone's life more than one time and you will need to read the book to see it.
Rachel Coker is a homeschool student in Virginia who is now publishing her first book. She has done an outstanding job in her first historical fiction novel. The intrigue and mystery is fascinating. I definitely enjoyed the book and I feel privileged to be able to encourage this young woman in her writing.
I’m personally kind of over historical fiction so I wasn’t all that excited about reading this, but it was worth it. It turned out to be my favorite kind of historical fiction, the kind that’s about the characters, not the time period they live in. It was very natural. I also appreciated the take on foster care/adoption from that era. I thought Allie was a great character, but I kept reading for Sam. I felt for Allie, being uprooted from her life and all of that, but Sam is pretty swoon-worthy, not gonna lie. Allie’s struggle to stay loyal to her mother while adjusting to her new life and her own changing perceptions was the strongest part of this sweet story.
This is a coming of age kind of story, beginning with a young girl and taking us through years of her life. It explores what kind of life someone would have if they closed themselves off from love. Allie refuses to accept Christianity because her mom didn’t. She refuses to accept love from her adopted mom because she is taking the place of her first mom. She refuses to accept love from a boy because she’s too determined to hang on to her anger and bitterness. It takes a combination of multiple people determinedly showing Allie the love of Christ and a near tragedy to get Allie to surrender to God and love. The story was written in such a way that the Gospel message was summarized, rather than told, but it was there. The book included verses, people sharing God’s love with Allie and her surrendering to God when she finally hit bottom. Overall it does a pretty good job covering it’s message: not to let fear of hurt keep you from accepting and giving love. ~ CTF Devourer
John 1:12-13 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Interrupted: Life Beyond Words by Rachel Coker is an interesting historical novel. The heroine, Allie, is not exactly what you’d call likeable. She can be downright mean…even to those who are kind to her. Yet she’s been through quite a bit and for some reason, I still wanted her to be happy. I don’t know why Sam liked her so much, though :). I felt that having Allie and her mom hate Christians was a bold, unique way to start out a Christian YA novel.
Now, let me examine what I see as the downsides. The book could have been edited better since there were a few grammatical errors/typos that caught my attention. The thing that bothers me most, though, is the repeated use of “g-o-s-h”. I’m sure that Rachel didn’t mean to offend anyone but I don’t like it when authors use God’s name in vain (even if it’s the “mellow” version). Also, it’s concerning to me that Sam (apparently a Christian) was asking someone who was obviously not a Christian to marry him.
Back to what’s positive: As I was observing this new author’s writing style, something that struck me is that Rachel does a wonderful job of writing description. An example of this is “…the rolling grass engulfing me in large green pools”. Great, creative imagery!
Overall, this is a nice novel that held my attention well.
~I received this book for free from Zondervan, through Team Novel Teen, in exchange for my honest review.
"I paused and tapped my pen to my mouth. What's a descriptive word for love? I racked my brain. Adoration...affection...fondness...devotion... I smiled and began scribbling in my notebook again. Devotion."
After thirteen-year-old Alcyone (Allie) Everly's mother passes away, she is forced to move from her home in Tennessee to the shores of Maine. Her adoptive mother, Miss Beatrice, is nice enough, but Allie is convinced that no one can replace her "real" mother. Bitterness and resentment begin to grow in Allie because of the tragedies that she's experienced. She puts a wall between her and anyone who wishes to get close, and she's convinced that true love doesn't exist.
Several years later, the past suddenly collides with the present when Sam Carroll, an old childhood friend, comes to town. Sam's arrival and the war overseas that's beginning to hit too close to home cause changes in Allie's life that force her to deal with the feelings she's held inside for so many years and to discover the truth about love and family.
Sweet...lovely...touching. Rachel Coker's debut novel is truly all of the above. Allie is a well-developed character with a poetic point of view that I loved. I could also relate with her trying to find the perfect word to describe an object or feeling ("dreamy...alluring...enthralling..."). The whole novel itself was sort of "dreamy." I felt like I was watching an old film from the forties. Only a few times was I jolted out of the past when some of the characters spoke a word or slang that sounded too modern.
