Forty-one year old Dana Quinn, a closet writer, career waitress and three-time psych ward patient has just lost her last family member. For Dana to go on, she must create a life meaningful enough to answer her eternal question: why did she alone survive the accident that killed her family? That’s a tall order for someone who’s barely managed to exist. Never married, in and out of an institution where only her writing saved her, Dana works a dismal job with a few friends she’s managed to keep at a safe distance.
Lost and hopeless in the weeks following Aunt Irma’s unexpected death, Dana discovers a letter and takes her aunt’s advice to walk away from her life in Queens and return to her family farm to write herself well one more time. For over thirty years Dana’s believed the farm was sold and did her best to forget it. But what if everything in the house is frozen in time exactly the way they left it? Nothing can stop her from walking through that door.
On the road she adopts a one-eared dog and finds a new best friend in Iowan-turned-New Yorker, Stu, who’s given up designing off-Broadway sets to care for his ailing mother back in his tiny hometown.
Chokecherry, her father’s beloved farm, is not at all what Dana expects and far more than she bargains for. By firelight, Malcolm reveals the cryptic history buried in the tunnel, and why the big barn strikes fear in the hearts of those who enter it. Despite its tragic past, the farm also possesses an undeniable capacity to heal the broken. In fact, it seems to be a magnet for broken hearts. Just as Dana and her friends form a tight bond and rise to the challenge of helping Chokecherry realize its true potential, a supernatural ability she’s failed to repress for years, nearly kills her. Dana’s forced to fight for a life she wants–a life that finally answers her eternal question in ways she never could’ve imagined.
Sheri became a favorite author of mine after I read Swallowtail. I loved that book and had very high expectations for everything I read for months after that. It took me quite awhile to rate any other book a 5 start after reading Swallowtail so when I heard she had a second book out – I was thrilled.
One of things that really intrigued me in Swallowtail was the topic of the book and the very similar beliefs that Sheri and I shared (which don’t always align with others). The moment I started reading Chokecherry, I knew Sheri and my beliefs aligned even more! (I even told hubby that I want to be Sheri’s best friend because I love the topics of her books and her writing is excellent!)
I know for certain this book won’t be for everyone (because everyone has different beliefs) but if you have an open mind and can remain open, you will enjoy Chokecherry.
I do have to admit that the beginning was a little chaotic for me. I am not sure if it was the lack of sleep I was running on or what was happening, but I found myself getting easily confused over everything taking place and having to reread a lot of pieces. But by the 2nd or 3rd chapter, I was set. (I didn’t have all the answers I was desperately grasping for, but I wasn’t so confused I couldn’t move forward in the book.)
Aside from Dana’s… talent… I felt that I could totally relate to Dana in a lot of ways. And Stu was a favorite from the very beginning!
There isn’t a whole lot more I can say without giving away all the good things this book holds.
Chokecherry is now up there with Swallowtail in my favorite book category!
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About the Author
Sheri Meshal spent most of her childhood on an old farm in Iowa. She is an author by day and chauffeur by night… for a tad bit longer. She inherited her lifelong love of books from her father, who sensed she was a writer long before she did, and changed the course of her life by telling her so. Her debut novel, Swallowtail, took over six years to write and was inspired by bizarre events which occurred shortly after her father’s passing in 1998. Best friends, they’d engaged in countless conversations regarding the possibility of life after death.
A minimalist, Sheri currently lives in Chicago sans furniture with her dog, Kylee and her roommate and fellow writer, Mack Oliver. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling and spending time with her nieces and nephews every chance she gets.
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Sheri’s Debut Book – Swallowtail
Chicago wife, mother and finance executive Claire Cummings, arrives at work one morning to discover her friend Julia has embezzled millions and vanished. Blindsided and devastated by the betrayal, she’s sent home pending further investigation. Claire’s bizarre death the following day sends everyone reeling, guessing and looking for her in all the wrong places. In no time she’s addicted to an enchanting menagerie of tricks and techniques for getting the living’s attention, but most people are harder to reach than she’d ever dreamed and even harder to set free.
She was still a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend… she’d move heaven and earth to keep it that way.
Sheri Meshal’s Swallowtail is a haunting story about life, love, loss and just how far we’ll go to control it all.
This debut from a thought-provoking new voice in fiction begs the question… what would you do if all the rules changed, and you were suddenly bestowed powers beyond your greatest imagination?
You can read my review of Swallowtail.
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