Tuesday, April 12, 2016

#BlogTour, #BookReview and #Giveaway: How To Woo A Widow by Barbara Allen

HowToWooAWidow_Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for How to Woo a Widow by Barbara Allen! This is book one of the Widow Trilogy and is a contemporary women's fiction novel. The tour runs April 11-22 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

HTWAW.Cover.Proof-page-001About the Book:
Fate may have had its way with the Hamilton sisters, but their destinies are still up for grabs….
Something has to be done about the Hamilton sisters. Faith and Claire Hamilton are so focused on avoiding their pain that they are forgetting how to truly live. Fortunately for them, feisty family friend Ollie knows a little something about what it’s like to cope with the death of a husband. She also knows how to mix a splash of fun into the process. Now, she is determined to impart the lessons she’s learned on the two young widows she loves like daughters. Her efforts start discreetly; Faith doesn’t even realize she is being nudged into the arms of the man she has been denying her attraction to, and Claire’s long-buried lust for life is reignited by a challenging new job. With Ollie’s touch, massive meltdowns are turned into hilarious moments and the weight of shameful secrets is unburdened. Neither sister has any idea Ollie is mentoring the men who have fallen for them in the fine art of widow-wooing, and no one can predict how her students or protégées will fare. How to Woo a Widow is the first of the Widow Trilogy, Life After Death.

Book Review:
How To Woo A Widow by Barbara Allen is the first book by the author that I have read and I got attracted towards it after reading some stellar reviews about it. The title is intriguing and had me wondering what kind of a book it would be. While the blurb suggested it to be the family drama cum romance type, the title had me wondering if there was mischief in the plot.

However, this is the story of three sisters, two of whom lost their husbands in a car accident and are still grappling from the loss in their own way. While the eldest, Faith has submerged herself in her ranch and horses, the youngest Claire ran away to lick her wounds. The middle sister is also facing marital troubles. So when their feisty family friend, Ollie decides enough is enough. She is determined to play matchmaker for Faith and Claire. What ensues is lots of drama, some clever maneuvering and romantic lessons imparted by Ollie and some healthy dose of self reflection.

While the plot sounded interesting, I didn't quite get engaged in this book. I liked the author's writing style. Her writing is frank, simple and fluid. She tried to bring to us a family with all sorts of characters. There is Faith, the reliable one; Claire, the rebellious and beautiful one; Ellen, the sister who has always been jealous of her two other sisters and always felt to be in their shadow. Then there is the father and the mother both of whom are dear characters and so real. 

The characterization is realistic and a mix. I could relate with Faith and empathized with her sorrow. I even liked Claire but just didn't like Ellen. She seemed spoiled, tantrum throwing and self-centered. Colby just rubbed me the wrong way right from the start. Even his past sob story didn't do anything for me.

Ollie is a strong character and she could have been developed so much better. She is not given due limelight and scope in the story. It was after all, she who had to play matchmaker and reveal her tricks for her "How To Woo A Widow" operation as she called the matchmaking efforts for Faith and Claire but somehow she didn't leave as much an impression as she could.

For me the best characters in this book were Max, his daughter Sophie and Faith and Claire. I loved reading their story.

The story is medium paced and while entertaining had me feeling it could have been delivered better.
The author could not balance Faith, Claire and Ellen's stories. Faith got more coverage and because of this Claire's story looks half baked. However, despite this Barbara has potential and the flair for writing and I will be checking her future books.

All in all, How To Woo A Widow is a decent effort and engaging but it could have been better. 3.5 out of 5 to it and recommended to readers looking for a heartfelt story from a talented new author. I enjoyed Barbara's writing style and look forward to reading more form her in the future.



I received the book from the author and the tour organizers and I am very thankful to them. The above review is my honest and unbiased opinion and in no way influenced.



About the Author:

"Normal" is for other people. The more Barbara Allen fought to be normal, the harder life laughed at her. And just when she thought she'd got the last laugh, life turned against her in a tragedy that almost destroyed her.


Barbara was just 32 years old in 2005,  when her world fell apart. Her husband had been murdered in Iraq at the hands of a fellow soldier. Barbara was left to raise four young boys - just 6,5,3,and 1 year old at the time their father was killed. She wanted to give up. She very nearly did. And yet, in the midst of the darkest moments, she always found some reason to take one more breath. Face one more day.

Slowly, she found the strength to piece herself back together as she flew to Kuwait for  one military court proceeding, and then spent years traveling thousands of miles to all the rest. She learned to navigate the military's criminal justice system. She earned a Masters degree and wrote a book about her ordeal and the grave miscarriage of justice in this case. She learned how it could all have been prevented, and she began advocating for change so it would never happen again. Today, Barbara is deeply entrenched in veterans advocacy and her own steadfast pursuit of justice for her husband. She works as a Veterans Specialist and continues her fight to secure the Purple Heart for her husband.  She has experienced impressive emotional face-plants and vast arrays of  challenges- some self-inflicted, others randomly encountered. And she has acquired the skills to not just overcome it all, but to enjoy the ride.

Barbara may have learned how to turn her adversity into an advantage in life, but this lesson did not come easily. And this upper hand must be diligently maintained.  Now, Barbara brings her life lessons to her audiences in keynote speeches and custom programs. She relates to her audiences' lives and challenges, and teaches them how to become gladiators in their own life's arena.

***
***
GIVEAWAY:
$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends 4/27
Prizing is provided by the author. You must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 18. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Receive all updates in your mailbox. Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 
Real Time Analytics