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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger

Hi there!
Welcome back to another day here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers....the place to be when you're in need of your next great read.  No worries!  We've got you covered...sometimes even DOUBLE covered.

Today is one of those days...the double days that is! Today we are playing host to TWO blog tours featuring two very different titles to appease your reading appetite.  So, if you would be so kind as to join me, we are about to embark on the first adventure of the day.

First up, we're closing out a blog tour via TLC Book Tours (Thanks for the chance guys!) starring a Fiction title that will move you to tears of joy, sadness, and gratitude.  There is much hope to be shared as well as contemplation of the BIGGER picture for those able to pose and those that seem to have been merely placed within the frame.  Ready to meet today's first book of choice?  Ladies and gents, the envelope is open, and the featured title is.... 

Susan Schoenberger
Lake Union Publishing

About the book....
Holly is a young widow with two kids living in a ramshackle house in the same small town where she grew up wealthy. Now barely able to make ends meet editing the town’s struggling newspaper, she manages to stay afloat with help from her family. Then her mother suffers a stroke, and Holly’s world begins to completely fall apart.
Vivian has lived an extraordinary life, despite the fact that she has been confined to an iron lung since contracting polio as a child. Her condition means she requires constant monitoring, and the close-knit community joins together to give her care and help keep her alive. As their town buckles under the weight of the Great Recession, Holly and Vivian, two very different women both touched by pain, forge an unlikely alliance that may just offer each an unexpected salvation.


What is a virtue exactly?
Is it something we can touch, taste, smell, see, or feel?  Is it something that can be quantified with numbers or studied with science?  The answer is NO.  In definition, it is explained as "behaviour showing high moral standards"; in this case, I believe it is applies as the "goodness" of in it is not merely a gas but something that keeps our systems going.  When our ability to partake of its "goodness" is impaired, many would crumble, and understandably so....but not our Vivian.  No sir, she thrived.

Martha Mason

Inspired by a true story, author Susan Schoenberger invites us in to meet this enigmatic woman that goes from wild and carefree tomboy to a striken shadow of her former self in mere seconds thanks to a disease that was still rampant in her day and time.  Thanks to man's innovations, she was able to live encapsulated in an iron lung to a ripe old age, which is where we meet her and her entourage of caring friends and neighbors heck bent on making sure she stays with them for many years to come.  Question is, did anyone ever ask her?  

We come to realize throughout the course of the novel as we bounce between recollections gathered in unaired recordings and present day interactions that Vivian was not always so grateful for the life she was given; in fact, she was downright hateful.  Well honestly, could you blame her?  I'm pretty sure I'd have an awfully hard time with her situation is deposited upon my own person whether I've lived a longer life free of most restrictions or not.  How's about you?  Think you could handle it?  Do you think you'd take the high road and survive learning that most things that occur in life are in the mind?  Could you stand constant attention paid to you in order to merely sustain life 24/7?  Could you come to terms with the reality of what your life could and could not be?  Something to think about....

The real beauty of this story is that it's not simply held within the mind and words shared by our Vivian.  The real beauty shows itself in the way everything is revealed through the townspeople with their plights and flights of fancy...but most especially Holly and her boys.  You see, Holly is more than one of the many caretakers Vivian has....she is also a friend, and a dear one at that.  She's the person she can seriously connect with, knowing when to push or pull, and never letting the iron lung stand between them.  She didn't cut Vivian slack or treat her any differently.  She treated her as an equal, mentor and friend.  The connection between them was touching to watch....even more so when things take a darker turn...and to me, never waivered from the personalities we came to know and care for.  Holly may not have been perfect and her life may have been falling down around her like London Bridge in that nursery rhyme of old, but her commitment to those she loved and their happiness always took precedence.  It was great to see two female characters so different and yet so alike share their stories simultaneously, while reaching for a happier ending on the horizon.  

Did they both get what they sought?  I would like to think so....and while I've seen some who think otherwise, I feel the ending fit the story rather well, even if it was a bit rushed.  (Sorry but once I'm in a story, I don't want to let go!)  You get to know everyone quite well as the pages turn, from the Sister Sisters to Marveen, Racine (~whistles~) to Holly's brother and sister.  They may not have the best of times at the moment but they haven't completely given up hope....and that my friends even in our darknest hours can mean a great deal.  So if you're in the mood for a read with two great females leading the pack with just as much baggage as the rest of us and a few more obstacles thrown in for good measure, yet enough heart to up end the scales, this one is definitely for you.


About the author....

Susan Schoenberger is the author of the award-winning debut novel A Watershed Year. Before turning her attention to writing fiction, she worked as a journalist and copyeditor for many years, most recently at The Hartford Courant and The Baltimore Sun. She currently serves as the director of communications at Hartford Seminary and teaches writing classes at the Mark Twain House in Hartford. She lives in West Hartford, Connecticut, with her husband and three children.

Connect with Susan at her website,, via Facebook, or catch her on Twitter.


ARC for review received courtesy of Lisa at TLC Book Tours and the folks at Lake Union Publishing.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the tour stops prior to mine, or any other inquisitive question that may be answered by connecting to another site, feel free to click the links provided within this post.  This title was released this July, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or online retailer of your choosing.

Until next time....happy reading!

1 comment:

LisaMM said...

I cannot imagine life in an iron lung. The feeling of being trapped and dependent on others all of the time would be very hard to deal with. Great review! Thanks so much for being a part of the tour.

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