Willing Spirits – Phyllis Schieber + Giveaway

Title: Willing Spirits
Author: Phyllis Schieber
ISBN: 9780425225851
Pages: 304
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Publisher: Berkeley Trade
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

From the back cover:

Both teachers in their forties, Jane Hoffman and Gwen Baker have a friendship that has helped them endure. It was Jane who looked after Gwen when her husband left her with two young sons to raise. And when Jane comes home one day unexpectedly and finds her husband in a shameless act of betrayal, she turns to Gwen for support.

Now, tested by additional personal crises, Jane and Gwen face new challenges—as mothers, as daughters, as women. And in the process, they will learn unexpected truths about their friendship—and themselves.

When I was contacted by Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours about participating in a tour for Willing Spirits, I immediately jumped at the chance. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a solid women’s fiction novel, and between the book cover and description, I was sure I was in for a treat. I’m glad to say I was definitely right!

More than anything else, Willing Spirits is a novel of relationships, between friends, between lovers, and between parents and children. Schieber explores each of these areas very well, making sure they all have a chance to develop over the course of the novel.

I loved the portrayal of friendship between women in Willing Spirits. Having a really close friend who has known you for a very long time, is a wonderful thing. I know because I’m lucky enough to have a friend like that. Too often in books, friendship between women is portrayed as catty and completely unfulfilling. I thought the relationship between Jane and Gwen was beautifully done. They were there for each other and very supportive, but they also were honest with one another. I loved how they didn’t judge each other’s decisions; even when Jane was skeptical of Gwen’s relationship of Daniel, she was very supportive. This isn’t to say that Jane completely lied and pretended she was okay with it, but once her reservations were expressed, Gwen saw nothing but support. I really enjoyed this tribute to women’s friendships.

Schieber often has her characters reflect on their pasts, which can sometimes be frustrating if you are waiting for the novel’s plot to advance. However, each of these past experiences fills in a missing piece of Gwen and Jane. This book really is about getting to know each of them.

I really enjoyed Willing Spirits and would love to read Schieber’s other books. Her writing on women’s friendships is so moving and beautiful. After reading Willing Spirits, it’s easy to come away with the impression that it is relationships with your girl friends that can give the most emotional satisfaction. It’s a great read and I definitely recommend it!

A big thank you to MaAnna at Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours for sending me this book to review! Also, the author is running a giveaway for all of the posts on the blog tour – leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a copy of either A Sinner’s Guide to Confession or Willing Spirits! If you leave a very thoughtful comment, it’s possible that Ms. Schieber might just be moved enough to give you a copy of the book straight out!

Comments

  1. I read and enjoyed A Sinner’s Guide to Confession, but I think this one might even look better! I think I might relate to the characters a bit more. I always enjoy good books about the strength and importance of female friendships. Great review — of course!

  2. Thank you, S. Krishna, for a lovely review. I am so glad that you enjoyed WILLING SPIRITS and felt connected to Gwen and Jane. My own friendships with the women in my life are so important to me. It means so much to me that others will be able to see themselves and their relationships in the characters I develop.

  3. Julie, so nice to see you again! Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to hearing what you think about WILLING SPIRITS!

  4. I absolutely loved The Sinner’s Guide to Confession and would love to be included in the drawing for Willing Spirits. Phyllis is a wonderful author. I hope those who haven’t read her novels before will check her out.

    Jennifeer

  5. Terrific review. I love well written Women’s Fiction and this one sounds like a good read. Please enter me in the giveaway – my first choice would be for Willing Spirits 🙂 But I would be grateful to win ANY book!

  6. Hi, I just found your blog through Wordless Wednesday. Was I glad! I love your book reviews 🙂

  7. I just got back into reading so this is great the friendship relationships caught my eye! Would love to read any of those books!
    Have a great week!
    Carla
    cpullum(at)yahoo(dot)com

  8. I really adored Sinner’s Guide to Confession and Phyllis is a doll! I loved hosting her on my blog during that tour. Willing Spirits sounds like another great women’s fiction read. I’d love the opportunity to get my hands on a copy of this one.

    Thanks for another great review.

  9. I love books about women’s friendships too. Women can be awfully hard on each other, but when someone’s in trouble, there always there to help. Please enter me. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

  10. This just sounds like something that I’d devour in a day or two at most. I love women’s fiction and your review on this was fantastic. Please enter me in the giveaway – this sounds like a delight to read.

  11. I am so overwhelmed by the wonderful responses and so delighted to see so many old friends.
    Literate Housewife: Thank you so much for your kind words and for the support.
    Wendy: I am eager to hear your thoughts after you read WILLING SPIRITS.
    JMom: I share your enthusiasm for the quality of S, Krishna’s reviews!
    cpullum: Yes, please do read WILLING SPIRITS. I think it will make you glad you are reading again!
    Serena: How nice to hear from you again. I love that you think I’m a doll! Not everyone does! 😉
    bermudaonion: I am happy to hear from you. I agree that women are there for each other in times of need–how else would we survive?
    Nely: I’m glad to meet you. Let me know how you feel after you “devour” WILLInG SPIRITS.

  12. I am on this tour as well!:) My review will be up next week.. I am going to start reading the book soon! can’t wait!:)

  13. OH, this looks really good. I agree there is somthing extra special about women authors and women’s fiction authors to be more specific. I know exactly what you mean. I really would love to read this book, I love relationship books.

    I grew up with very few female relationships, I just had a brother and mostly we played soccer all day, every day and in Spain girls didn’t play soccer. The older I got the more I craved those female relationships but I just wasn’t interested in what they were interested in.