I will say, that as much as I liked Allie, I wanted to shake her sometimes to snap her out of her mulish tendencies, though I did forgive her later. And Sam...I loved Sam! He was so endearing and sweet. And finally, can I just mention how gorgeous the cover is? When I received the book, I just stared at it for a little while. It's so pretty and fits the mood of the story perfectly. I have to also agree with the Publisher's Weekly quote on the front: "Coker is one to watch."
* I would like to thank the author and publisher for sending me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
I was first introduced to this book a couple weeks ago and the concept of the novel caught my attention. It actually was not what I expected at the start, but what I got within the pages was certainly fulfilling.
The opening starts with a great hook. A girl still too young, taking care of her mom who is slowly slipping away from her. Watching this girl take on more than should be put on her shoulders made my heart yearn to help her.
The middle I thought lacked a bit of power to keep the story from growing a bit slow. I could understand Ally’s bitterness - after a while I grew tired of it. She has people loving and yearning to help her and she continuing ignores the kindness.
That said, I didn’t grow bored with the story and just about the time I was looking for something to move it forward, something did. I thought the ending was completely endearing and I loved how it closed. It carefully tips and tucks and rounds characters out nicely.
My only true complaint about the story? I wanted to see more of Sam. He is such a sweet character…one I wished I could have gotten to know better. But his mysteriousness is definitely a draw. (smile)
All in all…a very good debut novel.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for my ARC to review.
I loved the emotions that leaped off the page. This book made me feel. Sorry for Allie. Sorrow for her loss. Hurt for how hurt she felt. Happy-but-almost-afraid-to-feel-happy when Sam made her laugh at the beach in that first sweet scene after they're reunited and she figures out where she knows him from.
I also loved that although, yes, author Rachel Coker is seventeen years old, her style is mature. Not just for her age, either. Mature, period, in a grab-my-heart-glue-my-hands-to-this-story way.
It's evident from the first line that Allie is a strong, capable heroine. But in order to protect herself, she bars her heart against the unforgiving world and the God her mother has told her not to believe in. Her journey toward faith in others, faith in God, and faith in love is an inspiring one. The Christian message is not preachy or pushy, but woven intricately within the storyline.
The ending left me with a sigh and a smile. Sam, oh, adorable, heart-warming Sam.
What I Didn't Like As Much
The book started slowly for me. It took me a few days to read the first seventy pages or so, but from the moment Sam reenters Allie's life, the story is off like a roller coaster as she experiences smiles and sadness, the best and the bitter.
Why I Recommend This Book
The struggles of not only Allie, but for the people who surround her are so...genuine. I truly loved this story. I would recommend it for anyone who has experienced as devastating a loss as Allie's, because the author writes of the deep emotions with great grace.
Historically-accurate, Interrupted put me in that WWII era (there was even a scene set on June 7th, my birthday, that opened my eyes into how it must have felt to live through the news trickling in about the invasion of Normandy). It also put me into Allie's heart as she hurts and heals. I actually wasn't aware before I read it that it was romantic, but it is, and in a lovely way.
This is such a beautiful book, and the story is unbealivablely wrote by sixteen year old who is still in school.
When Allie Everly lost her mother to cancer she was sent to to Maine to live with an adoptive mother whom she had never meet she was very upset. She begin to think that if her friend Sam had not come she may have gotten to her mother in time to save her, so she blames herself for this lost. She had just lost her mother and now she was having to move away from her home and friends, so she became very bitter.
She was sent to live with Miss Beatrice Lowell a prim woman with a great faith in God, whom Allie had not done in her life. Her life now was in turmoil until Sam comes back into her life. When Sam arrived for the summer she was so confused and unhappy but with World War ll on the horizon Allie will be forced to decide how she wanted her life to be.
This beautiful book was sent to me by Zondervan Publishing and the review is my own.
I really enjoyed Rachel Coker's debut novel. Allie's devotion to caring for her mother is endearing. When her mother dies, the woman who adopts Allie seems to expect a natural closeness between them. Allie digs her heels in, reserving her affection for her biological mother, and I did too initially.
The development of the relationship between Allie and Sam is heartwarming, though at times Allie was so mean to Sam, I felt sorry for him. The looming war (World War II) adds just enough pressure to their relationship and other aspects of the story.
Wonderful read. Rachel Coker is definitely an author I'll be keeping an eye on!