- File Size: 3108 KB
- Print Length: 313 pages
- Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (March 1, 2019)
- Publication Date: March 1, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07N6FJJRQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,231 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Gingerly Kindle Edition
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Former Erving and Greenfield resident Rachel Hodges always loved reading and secretly wanted to write. Until about four years ago, however, she didn't feel ready to become a novelist.
"I had read so many great books," she said. "I pushed (writing) to the back burner for years. I was afraid I wouldn't produce something good enough."
For that reason, her newly released first novel, "Gingerly" (BookBaby, 346 pages, $14.99), began as a purely personal project.
"Just raising two kids, one of whom had special needs, I really needed a creative outlet," she said, noting that she began the book when one of her children was diagnosed with autism. "It helped me process some of the feelings I had about that."
As she shaped the novel, however, she felt more and more confident about the appeal of her story.
Caitlyn soon finds herself attracted to Aiden's widowed father, Nick. Nick is rich, handsome and kind. She hesitates to become involved with him, though, as Nick has a reputation as a womanizer and Caitlyn still has disturbing memories of her abusive ex-husband.
Of course, the two finally get together -- but they encounter a series of adventures and misunderstandings along the way.
According to Hodges, who now lives in Florida, the story nicely blends her own experience with her imagination. She and Caitlyn are quite different, she explained, although they both love to sew. Caitlyn has a small business making handbags while Hodges concentrates mostly on creating dresses.
Nevertheless, a couple of the book's characters (not just little Aiden) are based on people she has known.
"The character of Nick is a lot like my husband," she stated. "If I didn't know what to make Nick say, I'd ask Josh. Although he doesn't have millions and millions of dollars."
In the novel, Caitlin takes in a foreign exchange student; that character, too, was based on a young woman who spent time with Hodges and her family. In one of the novel's more humorous moments, the exchange student Skypes with her cats back home. Apparently, Hodges' guest did the same.
"(The cats) would go up to the (computer) monitor, and they'd yowl at her, and they'd get excited," Hodges recalled. "It was pretty adorable."
Still, Hodges said she did have to overcome some difficulties in her writing process.
"I had to overcome my fear of talking about autism. Every time somebody writes about disabilities, it seems that somebody jumps on them," she replied. "I just finally had to do it and hope that people would understand it. (Aiden) is a wonderful, beloved character, and his differences are who he is."
She added that she also had some difficulty writing about the post-traumatic stress disorder Caitlyn experiences in the wake of her divorce. Hodges noted that she has received positive feedback from readers who have suffered from similar problems.
"They feel heard," she explained.
Writing the book was mostly pleasurable, Hodges said. She relished the creative process, which included working with an editor who helped her shape the book.
She also enjoyed what she hopes her readers will enjoy: the fantasy life that Caitlyn ends up living with Nick.
"I wanted to write about something that was fun, something that I could daydream about," she observed. So far, her daydreaming seems to be infectious: several retailers have already sold out of her book.
Gingerly by Rachel Hodges will have a very strong appeal to fans of chick lit and contemporary romance. Twenty-seven-year-old Caitlyn McIntyre has been divorced for a year now and it seems her life is far from getting any better. She is running late on the rent and is three days from losing her job. Then a real estate developer on Saint Simons Island, Nick, is suddenly in dire need of a nanny for his son with autism and Caitlyn sees the perfect opportunity for redemption. The only problem is that she is irresistibly attracted to her boss. But there are far greater fears than that...
We all know the cliche: the drop-dead handsome womanizer and the intelligent, passionate woman. We do encounter that cliche in Gingerly, except that the author transforms it into something original. Caitlyn is faced with a lot of difficulties, a redhead who doesn't seem to know how to get her life together. The magic begins to happen in discovering Nick and his world. The author has the gift of exploring the emotions of the characters and allowing the romance to grow, creating awkward moments between the key characters while building the tension. The humor is plentiful in this novel, from situations to dialogues and attitudes. I loved how Caitlyn develops quickly from a woman without a foothold to someone who begins to find meaning and direction, thanks to work that allows her to serve and stay connected to the man who makes her feel different. This novel is tightly plotted and superbly written, filled with realism and humanity. A refreshingly beautiful read.
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Beyond the endearing characters and memorable setting, I was most impressed by the book's sharp pacing and effortless writing. There was never a lull in the action, or a detour I didn't want to take—I was especially heartened to see the author dig beneath the Southern mythos to touch on the evil legacy of slavery. This issue, and dear Aiden's autism, are handled deftly and not didactically, in Hodges' capable hands.
I'd recommend GINGERLY to readers who love longing, romance and the sweet uncertainty of pining for what you think you'll never have, but desperately want nonetheless.
Random side note: I loved the author’s ability to help the reader experience what Aiden was feeling and going through as a child with Autism. A definite added bonus to this romance novel.
I typically prefer non-fiction, memoir, and YA, and first found this book to be a lovely break, which it was, and also quickly found out that this was a great story but not at all "fluffy"- it really has great character development and addresses real like issues. Can't wait for more!