Georgia Bishop "coulda been a contender" in jazz music. She inherited her late mother musical talent and her correspondent father's intelligence. Instead of making great music, Georgia has wallowed in self-pity and thrown away her gift and her marriage to Sean. She works at a small contemporary church and blames the bad outcome of her marriage on Sean's decision to join a monastery, rather than the true culprit, her love of alcohol. Georgia quits her job and moves into her father's condo after he is killed in Iraq, as her life takes a downward spiral.
Georgia's cousin, Fairly Godfrey, has had a rough life, full of tragedy, including the death of her beloved husband, Hort, from cancer. Fairly chooses a different path to deal with her sorrows and has immersed herself in a successful career as a design consultant. There is still a niggling feeling of loneliness and questions about what life should be about that weigh heavy on Fairly's heart.
STRAIGHT UP is not so much a true romance, but an inspirational novel that looks at love that is lost, betrayed or never fully realized. Georgia and Fairly are women with whom female readers can empathize. Although our choices may not be as disastrous as Georgia's, most of us fail to live up to the full potential of our God-given talents. We take the easy road, rather than "the road less traveled".
The story is told by alternating narrators, a device that works well to slowly reveal the inner lives, as well as the past of these intriguing characters. The author addresses some provocative issues in an unusual way. Whether you share her viewpoint or not, you are bound to ponder the messages she has presented well after the last page.
Fairly's comments about reading books that are funny and have happy endings while she sat in treatment and hospital rooms truly resonated with me. My beloved husband is still with me, but romances and humorous books were such a comfort to me when he was seriously ill and times were tough. The reader is sure to find many things with which she can identify in this unflinching, yet redemptive look, at dealing with life's trials and tribulations.
Lisa Samson has written many novels such as CLUB SANDWICH and THE CHURCH LADIES and has won the Christy award for contemporary fiction. STRAIGHT UP is another compelling novel in her growing body of work.