Living in Someone's Shadow

Yet another season of my life has been spent in the fictional town of Magdalena, New York, created by author Mary Campisi. I was enticed by the premise of A Family Affair before I even knew it would become a series. I can assure you, however, that I was in no way ready to let these characters go; in my mind, the first book basically setting the foundation for all that could come out of these characters' lives.


I went on to read A Family Affair: Spring, then A Family Affair: Summer. I went right into read A Family Affair: Fall and must say that, of the three books I've read so far after the initial book of the series, I enjoyed "Fall" best.


In her books, Campisi does more than tell a story. She brings various truths to light and makes us ask questions of ourselves - some questions which are easy to answer while other questions force us to probe the depths of our emotions - indeed, our souls, at times.


I can't remember when I met Gina Servetti, but I knew she grew up in a home which I would call shallow. Importance was placed on all the wrong things - largely centered around a person's weight or looks, not to mention that her parents felt Gina should be content enough to marry and settle down as opposed to going off to college to obtain a career and set a path for future independence.


Meanwhile, the "lady of the town" - to put it politely - is her cousin, Natalie Servetti, who has come close to destroying several marriages. Hopping from one bed to another is no problem for her and, wonder of wonders, Gina's parents wish Gina was more like Natalie. Wow! All I can say is thank God my parents were not like Gina's.


As you may already be aware, living under anyone's shadow is bad enough - but living under the shadow of someone who has no scruples about behavior which would make most people cringe has to come with an added bite.  Gina was smart but, as with anyone, it doesn't take long for self-confidence to suffer when always being compared to someone else and found lacking. When you're never good enough, never fast enough, never slim enough, never "fill in your own blanks" enough, it isn't long before you believe there must be something to what everyone is telling you - especially when they're family, the people who are supposed to care about you most.


What about Ben Reed? He was married and loved his wife but, what he failed to consider was the various attributes of love. Marriage is not only about sharing a physical, emotional, sexual connection; it's about enduring, sharing, trusting and believing, among other things. Ben had scars of his own and, because he couldn't open up to his wife about those things, he lost her.


When Gina and Ben first met, I sensed they would become close. Reading their story and the way situations seemed to bring them together, I was pulling for them - hoping they could both set aside the scars from the past and move forward together.


Of course, there is always drama going on in the Family Affair books and you'll find a fair share of it in A Family Affair: Fall. If you've been following the series, you'll get to visit some of your favorite characters and meet a few  new ones.

If you would like to learn more about the book, feel free to click the book cover to be taken to A Family Affair: Fall's page on Amazon.

A Surprising Secret

Almost as soon as I turned the last page of "Fall," I began reading A Family Affair: Christmas. It's a shorter story and the back of the book advertises other books the author has written. However, despite not wanting to let the characters go so soon, I enjoyed the story and how the events unfolded

Who would have imagined a Christmas party hosted by Harry Blacksworth would turn into an all-night affair because of a snow storm and the ensuing loss of power? People were camped out everywhere for a night, among them being Pop Benito's son, Anthony, who insisted on bringing his father to the west coast upon his return. It didn't matter about the protests others made; his mind was made up and that was it.

Of course, I caught up with the various residents of Magdalena again, catching up on what was happening in the lives of some of my favorite characters. I had the privilege of encountering Lily again who always has a way of cutting to the core of any matter, grasping life in the simplest of terms, and speaking about how she feels. When making snow angels, the one-sided conversation she had with her late father brought tears to my eyes, as it did to her uncle, Harry's.

Of course, in the kitchen, some ladies had conversations of their own, one revelation piquing my interest - this coming from a woman who kept her private life a secret from everyone. I am interested in learning how it all pans out because, the point where the story ended, I cannot help but feel the next book will pick up and tell the story from where A Family Affair: Christmas left off.

Mary Campisi has a way of involving her readers in the lives of her characters and I can't wait until the next book when I can immerse myself in the lives of the characters of Magdalena again, those I've gotten to know and new characters who may come into my life.

If you would like to read more about this book, feel free to check out its page on Amazon.