Picture This – Jacqueline Sheehan
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Picture This opens its curtains close to where its predecessor, Lost & Found, left off.
University psychologist, Rocky, has spent a little over a year, recouping on Main’s Peaks Island after the sudden and devastating death of her husband. Over the past year, with a typically “Northern” and sometimes ruggedly, well, Maine, approach to newcomers, the island natives welcomed Rocky’s presence with an open mind but typical “townie” reservations. She managed to strike up a few close friendships almost right away, finding a job, a hobby and an enormous black dog who claimed her as his own at first sight.
But that was all so “last year”. Picture This finds Rocky at a crossroads, deliberating the prospect of resuming her position back at the school or keeping her job as animal control warden on the tiny island. In the final hour, Rocky throws caution to the wind and plops down money on a rickety old island fixer-upper. Still reeling from the consequences of an ill-advised widow-rebound romance with her archery instructor, Rocky is forced back into grieving for a good portion of the beginning of the book.
Her downward spiral into her personal gloom strikes an abrupt end when a strange phone call interrupts her thickening inner darkness. 18 year old Natalie comes crashing into her life with stories of a disturbing past and a very upending vision of the future. Rocky, who at this point has developed a reputation for being the “my home is a universal safe haven for humans and dogs” type, takes the girl in, causing quite a ripple in the little world that was meant to be Rocky’s safe haven.
With a good mix of romance, intrigue, drama, heartache and even a little bit of laughter, Picture This makes a good showing as the sequel to a hard act to follow. I still think that my loyalty lies with the first book, though I did enjoy this one a good deal. The second installment was wonderful in a lot of ways but I felt that Rocky came off as more fragile and sometimes downright whiney when compared with her previous self in Lost & Found. I am usually a reader who enjoys a book with a whole batch of characters, each telling his or her perspective, but I found that approach to this story a little bit distracting. It worked, for the most part but I did find it a bit dizzying and slightly disjointed, especially at moments when things were moving quickly.
The other warning I would give to those, especially headed into beach book buying season, is that it is not as light as it looks. That is not to say that the actual wording or vocabulary were at all strenuous or taxing but rather that what fronts as a cute summer read with a pretty puppy on the cover, houses a lot of coverage of some pretty dark topics. This didn’t bother me for the long haul but I did find myself sighing at a few points, wondering when people would stop having terrible things happen to them.
Those few minor quibbles aside, I did enjoy the second book overall and though they were sort of a depressing bunch, I couldn’t help but be sucked in, just as in the first, to the community on the island. If you’re looking for a heavier emotional book for the summer, this might be one to look into now that you have the full disclosure on the sad and weepy bits.
About Jacqueline Sheehan
Jacqueline Sheehan, Ph.D., is a fiction writer and essayist. She is a New Englander through and through, but spent twenty years living in the western states of Oregon, California, and New Mexico doing a variety of things, including house painting, freelance photography, newspaper writing, clerking in a health food store, and directing a traveling troupe of high school puppeteers. She is currently the fiction editor for Patchwork Journal, an online journal sponsored by Patchwork Farm, an internationally based writing center. Jacqueline teaches workshops on writing and the combination of yoga and writing. She lives in Massachusetts.
Make sure you take the time to stop over at the other destinations for this tour, listed below:
Tuesday, May 22nd: Silver & Grace
Thursday, May 24th: Iwriteinbooks’ blog
Monday, May 28th: Hospitable Pursuits
Wednesday, May 30th: Chocolate & Croissants
Tuesday, June 5th: Just Joanna
Wednesday, June 6th: Jenny Loves to Read
Friday, June 8th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, June 12th: Peppermint PhD
Tuesday, June 12th: BookNAround
Wednesday, June 13th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, June 14th: My Bookshelf