The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs

the-bright-hour-9781501169359_lgThe Bright Hour is a wonderfully written memoir by Nina Riggs, who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer in February 2017. She was only 37. Nina, mother of two young boys, wife of 16 years, and great-great-great granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson, was a beautiful soul and talented writer. Her writing is emotionally raw; the conversations with her family members, her appreciation for nature,  and descriptions of her surroundings are thoughtful and true.  The Bright Hour, despite the heavy subject matter, is one of the most enjoyable and truly wonderful books that I have read in quite a while. I would highly recommend this book to all of you.  

I normally do not read nonfiction, but I make special exception for memoirs. I’ve always enjoyed them, because they are written with such heart and grit. It takes a lot of courage for a writer to pour out their most personal thoughts, hopes, and feelings on paper for others to read. Nina wrote her memoir, in part, as a tribute to her husband John and young sons, so that they might read it someday and get to know her even better, and really understand the depth of her love for them.

One of my favorite authors of all time, Elin Hilderbrand, recommended Nina’s book multiple times, and I knew that with her endorsement, I would undoubtedly enjoy reading The Bright Hour. I didn’t realize how quickly I would become immersed into Nina’s story, however, unable to put the book down because the writing was so beautiful.

Everything about this book is beautiful. Nina’s relationships with her husband, her sons, her dying mother, her father, her brother, and even her doctors are each unique and special. It is through these relationships with their well-times jokes, light-hearted humor, and even  the many tear-filled moments that Nina’s impact on each and every one of their lives shines through. She was a bright spot in so many lives.

Woven throughout the book are quotes and writings from Emerson’s works, as well as from French writer/philosopher Montaigne. Nina looks to both writers to guide her through fear and grief, allowing her to concentrate on living, really living with the time she is given.

The Bright Hour is not about dying, but more about how to live, which she discovers and shares with readers, as she is dying. Though Nina writes quite a bit about her experiences with chemo, radiation, and the many tests and hospital stays, she doesn’t sugar coat anything, but gives the unpleasant truth about cancer’s destructive path through her body and life as she knew it. As Nina is actually going through treatment, she loses her own mother to cancer, after a 9 year battle. I can’t even imagine losing a mother to cancer, but even worse, imagine losing your mother while you are also battling the greatest battle of your life, and knowing deep down that your time on Earth with your loving husband and precious children is coming to a close much sooner than you anticipated. It is heartbreaking and terrifying, but somehow Nina was able to get the most out of the days left with her mother, as well as her own time remaining after her mother passed on. She didn’t let grief consume her. She doesn’t focus on the cancer, but on her family, enjoying her days, and living with hope. If that isn’t strength and resilience, I don’t know what is.

Read Nina’s story. I promise you will come away from it with a better outlook on life and living.

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Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline

Every Fifteen Minutes will be published April 14, 2015.

I enjoyed this book very much. It was a fast paced read, and most of the story line occurred over only a matter of a few days. The main character, Dr. Eric Parrish, is a well-known and respected psychiatrist and Chief of the hospital unit. Dr. Parrish goes out of his way and above & beyond the call of duty to help a new teenage patient, Max, who is very troubled after the death of his grandmother and main caregiver. Eric’s comfortable life at home and at work then starts to quickly spiral out of control. Can Eric trust those closest to him? Or will he have to save himself before it is too late. The ending packs a big punch, as there are two major twists that the reader doesn’t expect…or at least I didn’t expect! Lisa Scottoline has once again written a winner.

Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

I’m a huge fan of Tess Gerritsen and have read all of her novels so far. Die Again is the latest in the Rizzoli & Isles series. This was certainly one of my favorites. I really enjoyed how the story went back and forth between present day Boston and Botswana, Africa 7 years prior, when a group of campers disappeared. Like all of her novels, it is clear that Tess puts in a lot of hours on research to make the setting and back story realistic. In this case, the research on tigers, leopards, and cougars was very helpful to the story line. The suspense and thrills build as the story develops, and it will keep you turning pages until the very end. Great story!

This book will be published on December 30, 2014.