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Please join Jean Davies Okimoto, author of The Love Ceiling, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours! The Love Ceiling was recently named to the Summer 2010 Indie Next List  for Reading Groups by the American Booksellers Association.

Introduction by Jean Davies Okimoto

I was delighted that Vera asked me to write a short introduction to my novel The Love Ceiling as I really enjoy the opportunity to share how I came to write this novel. Thank you, Vera!

It was when I was visiting my aunt at her home in Washington DC that I first got the idea for the story. I live in the other Washington, on an island near Seattle, and had not visited her before. My aunt was a wonderful artist and I was eager to see her studio. But instead of the bright, sunlit room I expected, she took me to an unfinished basement where her easel was lit from a light bulb hanging from the ceiling. I felt incredibly sad, and I knew that for all kinds of complex reasons having to do with her idea of herself and the needs of her family, she wasn’t able to value her gift enough to honor it with a space that was worthy of it.

The image stayed with me and found its way into The Love Ceiling, where I explore a common theme for women: the pull between family and creative self-expression. I’ve been a psychotherapist for over thirty years with seventeen books published for children and young adults, but The Love Ceiling is my debut novel for my own age group. One of the most gratifying things for me is the positive response I’ve gotten from some younger women who feel the themes around women and creativity resonate with them as well.

My hope is that readers will be entertained; that the novel will bring enjoyment, bring some laughter, provoke thought, and wherever possible touch the heart. Most of all, I hope readers of all ages are left with the idea that it’s still possible to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams.

You can catch up with Jean at her official website.

Reviewed by Poppy J.

The story in The Love Ceiling centers on Annie, a married woman in her sixties who is struggling to come to terms with the recent death of her mother. The fact that her father, a famous artist, has never allowed Annie to express her true creativity does not help matters. In addition to Annie’s distress, her daughter Cass is dealing with marital problems. Cass feels the numbness of a marriage gone sour, and although Annie wants to comfort her, she cannot be close to her daughter. The personal stories of Annie and Cass are intertwined with the common threads of love, self-acceptance and renewed spirits, as each chapter explains and highlights the lives of the characters and their relationships with their loved ones.

Annie has always had to live in her father’s shadow. When she finally gets a chance to spread her wings in the story, she is surprised that it’s actually difficult to let go of her painful past. Annie’s finally ready to be true to herself, even at her age, and takes the needed opportunity to breathe and take flight. The story avoids being generic, because the character’s emotions are always at the mercy of the people that they love the most.

It would be easy for Annie to make the decision to go and paint. In a free world, Annie could become an artist any time she desired. The fact that she struggled with her choices, was haunted by her past memories of her father’s discouragement and doubted her success meant that Annie was as real, and as fragile, as the rest of us. And that special quality is what makes Annie and the other characters so appealing in The Love Ceiling. I’d recommend it to readers of any age, but especially to women switching careers or rebounding after a loss.

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

A review copy was provided free of any obligation by Endicott & Hugh Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.