It is with humble gratitude (and a helluva a lot of glee!) that I share a review by my fellow novelist, Lorraine Devon Wilke. Check her out, too!
What a beautiful, heartrending, ultimately hopeful story this is! I absolutely loved this book by Laura Nicole Diamond; it is gorgeously written, deeply felt, and set with such detail of character, plot, and emotion that a narrative about motherhood, loss, and the meaning of life becomes a true page-turner.
Told from the point of view of Sarah, a former attorney and married mother of two boys who has lost her six-week-old daughter to crib death, we follow her tumultuous trajectory through grief, self-examination, and a fascination with, and compulsion to help, a young homeless mother she stumbles upon in downtown Los Angeles. Distanced from her husband by a mix of his work demands and her own emotional turmoil, Sarah finds herself so drawn to the young woman that she takes some dubious risks, and makes some questionable choices, that not only cause her to question her own motives, but put her marriage and the life she’s attempted to rebuild in serious jeopardy. How she struggles to resolve each layer and nuance of this tsunami of issues becomes the churning center of Shelter Us.
As a native of Los Angeles, I particularly enjoyed the specificity of her “place,” picturing each turn of the road and image up ahead! As a mother, I reveled in her absolutely spot-on descriptions of the many elements of “mother love,” that powerful emotional world of indescribable, passionate love and never-ending need and frustration. Her illuminations on loss and grief will, no doubt, resonate deeply with anyone who’s lost someone they loved, particularly a young child to unexpected death. In fact, every element of this story rang true and deep, with its resolution built on compassion, forgiveness, and love the most salient of its themes.
A deeply satisfying read that I heartily recommend, I will be sure to follow this writer to whatever is next.
For almost a year, today’s date, June 8, 2015, has glimmered impossibly in the future: my first novel’s Publication Date. It has the same magical qualities as a baby’s due date.
And, practically speaking, it is almost as reliable a metric for when your baby or book will arrive.* Stores have been selling Shelter Us for a couple weeks, Amazon has been shipping it, and friends and family who have read it and liked it have told me so. (I’m not keeping a list, ahem.)
Still, I’m human, and humans love to infuse meaning into 24 hour periods — like birthdays, anniversaries, and the 4th of July. I can’t let this date pass without a little huzzah. Besides, seeing as I’ve been talking and talking and talking about this book (I’m so sorry) for so long, the least I could do is share some Launch day trivia with you.
Here’s a glimpse of the glamorous life of a newly published novelist:
- Wake up foggy-headed and remember that you’re supposed to pick up your eldest child from a sleepover in twenty minutes.
- Send newsletter announcing Launch Day, asking everyone to please read your book. Again.
- Throw on sneakers and sweatshirt, lick finger to wipe mascara from under eyelids (why does it never come off all the way?) in case there’s an earthquake and you have to get out of the car.
- Check e-mail, read a new review!
- Bring child home, make him breakfast and a sack lunch for camp. Take to camp.
- Come home. Wash dishes.
- Do a radio interview! (…while sitting in a closet, because this is the day tree trimmers came.)
- Take child shopping for shorts and bathing suit for camp.
- Come home. Wash dishes. Again.
- Let your kids break into the cookies you bought for tomorrow’s Launch Party.
- Remember to thank your spouse for being unconditionally supportive and amazing, including that last text that dinner is almost ready.
- Pinch yourself that people are reading your book, and even if you never write another word, this is enough.
There you have June 8, 2015, a big day, and also just a Monday, drizzled with bursts of excitement and the mundane. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get any better than this.
*Side note: Only 5% of babies are born on their due dates. My second baby was one of those!