Suburban Renewal
Pamela Morsi
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Suburban Renewal

Pamela Morsi
Mira Books
384 pages
February 2004
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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On the eve of her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Corrie Braydon poses a question to her husband Sam: should they stay married, or get a divorce? This statement knocks Sam for a loop. As far as he's concerned, they have raised two great kids, he and Corrie are pursuing careers they love, and they have a loving circle of friends and family. But Corrie wonders if this is enough: "If we can't find a good reason to stay together, then I'd just as soon start over by myself."

Curled Up With a Good BookThis proclamation sets Sam and Corrie on a path of remembering why they came together in the first place and the ups and downs their lives have taken since that point. Their marriage started on fairly shaky ground. Corrie was in her first year of college when she found out she was pregnant; then she and Sam got married, much to Corrie's parents' dismay. The following twenty-five years have taken Sam and Corrie down a road of heartbreak and joy that neither could have imagined...and neither can forget.

Suburban Renewal is a family saga for the new millennium. The richly defined characters are quickly enmeshed in the reader's heart and you won't want to let them go. After a few chapters, Sam, Corrie, and the rest of the bunch start to seem like members of the reader's own family. Since their marriage was formed on the basis of an unplanned pregnancy, Corrie has every right to think back and question whether marriage was the right choice. She made a great many sacrifices for her marriage and family, which required her to give up some of her long-held dreams. But those things made her stronger and revealed strengths Corrie didn't even know she had.

Corrie and Sam's marriage is tenacious and doesn't let go even when it is challenged by some difficult circumstances. Sam's no-good father, problems with their son Nate, and the heartbreak of letting children make their own life decisions all define the Braydon family. Pamela Morsi brilliantly weaves the plot and keeps the reader turning pages. References to local and world events as the years are remembered help to give the story perspective that all readers will be able to relate to and reflect on in their own lives and pasts. Suburban Renewal is charming, full of humor, triumph and love. It's a memorable novel that readers will want to savor and share with others.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Melissa Parcel, 2004

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