By Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: This Nearly Was Mine: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
New York author Nancy Farkas studied psychology and linguistics and earned her Master of Social Work degree from New York University and her TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate from Westchester Community College. Now this beautiful young woman opens a new chapter in her life as an author; THIS NEARLY WAS MINE appears to be her debut novel, and if this book is followed by others in the same vein, then chick lit has a new champion - and chick lit rules at present!
Nancy peppers her page with references to films and stars in a way that makes us feel we know her main character Annie form the moment we meet her (even the name of her novel reflects the famous song form `South Pacific'). `My story is a jumbled version of South Pacific, The Drifters, Swept Away, Shirley Valentine, and sadly, Against All Odds. So, how did a nice Jewish girl from Long Island end up with the history and the memories that I have?'
The synopsis of the story follows (many details excerpted for reasons the reader will discover): `In the summer of 1980, Annie, fresh out of graduate school, escapes a doomed engagement by fleeing to the Costa del Sol in Spain. The young traveler is seduced by the striking landscape and the shimmering sea, but not as profoundly as she was by Francisco, a local musician with a complicated past and a troubled soul. Her adventures propel her into adulthood and a life teased with what might have been. Twenty-six years later, Annie's teenage daughter Marielle, curious about her mother's stories, searches for Francisco while on a backpacking trip through Spain. When Marielle's search is successful, Annie's thoughts return to her romantic past amidst the magnificent backdrop of the steamy Mediterranean coast. Francisco's unexpected reappearance ignites powerful feelings she didn't know were still simmering. Annie obsessively questions every decision she made that summer and wonders about a life that could have been hers had she stayed. She is torn between her love and devotion to her husband Matthew and the intercontinental pull to the life she has fantasized about for decades. Annie faces a conflict only she can resolve - return to the early and perpetuated love affair with Francisco or recognize the meaning of her marriage to Matthew, enlightened by her re-visited passion for a long ago dream.'
The book reads rapidly, like a back porch chat with a dear friend who is recovering from dalliance with dreams. If at times the dialogue seems to move toward slang, then consider the fact that we are dealing with `now people', not caricatures painted for simple show. Nancy Farkas has style - and it seems she will succeed. Grady Harp, December 14