Review: Megan’s Way, by Melissa Foster

Megan's Way by Melissa Foster

Megan’s Way
Melissa Foster

Description (from

What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she’ll be faced with the most difficult decision she’s ever had to make. She’ll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she’d made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia’s world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there’s nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan’s closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts.

I was introduced to Megan’s Way when it was included in a daily mailing of free kindle books. Some of those free offerings are fabulous, some not so much, but this one is definitely in the first category. It’s warm, human, and really well constructed. The characters sing. Their environments feel three-dimensional. Had I actually paid full price for this, I would be equally happy with the purchase.

At the heart of this book is a mother-daughter relationship, between the title character Megan and her teenaged daughter Olivia that hits all the right notes to feel real, even though a sense of magical realism is overlaid upon the entire story. This woman and this girl are completely believable – Megan, the free-spirited artist who embodies the concept of “spiritual, but not particularly religious” and Olivia, the girl who hasn’t quite come out of her shell, and who is as much a friend as she is a daughter to Megan. Their relationship reminded me very much of my own relationship with MY mother, who remains my closest confidante even now.

But vignettes of mother-daughter moments do not a novel make. Foster has crafted a lovely story of friendship, intrigue, love, and truth in Megan’s Way. Megan’s best friend Holly, who gave birth to a baby we’re told didn’t make it, at the same time that Olivia was being born, finds herself unable to have children at the same time that Megan’s cancer returns, and it is their intertwining stories that balance the sweetness of the mother-daughter scenes.

The men in this novel aren’t given as much page-time, but their presence is felt, even so. This book won an award for being a beach book, and I can’t help but notice that Holly’s husband Jack (a long-time friend of both women) and their other friend Peter both live on the page in ways that the men in Elin Hilderbrand’s (probably the queen of beach reading) books never do. These are real men, with distinct emotions and opinions.

Yes, there is a fair amount of drama, yes there is emotional intrigue lacing the book, but there’s nothing soap-opera about the story. Instead, Foster has painted a picture of a plausible family-by-choice, made more vivid by hidden truths, human imperfections, everyday magic, and tons of love.

Goes well with: a strong cup of tea, and New England clam chowder, with oyster crackers.

Megan’s Way
Melissa Foster
304 pages, Outskirts Press, July, 2009
Buy this book at

The Sunday Salon: Free Kindle-ing

The Sunday

It was roughly a year ago that I received my Kindle e-reader as a birthday present from my aunt. I fell in love with it almost immediately, although I confess that the ability to have a new book in just a few seconds means that I spend far more on ebooks than I ever did on physical ones, especially since I still buy paperbacks to read in the bath!

Soon after I received my Kindle, I was introduced to, a website that compiles new releases, price changes, and even free books for ereaders, and helpfully shoots you a daily email message with links to them.

Now, some of the free books are obviously free because they’re self-published (which that doesn’t mean they’re BAD, though it often means they’re either explicit sexual or explicitly Christian), but others are the first books in established series that are free to garner new audiences, or free because they’re backlisted, or free because they’re previews…

Blue, Lou Aronica

The thing is I’ve discovered some amazing work that people are literally giving away for free. The week before my nephew died, I downloaded a free book called Blue, by Lou Aronica, which was about a divorced father trying to maintain a relationship with his teenaged daughter, while she struggled with a relapse of cancer. It sounds really sad, and I guess parts of it are, but it was also a lovely fantasy, a brilliant father-daughter piece, and actually, I found it to be full of healing and hope.

I didn’t review it, because – well, I didn’t review anything, or maintain any of my blogs, really, between April and August. But I thought it was a great read, and I heartily recommend it.

Then, last week, as part of my self-indulgent birthday week of reading as much as possible, I downloaded a free copy of Megan Foster’s award-reading novel Megan’s Way. I finished it on Thursday or Friday, and tweeted about it, and ended up in a brief chat with the author. It, too, was a lovely book with a really beautiful parent-child relationship at its heart – this time with the title character – Megan – and her teen daughter Olivia.

Megan's Way, Melissa Foster

More magical realism than true fantasy, this was exactly the book I needed to read at the time that I downloaded it, and I loved it so much that I’m eager to read more of Foster’s work. Look for the review of Megan’s Way here on this blog in the next day or so (I meant to get it done over the weekend but life conspired against me).

These are just two examples of books I’ve read for free (or very little money) via my Kindle. Do I still love cracking open a paperback, or going to a reading and buying a signed copy? Of course! But I love being able to have a portable library as well.

My only dislike of my Kindle – and the technology in general – is that not EVERY book is lendable. After all, every hardcover and paperback is.