Belly of the Whale by Linda Merlino

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Kunati Inc. (April 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601640188
ISBN-13: 978-1601640185

Excerpt from the back of the book:
Hudson Catalina has given up—having lost both breasts to cancer, she is emotionally and physically exhausted, no longer willing to endure the nausea and crushing weakness of her grueling treatment. Nothing in her life—not even her beloved husband and children, her best friend, or her passion for teaching high school—will sway her decision to terminate her treatment. On the eve of her daughter's fifth birthday celebration, a troubled former student confronts her, hell-bent on violent revenge and then suicide. Facing certain peril, Hudson vows to do whatever she must in order to survive and see her husband and children once again.

Hudson Catalina is up against "the beast" - that is what she calls the cancer that has taken both of her breasts and is threatening to take her life. She has already lost her grandmother and mother to this awful disease, and even though she has fought hard, she is ready to give up and give in. In the midst of a raging New England blizzard, she decides she is going to go and visit Ruby Desmond, the owner of Whales Market, to pick up some supplies she needs to celebrate her daughters fifth birthday, quite likely the last she will celebrate with her. While there she encounters trouble in the likes of Buddy Baker, the town hoodlum. Buddy is truly armed and dangerous, and it is unsure whether any of them will get out alive.

I don't believe in spoiling the fun for everyone, but this one got a grip and wouldn't let go. Whether the breast cancer was front and center, or the drama among the family, or the terror that encounters the participants at the market, the author has a wonderful ability to keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for what is to come. Excellent job!

About the author:

Life is our daily teacher. One lesson begets another and then another.

Once-upon-a-time life kicked me off my writer's path and led me to pursue a more practical profession. My childhood dream of becoming a journalist was silenced.

Years later, I became a single parent, not by choice but by necessity, and my most trustworthy partner became a ballpoint. The fiction in my head turned into words on yellow legal pad. I wrote anywhere, any time, on my dining room table, and on my lunch hour. No place was my sacred space. I wrote in my car during soccer practices, under an umbrella on rain drenched sidelines, in fast food restaurants and in chain hotels. I wrote during championship after championship in cities and states, from Jersey to Phoenix.

The quieted yearning to be a writer reawakened onto the pages of a novel. My first was self-published after five years of juggling work, kids and day-to-day. A flawed but beautiful story emerged onto paper and "Swan Boat Souvenir" enjoyed local acclaim and success.

I knew there was more to do, more to write and that the next book would be published traditionally, that the next manuscript would have the benefit of an editor and the advice of professionals. After months of writing, Belly of the Whale went from paper, to computer, to draft after draft and finally into the arms of Kunati Publishers.

My children are grown. My passion to write remains a constant. Each book I complete is dedicated to the magic of believing in my dream, to my son and to my daughters.

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Cheryl said...

I have to tell you Linda that I love the premise of this book. As a child, I lost my mother to cancer and even though I was only 14, I watched her disintegrate from the vibrant woman I knew to a 33 pound, sickly woman who couldn't get out of bed. But her will to live was strong and that is what I remember most of all.

Best of luck on this tour!


thewriterslife said...

Excellent review, thank you Book Czar! I wanted to pop in and say hi to Linda...I haven't had much time to pop her an email but she's in great hands with Jaime. Good luck with your tour, Linda, and I'll be checking out the stops daily. You are a wonderful person and you have a fantastic book, one in which I'd be proud of. ;o)