Over the past couple of years I have become a fan of books by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Although I had known her name, I hadn’t yet had a chance to read her books. I’m making up for that big-time. Each book is unique, with characters taken right out of real life and thrust into difficult situations. Catherine knows how to pull on the reader’s heartstrings, while making worthwhile points with her fiction. I’m honored to share the same publisher as her, and thrilled to be able to share my thoughts of her novels with readers. Here is my review of her latest novel, Allie and Bea.
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.
When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.
Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.
Publish Date: May 23, 2017
Lake Union Publishing
Pre-Order on Amazon:
My 5-Star Review:
Bea is an elderly woman living month-to-month on her Social Security check and barely able to make ends meet. When she is scammed out of the last of her money, she devises a plan: she’ll pack up her van and live as best she can on the road. But she’s decided that the world owes her now, and as far as she’s concerned, anything goes.
Allie’s parents are arrested and she is left to fend for herself in a group home. Allie isn’t street-wise, so living within the system is difficult for her to understand. She has a great sense of right and wrong, and has trouble when others cross that line. When her life is put in danger, she runs, and circumstances bring her right in Bea’s path.
Allie and Bea is a heartwarming story of two strangers being thrust together and trying to make the best of it. Author Catherine Ryan Hyde is an expert at creating real-life characters and putting them into extraordinary circumstances and then seeing how they cope. Bea is tired of being pushed around by society after working for years and being left with nothing. Allie has never thought twice about her upper-class upbringing until it all comes crashing down around her. Together, the two learn what is most important in life as they build a bond of friendship between them.
This story is a definite must-read.
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-two published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts as well as the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.
Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.