A Thousand Sleepless Nights by Michael King will bring you into a family torn apart by neglect and hurt… And brought together again by a most unlikely force. In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love,... Read More
And brought together again by a most unlikely force.
In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love, on the largest horse ranch in Virginia. The object of his affections, Nena St. Claire, is the daughter of the owner—a man who ruled his ranch with an iron fist and would do whatever it took to keep Nena and Jim apart.
Against the wishes of her family, Nena marries Jim, and after her father dies, she sacrifices everything—including her family—to keep the ranch alive. Now their three grown children have lives of their own and want nothing to do with Nena. She was never the mother they needed.
When cancer strikes and Nena is given a devastating diagnosis, can Jim reconcile the family before it is too late?
Page Count: 304
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Oct 16, 2012
- UPC: 9781616388355
- Height: 0.83
- Width: 5.56
- Length: 8.20
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 292
- Publish Date: Oct 16, 2012
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC042040"
- ISBN: 1616388358
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- A Poignant story of how a deeply dysfunctional family deals with cancer by Beverly on 11/8/2014
Michael King's writing style makes this tough-as-nails work of fiction well worth reading. He uses two tiers of storytelling: one timeline is in the present where Jimmy Hutching and his wife Nena face down a diagnosis of advanced colon cancer and deal with the apathy of their adult children. The second tier is Jimmy's personal reminiscences of the past, beginning on the day he came home from school to find his father beating his mother. When he tried to protect her, his father beat him and threw him out of the house. Eventually he found work and a place to stay as a laborer on a horse ranch.
The two tiers intertwine and eventually the reader realizes that Jimmy's memories are the love story between him and Nena St. Claire, the rancher's daughter. The story is sweet but takes on an edge near the end. That part of the tale is mostly from Jimmy's perspective.
Nena Hutching wasn't all that surprised when medical tests and scans showed the presence of cancer. Her grandfather and father had both had it. But the diagnosis and treatment were still hard to cope with. She was afraid to die. The cancer was a monster, and in her dreams became someone she could not escape.
Each of the three siblings got a call from their father to tell them about their mother's cancer. None of the three wanted to visit her. The distance in her family hurt her, but Nena understood it as the natural consequences of her neglect years earlier.
"I hope you find this story not only moving and inspirational, but also deeply personal." (author Michael King) I did find this story a bit disturbing at first. There is cancer in my family and I understand the process well. I have seen it all first hand. The author writes this novel well, sets up the tension on both tiers, working it into an element of suspense, yet creates a satisfying conclusion. For me, it wasn't easy to read, not because of any problems with the book's level of interest, because it keeps the reader's attention very well, but it was a bit too personal. The story's pathos crept down deep and touched me. This book isn't one I'd pull off a bookshelf and read on my own for personal reasons, but I am glad I read it. The final scenes have the potential to bring the reader peace of heart, especially if they have gotten invested in the story emotionally.
The themes of family and reconciliation are dominant in this story. It takes awhile to reach a resolution for all the family members, and the ending may not happen in the way many of us readers want it to, but the conclusion implies there is more to come. For the Hutching family, it is simply a beginning of something better.
I enjoyed how the author expressed Jimmy's love for his Nena. His was a quiet strength that I found heart-warming and intriguing. He knew his father's tendency for violence and he was determined not to use brute strength in his own walk if at all possible. This placed him in an awkward position a few times when he needed to defend someone or himself physically. But when it came to Nena's welfare, he fought willingly for her; it was one thing she always loved about him. Now while they were fighting the cancer, he took this quiet strength to the next level which endeared him to me as a reader. I believe many other readers will admire this kind of strength in Jimmy too.
The author has a marvelous sense of timing in turning a story filled with sadness into triumph, sensitivity for subtleties in the lives of his characters, and the ability to communicate real-to-life spiritual issues in a conversational manner. I would be happy to read more of this author's books in the future.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the Booketeria on behalf of Charisma House Publishing (Realms). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissionâs 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."