Review: Not To Us By Katherine Clare Owen

Not to Us by Katherine Clare Owen
Publication Date: April 30, 2011
Publisher: The Writing Works Group
Page Count: 347
Source: book provided by the publisher for review

There are all kinds of ways for a relationship to be tested, even broken, irrevocably; it’s the endings that we’re unprepared for. My life has become a roller coaster ride, mixed with equal amounts of pure joy and exposed fear; and, sometimes, this unfathomable incredulity. This arrives in spurts, like adrenalin or injected heroin; well, how I imagine injected heroin would feel. That’s when I consider that change—change, its inevitability—is coming. And I can’t stop it.

This is how the roller coaster ride story of Ellen Kay “Ellie” Bradford begins. Ellie—a successful editor, a doting mother, and a loving wife—discovers her perfect world has been rocked by her best friend Carrie’s betrayal with her husband Robert. Since college, it’s been the two couples: Robert and Ellie; and Michael and Carrie. Ellie’s world unravels even further when she learns that she has breast cancer from Michael, the brilliant surgeon determined to save her. With an unexpected pregnancy further complicating Ellie’s cancer treatment, Michael and Ellie marry, both intent on building another perfect life together with their blended families. But soon after, their extraordinary bond is tested like never before. Not to Us is an insightful look into one woman’s personal journey in discovering the only way to her one and only wish is to trust the ones that count, beginning with herself.

Review: Not to Us is crafted flawlessly in first-person present tense, a difficult mechanism. Ellie’s emotional journey is explored in depth; readers will recognize and identify with many of her thoughts and feelings. However, the overall plot strains belief.

Ms Owen writes well. The story has tremendous possibilities, but in the opinion of this reviewer the characters’ actions and reactions to the situations in which they find themselves seem unrealistic. The topics of surviving cancer, divorce, and personal tragedy are certainly relevant but call for a more balanced approach by mature adults. While people may feel they are on a rollercoaster, as rational (or even irrational) human beings, they are well aware of the necessity to traverse the ground below with some plan and purpose.

At this writing, the novel has received four five-star reviews at, so readers considering the book might want to check there for another insight.


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