This review was prepared by the fine people at 'Writers in the Sky Podcast and Blog.' It is very well thought out and I thought you might enjoy reading what others are saying about my book.
Title of Document: Book Review
Book Title: As Long As He Needs Me
Author: Mary Verdick
ISBN Number: 978-1-4327-2427-6
Genre and Target Market: fiction; romance; family
Publication Date: 2009
Book Length in Pages: 215
There are times when I want to dive into a completely fantastical novel that transports me to a life or a place that could never be my own. Maybe it's a sci-fi adventure in which an alien life form threatens the existence of everyone on our planet. Or, it could be a historical piece that takes place in the royal courts of Victorian England. Sometimes books can provide that perfect escape that a reader needs from her everyday existence. However, other times I prefer to settle in with a story that is completely familiar, one that portrays the challenges and comforts that come with human relationships and exposes the emotional frailties that exist in all of us. As Long as He Needs Me, the new release by author Mary Verdick, beautifully fits into the latter category. This fictional work does not necessarily allow the reader to escape, but certainly provides an opportunity to be challenged with very real emotions.
As Long as He Needs Me tells the story of Kitty and Clem Johanssen, a couple that has just embarked upon a cruise to celebrate their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. However, the ship does not even leave the port before events change the course of their vacation. Both husband and wife are forced to confront their own feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and loneliness. Along the way, Verdick does a beautiful job of slowly revealing details of the history of Johanssen's lives through flashbacks and conversations. We learn about their children, their parents, and other relationships that all contributed to the current dynamic of the marital bond. I imagine every reader will be able to identify with at least one of the supporting characters in the novel, if not with the husband or wife directly, making the emotions all the more piercing and convicting. You cannot help but become invested in the success of Kitty and Clem's marriage once their entire story is told.
One of the great strengths of Mary Verdick's writing throughout As Long as He Needs Me is her ability to capture a genuine sense of human frailty. She does this without creating a sense of pity for her characters and without making them exaggerated in their weakness. Instead, Verdick illustrates the delicate nature of an intimate relationship that has weathered heartache, devastating losses, and old-fashioned jealousy all while being comprised of two unique individuals. No one is completely evil or saintly in As Long as He Needs Me. Just as the reader is about to condemn a character for a despicable act, a detail will be revealed to show the situation is more complex than originally assumed. When writing a story about human nature, that is about as realistic as it comes!
As Long as He Needs Me is a book that I read from cover to cover in one day. This is not because the writing was overly simple, but because Mary Verdick managed to create characters in which I took an interest. I wanted to see the story of the Johanssen's relationship through to the end. And, along the way, I took the time to do some self-reflection on the weaknesses that exist in my own relationships and the way in which I may be contributing to the current dynamic. If you enjoy works of fiction that force you to examine some personal truths, As Long as He Needs Me is a book for you.