About the Book
Book: Second Helpings
Author: Linda Wood Rondeau
Genre: Short, humorous contemporary women’s fiction
Release Date: April 19, 2020
Today is Jocelyn Johnson’s 45th birthday. Unhappy with her marriage of 22 years, the parenting talk show host has planned a noonday tryst with her cohost. A phone call from her college daughter, a peek into her teenaged son’s journal, a sick preschooler, a Goth daughter’s identity crisis, a middle-school son’s prank, and her husband’s inflamed suspicions, not only interfere with her hopeful birthday plans but throw her family into more chaos than a circus on steroids.
In desperate need of counsel, Jocelyn invites a Christian to dinner, her guest from her morning talk show segment. However, the evening holds little promise of calm. In the midst of bedlam, a forgotten faith rekindles causing Jocelyn to rethink her life and her marriage.
You will laugh and you will cry from the first page to the last as you journey through the day’s events and Jocelyn’s search for Second Helpings.
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After reading this story I feel like I have run a marathon. The author takes us on a whirlwind look inside a family that is in chaos. Jocelyn is the type that wants her children to still need her even though some are becoming adults. I was exhausted reading everything she tried to accomplish in a day. What I realized is that Jocelyn is unhappy with her stagnant marriage and tries to find other ways to make herself still feel needed.
Larsen is busy with his practice as a psychiatrist. He sees clients everyday with problems, yet he doesn’t seem to grasp the dysfunction his family is in. Each child seems to have some conflict going on but for me I thought it was Jocelyn overreacting to everything. Larsen does his best as a father but lacking in the husband department. The author demonstrates how we get complacent in our marriage and start to have wandering thoughts. Not everyone will fall for that trap but the enemy knows our weakness.
I found it very interesting that Jocelyn worked at a radio station and had a talk show. It was no accident the day she has a special guest who happens to be just what Jocelyn needs. Naomi is endearing, patient and is gifted with words that speak directly to your heart. I was a little upset when Jocelyn invited her over for dinner and then ignored her most of the evening. While Jocelyn bounced between kids and their problems, Naomi has divine appointments with members of the family. The story is fast paced but it has a great message.
I loved how the author shows us what happens when we leave God out of our lives. A marriage can be in danger of dissolving, a child could feel unloved or a rumor could destroy trust. The book mentions that there is humor in the book, but I didn’t find any humor at all. What I did find was a story that shows us to accept each other, never give up and above everything else invite God to be part of your life.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my opinion.
About the Author
A veteran social worker, Linda Wood Rondeau is also a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is no stranger to family bedlam. Her stories of encouragement and hope come from the heart. She resides in Hagerstown, Maryland with her husband of over forty-years. When not writing, the author enjoys the occasional round of golf. She also enjoys theater and is actively involved with her local church. Find more encouraging words in her blog, Snark and Sensibility, found on her website, www.lindarondeau.com. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
More from Linda
When I first set out to write Second Helpings, I envisioned writing a story about a harried housewife with a passel of kids. I thought of my mother who went around the house with her hands outstretched toward heaven saying, “Lord, give me strength.” Words she uttered each time we kids did something wrong, which was quite often.
And so I envisioned my own version of, Please Don’t Eat the Daises.
The movie came out in 1960 and starred Doris Day and David Niven, a comedy about a university professor who leaves his job to become a theater critic, creating problems with his family and friends. There’s an iconic scene where the harried housewife rescues her toddler who tries to climb out of the barred NYC windows. One wonders, can this marriage be saved?
As the story developed in my own addled brain, I saw a larger picture than a madcap comedy. I asked myself, what would happen if a woman who ran a radio show about parenting found herself in a marriage about to fall apart and anticipates an affair? Since the woman, at the outset of the story is not a Christian, what might cause the affair not to happen? What driving force might be greater than her unhappiness? And why was she so unhappy in her marriage in the first place?
The answer came. However unhappy she might be, she was first and foremost a mother. Though married to a psychiatrist, she was the fixer in the family. What problems might her children face to make Jocelyn think twice about an affair? Which of her children’s crises would be the first signal to abort her affair? The answer came.
When Jocelyn receives a phone call from her college-aged daughter, plans for a tryst suddenly change. Lisette announces she is coming home tonight. Jocelyn’s worst fears for her daughter are confirmed. Not only is Lisette pregnant, she wants to get married next month. History seems to be repeating itself. And Jocelyn does not want her daughter to make the same mistake she thought she made by marrying her baby’s father. Jocelyn sets out on an immediate campaign to convince her daughter she has other options than a hurried marriage. Jocelyn’s tryst will have to wait.
Lisette’s pregnancy revelation has set the stage for twelve hours of bedlam … all on Jocelyn’s 45th birthday. These serious situations create a comedy of misunderstanding against the backdrop of a failing marriage and begs the question, “Can her marriage be saved?”
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To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7!!
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