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The Shell Keeper by Robin P. Nolet is one of those books that warms your heart and leaves you feeling as though you just made some new best friends. I laughed, I got weepy eyed; but mostly I just enjoyed this delightful novel. Sometimes I get nervous when I accept books for review from authors who are trying hard to get their book out there but even from the description I felt this would be a book for me. I was right! Nothing makes me feel better than when I can gush over a book and help out an author at the same time - one who is very polite and nice to work with as well. The Shell Keeper is about three women - three very different women - who fate brings together but friendship holds them there.
Gwen owns her own bakery in Blue River and loves it but it isn't always easy to make ends meet. To top it off her husband's job isn't all that stable right now with a strike looming. Claire, a real estate agent, has her own set of problems. She's tough as nails to the outside world but inside is a woman who only wants the best for those most important to her. She and Gwen start talking in the bakery one day when one of Claire's most difficult clients stomps out and leaves Claire raging. While they're talking back and forth, they hear this big crash which just happens to be Del and she has managed to hit one of the big flowerpots lining the road. Gwen rushes to call 911 and Claire goes out to see if she can help. Now Del is just starting to go through a divorce from a cheating creep and she's just frazzled which clearly shows when she comes into the shop and sits down. When they part these women still don't know that they will become friends but the seeds are planted; these ladies already care what happens to each other.
As the women begin to spend more time together they realize they are becoming friends and really all of them are a little scared. They are all reserved and protective of their feelings for their own reasons. Yet as time passes the walls start to come down between these women and they start to share their hopes and fears with each other. Gwen ends up facing a tough decision that will affect her and Andy's life as well as the friendship she's built with Claire and Del. Claire is faced with a problem too - he comes in the shape of a man whose name is Bob. Claire doesn't need any complications in her life and Bob is most definitely a complication and yet she finds herself more and more attracted to him. Del is busy juggling taking care of her two kids and working at her new job, not to mention that new man who has just happened to sweep into her life and make her feel worthy of love again. Together these ladies will navigate life and friendship together and it's a wonderful journey.
Often I find that I will only be drawn to one of the women in a novel such as this but I liked all of these ladies. They were all very real people that I could see myself knowing and liking. I really liked Gwen though, maybe because she just kind of seemed the mother hen of everyone. For the most part she was always calm and cool - well except for that one incident in the bakery with that snobby lady - but we won't hold that against her. She is just one of those people who likes to take care of everyone. Claire I liked because of her tough attitude, as for the most part it came through as really amusing to me. And Del, she was the softie of the group. Scared and alone, trying to get used to being divorced, she begins to find life again. Del is another one who continually looked out for the feelings of her friends. All in all, I could see myself being friends with them and when I turned the last page of the book I knew without a doubt I was going to miss them and I do.
The Shell Keeper is a beautiful novel of friendship. Friendship enriches our lives and means even when the world feels as though it's falling apart, we know those people are there for us. The Shell Keeper is well worth the read for those of you who love stories about the friendships of women or love a story that will warm your heart and leave you wanting more. I really, really enjoyed it! Oh, and as a note the title of the book fits the story perfectly but I don't want to give that away. You'll just have to read it for yourself to find that out!
What a good Kindle find! I am so pleased that I took a chance on this book and would urge anyone who enjoys well written women's fiction to give this a try.
The plot revolves around three very different women in small town Colorado- bakery owner Gwen, estate agent Claire and emotionally wounded Del who become friends in rather odd circumstances. As the seasons unfold different dramas swirl in their lives from heartache to money and job worries, we get a glimpse of just what these women will come to mean to one another and their impact in each others lives.
Ultimately this is a story of friendship and new love and how when everything else is crumbling, you can always count on your true friends to be there for you. I expected it to be a bit twee but actually it's well written and some of Claire's abrupt curse words and her feisty attitude take away the cosy factor! I also loved the descriptions of some of the bakery goodies which left me feeling hungry (the diet starts in the New Year). The characters are all sympathetically drawn and as a reader I found myself identifying with certain traits of each one. Excerpts from their `diaries' also allows you to get to know them a little bit better. The personalities are all completely different which is what makes them likeable and their flaws ensure their believability. I genuinely wanted to find out what would happen next in their lives (or what had happened to them in the past) and the story flows at a good enough pace to hold a readers attention, even with the addition of some flashbacks. The secondary characters are also well developed too, which was nice. Sometimes extra people in the plot seem to be an afterthought but there was none of that here.
