Holding On – Karen Stivali – 5 stars

February 17, 2013 Read in 2013, Sent 0


The Blurb:

When you have everything you’ve ever dreamed of, the hard part is Holding On.

British NYU professor Daniel Gardner thinks life can’t get better than the day his three-year-old stepdaughter, Ella, calls him Daddy for the first time. Then his wife Marienne tells him she’s pregnant. Daniel is thrilled, but worried about Marienne’s health. Not wanting to cause her stress he turns to writing to calm his nerves. He pens a screenplay, thinking it’s nothing more than a mental health exercise, but when a colleague reads it and hands it to a producer, it turns into a production contract. Daniel accepts the offer and transfers to a teaching position at Dartmouth, hoping that small town living and a shorter commute will simplify his life.

As he attempts to juggle his new responsibilities he gets an unexpected letter from Roger, the father he never knew. For the first time since they met, Daniel and Marienne are at odds; she wants him to give Roger a chance but Daniel wants nothing to do with the man he thinks abandoned his mother. As Daniel and Marienne struggle they must contend with interference from Daniel’s sexy ex-wife, who appears to want him back, and a handsome, all-too-helpful single dad who desires Marienne as more than a play-date pal. They must both confront deep-seated issues with trust and acceptance if they’re going to find a way to make their marriage work and hold on to the love they share.


My Thoughts:

This is another instance when Twitter is your best friend for finding new authors and books to read.  In this case I once again was lucky enough to have the luck to win this from Karen.  I decided to read this immediately after reading Meant To Be and have to say I loved both of them even more.

This takes place a little over a year after Meant To Be and they have been settling in to married life.  Daniel and Marienne have discovered they are having a baby but as the pregnancy progresses Daniel realizes he wants to work closer to home so he doesn’t have to worry if anything happens.  Working in NYC and living in New Jersey has him spending too much time on the commute and as she goes in to labor while he is in NYC during a snowstorm he knows that he needs a change.  Luckily for him an offer to teach at Dartmouth with a trusted mentor comes open and he gets to have a chance to live the life he has always dreamed of.

Once in New Hampshire old hurts and doubts start to creep in on both sides.  Daniel has written a screenplay that has been green lighted for production out in California while Marienne meets a single dad with a kid about the same age as her daughter.  Add to this the fact that Daniel’s ex tries to get back in the picture and Daniel’s long lost father appearing in his life, you have the recipe for a severe meltdown.  What I adore is the fact that even when they fight there is a huge amount of love underneath everything that they say and do.  There is no intentional or truly mean behavior on both their parts but they do have major issues with trust that cannot be healed with just words but time and action.


Both books are incredibly realistic in that nothing is white-washed over and they have real issues to work through.  I adored them both but my heart was definitely stolen by Daniel.  Thanks again to Karen for giving me this book without asking for review.  I adored both of them.


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