The Girl I Used to Be (Bookouture, 2021)
By Heidi Hostetter
All that glitters is not gold in this delightfully captivating of story of one woman’s inner search for and journey back to her true self. There are plenty of pitfalls along the way. Lots of obstacles to navigate. Like a full-time jerk who’s a part time hubby (to put it charitably). Lost friends. Fake “friends.” A humble past Jill ‘s been told to not just forget, but to erase and be ashamed of. Also enough tangled webs, betrayals and duplicity to make Shelob look like a piker.
But in the end, friendship, solidarity, personal fortitude and a refusal to be pressed into someone else’s artificial, pre-fab mold win out. Lots of intrigue and unraveling along the way.
Jillian DiFiore Goodman, 26 y.o. photographer wannabe and female protagonist.
Marc Goodman: Real estate mogul and Jillian’s husband. Sort of. (Spoiler: This dude’s anything but a “good man.” Barf.)
Ellie Mohanan: Caterer/events organizer and Jill’s BFF.
“Dewberry Beach” Brittany: Marc’s alleged property manager but really “the girl with something extra.” Like, not good.
Cushman “Cush” Lawrence, Marc’s Lead Staff Attorney. (This guy gives snakes a bad name.)
All-Around Heroine: Jillian’s Aunt Sarah, a sweet and sturdy voice from the past who ladles out common sense and strength from an endless wellspring of love and grace.
When Chick Lit Central invited me to join a blog tour promoting this book, I didn’t exactly jump at the opportunity. In fact, I hung back for a while. Wasn’t sure it was a good fit. (As you know, we’re picky here at Pages and Paws. A lot of “chick lit” doesn’t make the cut. Because it’s crap.)
Anyway, a furry someone who shall remain nameless chimed in with, “C’mon Mom! What’re ya waiting’ for! I mean, hey! New Jersey. The beach. Lots of water and sticks to chase! A play list with Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin!! What’s not to love!”
So I dove in.
The story grabbed me in the first few pages and reeled me in. I was hooked by the end of chapter one! This is a quick read and a great way to dance into spring – or jumpstart your summer. Enjoy!
Heidi Hostetter is a proud Jersey Girl, born and raised. Growing up, she spent summers at her grandparents’ house on the shore, in a town much like the one she writes about in her novels, and it was idyllic. The New Jersey shore has a culture all its own, where every magical thing can be found: sparklers on the beach, fireflies at night, and whole days swimming in the ocean.
She went to college in South Carolina and found inspiration for her Lowcountry Novels. After graduation, she moved to the Pacific Northwest where she developed an appreciate the rain. Trips to the Oregon coast inspired her award-winning Inlet Beach novels. She and her family have recently moved back across the country, to the DC-area, where history is everywhere. They live in a one-hundred-year-old house that’s definitely haunted and feels like inspiration for a really good story.
When she’s not writing, you can probably find her digging in her garden or poking around old houses for inspiration. She loves the beach, a good podcast, and is always up for a trip to a bookstore, no matter how far away.
Heidi is currently at work on her new novel. She shares office space with a labradoodle named Emmett who keeps are careful watch for errant squirrels foolish enough to wander into his yard. She loves to hear from readers and answers all her own mail. You can find her here:
Facebook Reading Group: facebook.com/groups/636728933179573