Versions of Her
Women’s Fiction (Fantasy)
Setting – Wisconsin
Red Adept Publishing (July 1, 2019)
Paperback: 352 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07TF4YBBH
On the surface, Melanie Kingstad-Keyes’s life is the picture of success. She’s a tenure track professor at a prestigious university and has a perfect husband. But a recent miscarriage has left her reeling and her marriage tenuous. Selling her family’s Lake Indigo summer home, which she hasn’t visited in fifteen years, feels like the perfect distraction from her problems. Now, she only needs to persuade her younger sister, Kelsey, to go along with her plan.
Stuck in a dead-end job, Kelsey Kingstad bounces from one doomed relationship to the next as she struggles to jumpstart her adult life. Carrying the guilt of her mother’s untimely death, Kelsey is reluctant to let go of the Victorian house filled with memories of her mom and their childhood.
When the sisters find a mysterious hidden door, Melanie and Kelsey discover that they can directly view their mother’s younger years and learn all the secrets she never shared with them. Delving into her memories is fun at first, but Melanie and Kelsey quickly uncover difficult truths, throwing their own life choices into question and making them wonder if they ever truly knew their mother. Visiting the past may help them find closure, but the cost could be steeper than they realize.
Sisters can be as different as night and day and that is the case with Melanie Kingstad-Keyes and Kelsey Kingstad. Melanie has always been driven and Kelsey is more laid back. But Melanie has recently suffered a miscarriage and the life she has planned so carefully may not come to fruition. Kelsey is having trouble dealing with her mother’s death and it is affecting her life. Their father has remarried and left the area. They try to get together for the holidays.
Melanie has decided it is time to sell the family’s summer home on Indigo Lake. She has the blessing of her father but Kelsey isn’t so sure she is ready to let go. But Melanie goes ahead and sets up a meeting with a realtor and tells Kelsey to meet with her. They find the home in worse shape than expected, but Melanie is sure they can get everything ship-shape and ready to sell quickly. She decides that after her miscarriage some time away from her husband at Indigo Lake is just what she needs. It will give her a chance to think while overseeing the repairs the house needs.
Soon after she arrives Melanie makes a surprising discovery and can’t wait to share it with Kelsey. She has found a hidden door that opens into a hidden room. That room enables some amazing things to happen. Things that give the girls pause. Things that shock them and things that make them rethink their lives.
I just skimmed the synopsis provided by the publisher before I started reading and I think it gives too much away. That being said, I hesitate to say too much because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone. But I really enjoyed discovering the treasure of the story and what it encompassed right along with the Kingstad sisters instead of expecting it and knowing what it entailed. I really got caught up in the mystery room and wish so much for one of my own.
This story was incredibility well-written. The characters were all introduced well and depth was built over the course of the book. I feel the sister dynamic was realistically portrayed. Being the younger sister in my family I did identify with Kelsey and could see some of Melanie’s traits in my sister. It is clear the sisters have a strained relationship and they needed this time together. Kelsey’s dog, Sprocket was a great unifier and brought some humor into the story. The other characters we meet all have a purpose and are fleshed out as time passes.
I love that the story is set in my home state of Wisconsin. There are a lot of lakes throughout the state with plenty of homes surrounding them. The author did a great job of describing the area and bringing it to life. I could easily imagine all the activities that happened there over the years.
Versions of Her is a heartwarming story filled with memories. It also a clear message. I found the story to be filled with emotions and growth. Melanie and Kelsey took a journey within these pages and I was happy to go along for the ride.
This is not the type of story I would typically read but I found it to be entertaining and memorable and a Perfect Escape!
About Andrea Lochen
Though Andrea Lochen had dreamed of being an author since the third grade, she didn’t realize creative writing was “an actual thing” until she stumbled upon the program at the University of Wisconsin as a college freshman. After graduating from college, she earned her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Michigan and later achieved her dream of becoming a published author.
Andrea is now the author of three novels: The Repeat Year, Imaginary Things, and Versions of Her. She teaches creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha, encouraging young writers to learn the craft and pursue their own writing dreams. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two small children, and their adorably fluffy dog, Maddy. In her free time, she likes to bake cupcakes and cakes, see musicals and plays, and read as much as humanly possible.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”