“In the Mirror” by Kaira Rouda
What choices would you make if you knew you might die soon?
From the multi award-winning, best-selling author of four books, including Here, Home, Hope, a gripping and heart wrenching novel about a young mother who has it all. The only problem is she may be dying.
In her previous works including All the Difference, Rouda’s characters “sparkle with humor and heart,” and the stories are “told with honest insight and humor” (Booklist). “Inspirational and engaging” (ForeWord), these are the novels you’ll turn to for strong female characters and an “engaging read” (Kirkus).
In the Mirror is the story of Jennifer Benson, a woman who seems to have it all. Diagnosed with cancer, she enters an experimental treatment facility to tackle her disease the same way she tackled her life – head on. But while she’s busy fighting for a cure, running her business, planning a party, staying connected with her kids, and trying to keep her sanity, she ignores her own intuition and warnings from others and reignites an old relationship best left behind.
If you knew you might die, what choices would you make? How would it affect your marriage? How would you live each day? And how would you say no to the one who got away?
My Review: It brings me great joy to share this review on the release day of In the Mirror, (CONGRATULATIONS, Kaira!). I had never read anything by Kaira Rouda, so I was beyond ecstatic when she asked me if I would read and review her newest book. Instantly, I jumped at the chance, as I’ve seen her books and have heard such amazing things about how they draw you in.
Right from the start, I was, in fact, drawn in, and was pursued by Kaira’s main character, Jennifer. Even though she was in a serious state of her cancer, Jennifer was a fighter, who wanted to keep her life as normal as possible. Since she’s in a treatment center with other patients, she has become friends with a wonderful man, who, at times, I thought was a little too forward, but I understood why he acted the way he did, along with the significance of his character, but only at the end.
Jennifer appears to have a loving marriage, and two children she adore her, even if she can’t be at home with them. Along with them, she also has a sister who seems a little too mysterious (something was off about her from the beginning), a mother who cares, yet has a hard time of showing it, and a father who loves her. What more could one want, right? Well, from the moment her ex is mentioned, I got not such a good feeling about him, and that only strengthened when he went to visit Jennifer…and took her away, (nope, no spoilers, but let’s just say I was holding my breath the whole time).
While reading In the Mirror, I laughed and cried, but not only that, I got angry, too, and wanted to protect Jennifer from any evilness that would come her way.
The last paragraph of the book did have me wounding a lot — did Jennifer die, or did she fall asleep. As of now, I’m still debating what really happened, but I think that’s what Kaira wanted her readers to do — to think about the situation, and all that Jennifer went through.
Like I mentioned above, this was my first book by Kaira Rouda, and it won’t be my last. She’s an amazing author, who leaves you wanting more, both from her characters and her books. If you’re looking for a book that is a fast, quick read, one you can’t put down and will tug and melt your heart along the way, added with a little mystery at the end, I highly recommend In the Mirror!
I give this book 5 stars!
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Describe your writing style in five words: for my women’s fiction novels like In the Mirror and Here, Home, Hope: funny, heart-warming, sweet, insightful. And when I’m writing romantic suspense, like All the Difference, adventurous and suspenseful!
Writing has always made you feel…: happy. It is my favorite form of expression, always has been.
What was your inspiration for “In the Mirror”? Unfortunately, knowing too many young mothers facing the terrible diagnosis of breast cancer. In particular, a close friend who was the definition of grace under pressure as she battled the disease, and who remains an inspiration to everyone who knew her.
What is you’re writing/editing/publishing process like for writing a book? It’s actually quite different for each novel, depending on the amount of research needed. And the publishing process – well, that, too, has been different for each book. It’s like the wild west out here in publishing land, but I’m enjoying the ride – as long as readers continue to enjoy my stories, that is all that matters.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what’s your solution? Last year – all of 2013 – was the worst writer’s block year for me. It was horrible. I couldn’t find a solution so I hope it doesn’t come back again like that! The only thing that helped me was the calendar changing to 2014!
Do you have any writing rituals? My favorite writing ritual involves having my dog, Tucker, nestled inside the top drawer of my desk as I write. Not kidding. I took out all of the desk stuff – pens, stapler, paper clips etc. – and put his dog bed in there. He’s a six pound shitzu-poodle mix, so he fits perfectly!
What do you want readers to take away from your books? I love it when my readers are entertained, perhaps learn a little something or feel a bit inspired. In the end, I would like my stories to linger with you, in a good way of course.
At the end of “In the Mirror,” readers are left wondering if the main character dies or falls asleep. What do you think happened to Jennifer, and what made you write it that way? I know as much as you do! Obviously, Jennifer is tired after finally having the party. I do find it interesting, readers’ assumptions about what happens to Jennifer. She is clearly weaker at the end of the novel, but she had a good reason to be, don’t you think?
If you weren’t an author, what would you be? A creative director at an advertising agency.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Just keep writing.
What are you working on now? A summer short story. And I’m looking forward to the release of my next romantic suspense, Lines in the Sand, this August!
**About Kaira Rouda: Kaira Rouda lives in Laguna Beach with her husband, kids, three dogs and a fish named Phil. Please visit her website, KairaRouda.com, her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter. She really loves Pinterest, too! She loves to Skype with book clubs!