A few niggles: some of the Kindle formatting isn't terrific- uber indented paragraphs and whatnot, which was a bit distracting at first, though I soon got used to it. This is not a critique of the author as this is nothing to do with her and is more a publishing aspect, but I wanted to mention it in case any readers are particular about it- the paperback edition will of course not have this problem! It bothered me more when it came to the women's `diary' parts- the spacing was all over the place. Also, some of the `grittier' parts of the plot felt a bit glossed over and rushed, which was a real shame as a lot more could have been made of it. I don't want to give away anything more for the risk of spoiling the story but it did amount to me only giving this four stars and not five.
But overall, this was a really lovely heart-warming read with memorable characters and a really fantastic setting, particularly if you are a fan of Debbie Macomber or Nora Roberts. I would certainly welcome reading more by this author in future and of course, with its current Kindle bargain price, you really can't do wrong by giving this a try!
The Shell Keeper is a heartwarming novel by first time author Robin Nolet, exploring the themes of friendship and self discovery. The protagonists of Shell Keeper are three very different women. Gwen, partnered with a college age son, owns and runs a popular bakery in River Bend, Claire is single but helps to support her sister and nephew with her work in high pressure realty, while Del is in the midst of a divorce instigated by her adulterous husband. Their lives intersect one winters morning and they form a tentative connection that slowly develops into a close friendship that they come to rely on.
Developing new friendships can be difficult later in life and I really like that Nolet explores this issue in The Shell Keeper. Gwen, Claire and Del are women who are each lonely in their own way and find strength in the relationship they form. Del appreciates the support the women provide as she rebuilds her life after divorce, Claire, who values her independence as a successful single woman, discovers that she can let down her guard a little and let love in, while Gwen revels in sharing her life, as she struggles with a touch of Empty Nest Syndrome and financial stress. Nolet shows how these women's lives are enriched by the bond that grows between them, they offer each other support and care when needed and in turn are braced by knowing someone has their back, so to speak. Their friendship allows Gwen, Del and Claire to make decisions to benefit their own lives knowing that both emotional and practical support is available if needed. This is particularly clear when each woman faces their own crises and are buoyed by the faith and reassurance of their friendship. It is the issues each woman faces that provide the plot of The Shell Keeper, but mainly this is a character driven novel. There are some nice touches of humour which offsets the more serious emotions dealt with. I did feel it got off to a bit of a slow start and could have done with some drama midway through the story as it tends to be clustered at the beginning and end of the novel. The writing is of a high standard with natural dialogue and clear description.
An uplifting and enjoyable read, The Shell Keeper celebrates the value of friendship between women. This lovely novel is sure to have you reaching out to the special friends in your life who support and nurture you.
This is a great book for taking a break and getting lost in someone else's story. The characters are relatable and likeable as they wind their way through all the changes and challenges in their lives. You find yourself rooting for the three main characters as they figure out their next moves, and they don't disappoint.
This first book has distracting grammar problems that will hopefully be fixed in subsequent editions, but the story itself is very entertaining and likeable.
Honestly, I thought this book started out a little slow, but the authors excellent character development got me hooked! She does a superb job of describing the main characters, scenes and situations. I could picture all the women, see their mannerisms and felt their emotions. It was easy to feel you were there based on her detailed writing. Plus I could personally relate to all of the women which made it an exceptional read for me!! I loved the sea shell tie in even though the story takes place in a mountain town. I too am a shell collector, and the mention of paper nautilus thrilled me as they are my prized shells as well! All the best to this new exciting author, I hope to see another novel from her soon.
A charming tale of friendship and devotion, chance encounters and the bonds that draw us toward each other. Gwen, Claire, and Del are completely mismatched women at different phases of their lives. They have diverse needs and past hurts that have kept them isolated from forming friendships. But this trio of unlikely confidantes finds a way to help each other heal and grow and lay new groundwork for life-changing relationships. A tender tale of camaraderie that will leave your heart soft as you turn the last page.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Shell Keeper. It was a lovely story of the power of girlfriends. The characters were developed so well that you quickly felt like you were part of the story. It was a very easy read that left a smile on my face. There was just enough "ah haw" moments and twists and turns to keep you turning the pages and wondering what was going to happen next. Excited to read more of Robin's books.
I downloaded The Shell Keeper to my Kindle last minute before leaving for a trip. A great decision! This is the type of book that once you start reading, you don't want to put it down (perfect for a day at the beach!). A great story of 3 women and a chance meeting. Makes me take a second look at all the people I meet on a daily basis. How those in need will find help and friendship if they just open their minds and hearts to those around them. Thank you to Ms. Nolet for writing such a heart warming read!