“The Golden Apple” by Faerl Marie
Blurb: MEET POPPY PARKER, a recent widow who knows she must move forward but has no idea which direction to take. To start fresh, Poppy moves from her idyllic home in Georgia to the grimy glamour of New York City to open up her own boutique and find a way to live and love without her husband.
Austin Bandy has been in love with Poppy since the moment he laid eyes on her years ago, right before her wedding. Now she is back, grieving and broken hearted by her nearly-perfect husband’s death—not Austin’s ideal romantic situation. He needs to wait for her to recover but not so long that someone else has the chance to move in and sweep his dream girl off her feet and keep him as a “good friend” forever.
Poignant, hopeful and fresh, Faerl Marie’s enchanting debut novel will have you hooked and ready to pursue your own hopes and dreams the moment you turn the final page. The Golden Apple is a charming and fashionable novel about loss, love and moving on without betraying your self, your past or those you love.
My Review: Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this book. It started quickly, and before too long, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
After Poppy moved to New York, her adventure with starting a new life and finding herself started right away. I liked that she had a girlfriend who she could rely on, and seemed to take to Austin almost immediately. While I wouldn’t have been as aggressive as she was (sleeping with him in the same bed, and staying at his home on most nights), I liked how Faerl didn’t make Poppy’s and Austin’s relationship based on sex, but rather romantic and innocent.
There were times when I wanted Poppy to stop thinking, and go with what I thought she wanted all along, which was to be with Austin, but I think that’s what made the book even more dramatic. (I won’t give you any spoilers). 🙂
Faerl Marie is a very gifted author who has written a wonderful heartwarming and memorable book, and I cannot wait to read what she’ll come out with next.
I give this book 5 stars!
“Well,” Vivian hadn’t said a word until then. “That’s quite a morning the two of you had.” After leaving Austin’s Poppy had gone to Vivian’s and took a long shower, soaking away the puffy redness around her eyes. Now she sat across from Viv in a nearby café dressed in a lilac and white striped seersucker dress feeling refreshed and sane.
“Tell me about it.” Poppy swirled a purple grape around in her palm like a marble. It was hot outside even under the shade of the black and white striped awning that covered them. They were the only occupied table and as such had their water and tea glasses refilled after nearly ever sip.
“The thing is Viv, I really thought it was him. When he turned and I saw his face and knew that it wasn’t, I felt okay about it. It didn’t hurt like I would have thought.” She laughed to herself ironically. “Until I broke down in a puddle of tears on the side of the street.” She popped the grape in her mouth and looked at her oldest friend.
“I think if it’s okay with you I’ll leave this bit out of the weekly report card your mom calls for.” Vivian raised one eyebrow and took a bite of her sandwich.
“Does she still do that? It’s been two months.”
Poppy moved her hair behind her shoulder. “What have you told her so far?”
“That you’ve gained at least ten pounds and a dress size,” She raised that eyebrow again, “lie. That you’ve made loads of new friends and stay out late having fun, partial lie.” She took another bite of her sandwich and swallowed. “That you go shopping all the time and spend money so frivolously you can’t afford to move out of my living room. Lie and lie.” She took a drink of her sparkling water. “Oh yeah, and that you’re sleeping at some guy’s house and thinking of opening your own vintage boutique.”
“Well two out of six isn’t bad. Whenever she calls me I just tell her that I think of Josh less often each week and that I don’t fall asleep crying every night, which actually, now that I think about it is true. I didn’t cry at all at Austin’s.” They both looked up from their lunches smiling and said simultaneously, “Except for today.” Poppy rolled her eyes and Vivian laughed.
“I’m sorry Pop.” Vivian looked serious for a moment. “I don’t mean to laugh. I know it’s rough.”
“Oh Viv. It’s either something to laugh about or something to cry about and lock me away in an asylum for.” She smiled. “I’d rather be laughing.” They both finished their lunches before she said, “I do feel pretty bad for Austin. Poor guy, sleeping on his own couch and dragging around a sobbing mess on his weekend.” Poppy dug around in her purse for cash.
