About the Book
Nellie Hawthorne is a woman who has it all. A devoted husband, her own business, a wealthy lifestyle. But the Nellie she is now is much different from her past. A past filled with abuse, addiction, and men. Nellie’s carefully constructed new life is suddenly in jeopardy when a blast from the past emerges in her small town and her overbearing mother-in-law starts pushing for grandchildren and questions start being asked. A budding new friendship presents itself at an opportune time, and a once friendless Nellie finds herself growing closer to Prue Doherty.
Prue Doherty is the quintessential good girl. Always making the right decisions, always playing it safe. Until she meets a man that could change all of that. Still reeling from a devastating breakup and betrayal that had her fleeing from Chicago and settling into suburb life with her mom close by, Prue finds herself in a damaging funk. But everything changes when she befriends Nellie Hawthorne.
Nellie is trying to escape her past. Prue wants that perfect future. While both women strive to change their lives, they continue to cling to the past. But what defines us? Who we were then . . . or who we are trying to be now? Lies, manipulation, and deceit are woven throughout the pages of this edgy women’s fiction novel, with an ending you won’t see coming.
Prue and Nellie could not be more different, but their lives somehow become intertwined.
I have read Defining Her twice and I’m so glad I did because I picked up on subtle nuances I did not give proper attention to the first time around and it gave me a chance to get to know the characters on a deeper level.
I have to bring this up first because it’s all I can think about while writing this review. The character development in this novel is out of this world. Character development is one of the top things I look for whilst reading a book. In Defining Her, it is very apparent that Samantha March spent a lot of time developing her characters, giving them unique personalities, quirks, and making them unlikable at times. When an author takes a chance and presents characters that might come across as unlikable, I feel impressed, I want to read more, and I am on the edge of my seat, waiting to become privy to the development of those characters. In a book titled, Defining Her, one might assume there will be growth, epiphanies, and scenes that give the reader little glimpses into the characters’ thought processes and also those thoughts that they keep to themselves that secretly change their own stories and even the stories of other characters. March does not disappoint.
As mentioned briefly, I found it difficult to like most of the characters in the book, but I liked Nellie almost from the beginning. I’ll expand upon my thought in the next paragraph, but this character was developed so nicely and I felt like she was so…real and relatable. I did not grow up under the same circumstances and I did not experience the horrors that she did, but I had my own scary times and that shared trauma helped link me to Nellie and allowed my heart to open up to her.
There are a few scenes in this book that are mature, upsetting, and difficult to fathom. Defining Her is raw, it is genuine. It will tug at your heartstrings and certain parts may make you uncomfortable. But the rawness, the difficult scenes are not put in the book for the sake of being shocking and sensational or to upset readers. Every move, every detail was carefully crafted by the author. The raw and unsettling parts of the story are there to give readers a better idea of a character’s background, to evoke compassion, and as hard as it might be to read about uncomfortable things, Defining Her shows us real life. Horrible things happen to people and this book delicately touches on topics that are real and sadly happen every day, evokes emotions from readers that are genuine, and connects the dots as to why someone might behave the way they do.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a compelling story that is not easy to figure out, readers who love excellent character development, and anyone who is looking for a book whose characters make you think, turn the pages at a heightened pace, share with your friends, but most of all feel.
🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩 5 doughnuts out of 5
*I received a complimentary ARC from the author in exchange for an honest, authentic review. It has been a privilege to be a part of this book tour for Samantha and to be able to share my thoughts on this book. It should also be noted that this is one of the best books I have read in a very long time, which made this even more of an honor.*
March 20 – ChickLit Goddess – Review & Excerpt
March 20 – Dandelion Inspired – Review
March 21 – Spunky N Sassy – Excerpt
March 24 – Beauty Books and Cats With Brooke – Review
March 24 – T’s Stuff – Excerpt & Q&A
March 27 – Karan Eleni – Review, Q&A & Excerpt
March 28 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Excerpt
March 29 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
March 30 – Hey Said Renee– Review
March 31 – Granny Loves to Read – Review & Excerpt
March 31 – Novel Escapes – Interview
April 3 – Book Lover in Florida – Review & Excerpt
April 3- Rainy Day Reviews – Review & Excerpt
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About the Author
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has five published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, Up To I Do and Defining Her, and one holiday novella, The Christmas Surprise. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or vlogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.
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