Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Giveaway and Review: When I Look to the Sky by Barbara S. Stewart

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” That quote was profound to Carlee.
She’d experienced great loss, but love surrounded her. Andy worked hard to fill any void she experienced. He made sure that what was missing was full. He learned late in life how to live a life based on someone else's needs. He gave her love and support, his time and his heart.
But nothing she knew could have prepared her for the love she found on a once in a lifetime European jaunt with her Papa...

5 Star Review

Those are Andy’s words whenever he thinks about his beloved Bethy.  In this sequel to Rock and Roll Never Forgets, we get to see Andy move through his grief and focus his devotion to another young lady that he loves dearly, Carlee.  Andy has moved on from being a superstar to being a producer.  This gives him more stability and flexibility when it comes to being with Carlee. 
In Rock and Roll Never Forgets, Bethy was a part of Andy’s life for over 20 years.  However, Andy could never give Bethy the commitment that she wanted until it was too late, but when she needed him the most and called for him, he was there for her.

 When I Look to the Sky gives the reader a look through Andy and Carlee’s lives for the 15 years following the death of Bethy.  Bethy’s presence/absence is felt throughout the entire book. 

 Carlee is the daughter of Beth and John, whom Beth married following the final breakup of Andy and Bethy.  Carlee is 5 when Beth passes away.  Beth makes John promise to keep Carlee in Andy’s life and John follows through on his promise.  John feels immense hurt for losing Beth not once, but twice…her death and to Andy during her last months.  John pushes Carlee away so that he doesn’t need to be reminded of the love that he lost.   Carlee spends a large amount of her time with Andy and affectionately refers to him as “papa.”
Andy is so happy to be a part of Carlee’s life.  He is fully devoted to her and has not had a relationship since  Bethy passed away as this would take time away from Carlee.  When Carlee is faced with a life-changing decision, it is her papa that she chooses to make her life complete and to finally have a place to call home.

Following Carlee’s high school graduation, Andy and Carlee embark on a journey across Europe before she moves away from Andy and attends college.  It is during their London stay that Carlee meets Matthew.  Now we have entered a new part of Carlee’s journey as we read about her and Matthew falling in love.  Papa is there to witness it happening and couldn’t be happier. 

I cannot believe the emotional impact this book had on me.  I felt Bethy’s loss whenever Andy and Carlee would think of her, and even without them mentioning her I could feel her absence and how much Andy ached for her love again.  From the very first page I was crying, and I can’t even recall how many times tears would stream down my face throughout the entire book.

When I finished reading Rock and Roll Never Forgets, I was an emotional wreck.  I thought for certain there was no way I could be happy with a book that would follow the heartbreak of Andy.  I was scared that the sequel would have Andy falling in love again and I just didn’t want to read that.  Barbara Stewart has created a masterpiece.   She has allowed me to feel like I have walked beside Andy throughout his life and I have felt every emotion that he feels.  I can feel his emotions without the author’s words.  

At the completion of When I Look to the Sky,  Andy  is now 67 years old and has not had a relationship for over 15 years.  He needs to be in love again.  I give him permission to fall in love again. 

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