Vivian was serious again as she moved crumbs around her plate with the tines of her fork. “He’s in love with you. You know that, right?” Poppy looked back down at the bills in her hand.
“I know he likes me. Love seems like a strong word to come from someone who barely knows me.” She ran one hand through her blonde waves.
“No, he loves you. He’s loved you since that first trip when you came out here and loitered around that photo shoot. You’re different Pop. Different from ‘city girls’,” she raised her hands in air quotes. “You’re different from all girls. I think it broke him when I told him you were about to be married. His jaw literally dropped. I’ve never seen anyone look so disappointed in my life. I’ll never forget that.” She looked away a moment before continuing. “I figured he’d gotten over it until a year or so ago.” She took a sip of her ice water. Poppy waited for her to continue.
“I ran into his sister, London, at some party and we started talking. She wanted to know whom this girl was that occasionally flitted into the city to break her brother’s heart again and again. Every time you came to visit he tried to make an appearance. At least once a year he’d ask if you were still married.” She set her fork down and looked into Poppy’s eyes, blue meeting blue.
“He told me, right after I’d asked if he’d pick us up from the airport, that he would wait as long as it took but that he would be there the moment you were ready. You think all this is just happenstance but really it’s Austin taking every opportunity he sees to be with you.” Vivian gave a half smile. “He’s a really good guy Poppy and I just think you should know.” She laughed then, “But please God! Don’t tell him I told you any of that.” They both stood up and Poppy checked her watch, unsure of how to respond to such a heavy confession.
“Oh! I need to get back to the apartment and change for dinner.”
“Your hot date! What are you going to wear?” Vivian and Poppy had been planning outfits since they were in grade school and started coordinating their scrunched velvet jazz pants and floral leotards.
“I’m thinking elegant-casual with glam accessories.” Poppy wanted to look attractive but not necessarily desirable or sexy.
“Oh,” Vivian’s face fell, “I was thinking sexy-glam with sassy accessories or at least some color. I didn’t even know you owned so much black.”
“I wear color!”
“Only when you’re jogging and you have that super serious runner face which is like the blackest of all faces you can wear,” Vivian retorted.
“Alright,” Poppy conceded. “I’ll wear color as part of my elegant-casual look.” Poppy showered and dressed hurriedly when they arrived back at the brownstone.
“Okay, How do I look?” She stood with one hand on her hip. An eggplant sheath dress skimmed over her body gracefully. A coral skinny belt drew in her waist.
“You look great. I love that dress, it’s the blackest purple I’ve ever seen.”
“This is eggplant!” Poppy adjusted the belt. “Is the dress too short? Am I showing too much skin?” She twirled around for Vivian to see.
“Are you kidding me? The front comes up to your neck and it’s long sleeved.”
“These are three-quarter length sleeves and the hem is pretty short.” Poppy pulled at the dress.
“No, the hem is great and those coral heels aren’t so high. I love the low scoop back; it’s the right amount of sexy.” Vivian looked her over again. “What jewelry are you wearing?”
“These.” Poppy slipped on a pair of gold chandelier earrings that almost brushed her shoulders. “How’s the back of my hair?”
“Good. Did you braid it or just twist it?” Vivian tucked a few strands of Poppy’s hair back into the twist with a bobby pin.
“Both. Is it too… secretarial?” She patted the chignon.
“It’s perfect. You look beautiful.” Vivian put her hands on Poppy’s shoulders. “Are you nervous?”
“A little, but not as much as I would have thought.” She checked her watch. “I better go down and get a cab. Have a good night.” She gave Viv a quick kiss on the cheek.
Vivian stood in the door and called after her, “Have fun Poppy!”
Poppy pulled the belt of her trench tighter as she stepped out of the cab. The restaurant was open except for a few tables and Greg was easy to spot in dark jeans and a striped button up shirt. He stood as Poppy approached the table.
**About Faerl Marie: Faerl Marie is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in English and Social Welfare. She has worked as a style consultant, personal shopper and wardrobe curator, among other things. Faerl Marie spends her days writing, dreaming about new stories and characters, walking her dog and adoring her husband. She lives in the idyllic mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico. “The Golden Apple” is her first novel.
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