Book Blog Tour – Book Review & Author Interview
About the Author
After facing a life-changing breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 34, Cherie co-authored the non-fiction book “Wisdom From Five Cancer Travelers: Lessons Learned” with others affected by the disease. She was declared “no evidence of disease” in 2019 and made it a mission to write and publish her first fiction novel, “Greetings from Tucson,” inspired by her grandmother’s story.
Cherie lives in Connecticut with her husband, Matt, and their Portuguese Water Dog, Poppy. She holds a B.A. in English from Southern Connecticut State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
It’s Q & A Time!
#1 What is your book about?
Greetings from Tucson was inspired by the real-life story of my grandmother and her sisters. In the 1940s, tragedy struck and Cookie and her three younger sisters were torn from everything they knew—their parents, their home, and each other. Forced to live thousands of miles apart (2 sisters remaining in Connecticut and 2 moving to Arizona), they stayed in touch and strengthened their sisterly bond through letters, far before social media made it simpler to stay in touch. Greetings from Tucson follows the heartwarming story of these four girls from adolescence into adulthood, as they deal with losing their parents, finding love, heartbreak, marriage, and much more.
#2 What inspired you to write your book?
After my grandmother passed away in 2012, I found a box of letters in her closet that I had never seen before. Those letters told the untold story of my grandmother’s early life and taught me that sisters could be soulmates, too. The story of these courageous sisters and their beautiful journeys was on my mind for many years. It wasn’t until I was recovering from my own difficult journey after facing a breast cancer diagnosis that I decided to write this book.
#3 What is a typical day like for you?
I am the director of product for a tech company so my day-to-day focuses around making products better and giving users features and functionality that make their lives easier. On the weekends though, I enjoy going for hikes with my dog, Poppy, reading, writing, and decorating!
#4 What do you most enjoy about what you do?
As a writer, I love connecting with people. I was so nervous to put Greetings from Tucson out into the world because I wasn’t sure that other people (non-family) would resonate with the story of these four young girls. But after hearing from readers near and far, it seems as if people are enjoying the book and have really connected to Cookie, Frankie, Dottie, and Connie. Sometimes, I’ll get a random message on my website (www.cheriegenua.com) from someone who has read the book and it will make my whole week! One woman wrote to me saying how much she enjoyed reading about the Waterbury, Connecticut references (her hometown) and pointed out how it brought back such fond memories of growing up. That’s truly why I love what I do!
#5 What are some favourite books you’d recommend to your readers?
Right now, I’m reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I love when a book brings you on a journey into a captivating new world.
#6 What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Because I work in the tech field, people might expect that I love social media. I couldn’t imagine making a video on Instagram or TikTok talking about Greetings from Tucson! But I know that’s how I will reach more readers, so I might have to step out of my comfort zone eventually, haha.
#7 What’s next for you?
I am working through the concept of my next book, which will be related to Greetings from Tucson. I think the beauty of the story is that there are many storylines that could be explored. There’s one pair’s story in particular that I’d like to dive deeper into, and that is the origin story of the girls’ parents.
Greetings From Tucson – Book Review
Genre: Coming-of-age story / Drama
Published: 11 December 2021, with Poppyseed Press
A coming-of-age story with true love at its core, Greetings from Tucson tells the heartwarming and uplifting story of four sisters’ lives through the lens of handwritten letters. These long-lost letters, found decades after they were penned, at one time formed a lifeline that held the sisters together when their worlds were otherwise falling apart…
In June of 1945, tragedy struck and sisters Cookie, Frankie, Dottie, and Connie were torn from everything they knew—their parents, their home, and, most importantly, each other. Forced to live thousands of miles apart, they feared their bond would be broken. The four sisters began writing letters to share every detail of their young lives, celebrating milestones and mourning heartbreaks from afar.
Through these letters, they strengthened their relationship when the odds were so stacked against them. That is until one sister’s secret from the past changed everything. Would she break the fragile bond they worked so hard to nurture after their split so many years ago?
Inspired by a true story
From the author (Cherie L. Genua): Greetings from Tucson is inspired by my grandmother’s early life after both her parents’ tragic deaths in the 1940s. Soon after my grandmother passed away in 2012, I discovered a shoebox filled with pastel-colored envelopes stuffed with handwritten notes. There were countless letters stacked up inside that were sent to my grandmother from her sisters—she kept them for decades tucked away in her closet. I will never forget their smell—rosewater mixed with the stale smell of vintage paper. These letters from the 1940s and beyond pieced together the stunning—and tragic—story of her early life and taught me that a sisters’ bond could never be broken, no matter how hard life became. A story that taught me sisters could be soulmates, too.
Sisters separated by tragedy, strengthened by letters.
You may also like:
- Gathering of the Four by A.E. Bennett
- A Heartfelt Christmas Promise by Nancy Naigle
- Ghost Agents by Nita Deborde
The writing style of the author was not one that I’m accustomed to but I could follow along easily enough. Most chapters started with short letters from one of the sisters. It seems the person that was telling the story in between the letters was Cookie who is the oldest sister. I have to admit that I don’t usually read dramas, but I did become committed to the story quite quickly.
The storyline was very sad in the beginning but even though it picked up at times it still had a sad undercurrent. Those poor girls started their young lives off with such pain and trauma that I’m surprised that only Dottie got into a little trouble. I also can’t believe that they weren’t angry with their parents for being so selfish and for ultimately being bad parents that didn’t deserve to have them.
The theme of the book was about sisters that were torn apart but how they kept in touch all their lives so that when they finally got to see each other it was as if they had never been apart. It showed that the love of your family should conquer all adversity. They were each other’s anchors. I was kept guessing in the book in the way that I wanted to know what happens to the girls next. I was worried about them when I read what was happening in their lives.
There were a few parts in this book that had me bawling my eyes out (typical drama style) and I had to keep my tissues handy. I had my husband stressed when he thought something was wrong. The way that the author explained the different states that the girls were living in, it felt like I could see it. She didn’t use too much imagery though and I thought that she could add some to round out the book.
The main protagonist seemed to be Cookie as she was the narrator that explained what was happening in everyone’s lives. Cookie was easy to relate to as she seemed like an easy-going and friendly person. I knew her back story and those of her sisters and it had me rooting for them all the way. The dialogue was few and far between. It was mostly letters and Cookie telling us what is happening. The dialogue that was there was easy to understand though.
I enjoyed all the sisters and their different personalities. I also enjoyed their love interests that they ended up with. My heart broke for them and I cried my eyes out when I read about Dottie. Life can be so unfair sometimes but I suppose we have to deal with the choices we make and what that does to our health in the end. The only warning that I need to give the reader is to keep your tissues close and a glass of wine closer. You going to need it! This is a standalone book and is not part of a series.
I would recommend this book to anyone that loves dramas, sister stories, or friendship stories. You will love it.
Have you heard about this book? Would you like to read it?
What do you think about it?
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