    When I got married I scoffed when an older couple told me I wouldn’t find everything in my husband, that I would need female relationships. Because of the way I grew up I thought it comical to say such a thing. Now after 8 years of marriage I cannot understand how stupid and short sighted I was. I neglected to realize that I would loose the closeness I once shared with my male friends. Also, especially when kids came if I didn’t have female friends to share things with, it just wasn’t the same talking to my husband. Oh, he is great and loving, but he is not a woman and doesn’t get the baby thing, or the emotional stuff that women do.

    I finally can accept that wisdom from that older couple, I giggle to myself when a young married girl tells me she doesn’t have any other friends, and that her husband is her only friend. She will figure it out.

    The hubby fills in some relationship needs, but female friends are needed to fill in some of the others. Most recently I have noticed a need for older women in my life, they are filled with wisdom and patience..things that I need big time.

    Sorry, was that a long comment!?! oops.

    Great review (as always) S.Krishna!

  14. Ramya: I am looking forward to your review!

    Bethany: Don’t apologize! It’s so true–young women do not always understand the value of female friends until much later. Anna Quindlen once wrote that in an essay that “Even the most extraordinary man would only make an average woman.” Now how true is that, huh? Let me know what you think of WILLING SPIRITS after you read it!

  15. It’s nice to see a book that portrays women and their friendship in a good light for once. I agree with you. It’s not often that you see that.

    Great review! This is another book that I have not heard of but now want to read.

  16. Sounds like a lovely book. I believe it can be difficult to find strong woman friendships in real life and in books. This one sounds like something I could relate to — the women aren’t too young or too old and not perfect. I’d love to be entered into the drawing.

  17. I also particularly like S. Krishna’s reviews as well as the interesting selections she chooses. WILLING SPIRITS sounds very good, and similar to a situation I am living right now with my sister. It is extremely difficult to be honest but not judgmental. And also difficult to be on the receiving side. At the end of the day, though, my sister and I are quite lucky to have each, and we both know it. I don’t know where we would be if we couldn’t count on one another.

    I’d be thrilled to receive either of these books. WILLING SPIRITS speaks to my present circumstances, but SINNER’S GUIDE has been on my wish list for a while. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  18. Having just moved from to the US to be with my husband, I know how important friendships are. I’ve left all my girlfriends behind to be with the man I love, and it’s not been easy making new ones. I am so glad I live in this day and age where I can read my friends’ emails, blogs, facebook updates anytime or chat with them online but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation over a cup of coffee.I definitely hope to make new friendships while I’m here! So thanks for the review – it sounds like a book that ought to read. I’ll have to check out her other books too.

  19. This sounds wonderful! Just the perfect almost-end-of-winter book to get a bit lost in. I’ve come so close to reading A Sinner’s Guide to Confession that now I know I’ll have to get that one too next time I hit Borders!

  20. This sounds like a lovely book. I cherish my friendships with my female friends, and though I haven’t had a single friend for my entire life, they’re definitely valuable to me. I’ve had to leave them behind to come to the UK but I’m so grateful for the internet which lets us stay in touch. I’d love a chance to win this book.

  21. wow this sounds like a great book that will remind everyone of just how important friendships can be! hope i win!

  22. Phyllis – I just wanted to say thanks for the positive comments you made on my review, as well as for responding to each comment made on this post! You really are a class act and I hope we can work together again in the future! I’ve already bought A Sinner’s Guide to Confession and am looking forward to reading it.

  23. Lately I’ve come to realize the value of my friendships with women & have come to enjoy reading about supportive, loving relationships women develop with their friends. I know I would enjoy reading “Willing Spirits” – so, please count me in!

    Thanks,
    megalon22 at yahoo dot com

  24. My goodness! I am almost (but not quite) speechless. Thank you, thank you. I hope you will all go out a buy a copy of WILLING SPIRITS and share your thoughts about it with me.
    TI: I am always so surprised to hear about how female relationships are cast in a “bad light.” Please read WS and celebrate with me.
    Beth F: Women are strong and amazing!
    Gwendolyn B: Fight all you want with your sister, but be sure to tell each other how much you love each other as well! I have women friends who are like sisters, and I cherish them.
    olduvai:You are one brave woman. I often wonder what I would do if I had to leave my women behind! I hope you are able to make one or two new good friends. . . you can do it!
    belleofthebooks: Yes, please, go to Borders and buy my books! That sounds grand! And thank you for your interest.
    Meghan: Another brave woman to relocate. The Internet helps, but it’s not the same. One of my dear friends moved to California and though we talk and email, I miss her physical presence.
    The Giveaway Diva: Friendships are invaluable.I hope you get back to me after you read WS. Thanks for stopping by.
    S. Krishna: I have to tell you that I love this stop. I’ve been called a “doll” and a “class act.” That’s more attention than I’ve had from anyone in ages! I love it! And thank you, for hosting me, for writing a thoughtful and honest review. Let me know what you think of THEW SINNER’S GUIDE TO CONFESSION. I would really like to know.
    Cheryl S.: I hope you’re young enough that your recent revelation does not mean you have had to wait a lifetime for wonderful women friends!

  25. I didn’t read your review yet as I’m touring Phyllis’ book later this month. Just checked out your review and you liked the book so that’s awesome. I’ll be back once I read it.

  26. Hi Dar,
    I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on WILLING SPIRITS!

  27. What a wonderful review. Congratulations, Phyllis. I can’t wait to dig in! -Susan.

  28. Thanks, Susan. That means a lot to me, especially coming from you!

  29. S. Krishna!
    I would like to send a copy of WILLING SPIRITS to Bethany. I would appreciate it if you would send me her contact information! Thanks again for everything.
    Phyllis

  30. S. Krishna!
    I would like to send a copy of WILLING SPIRITS to Bethany. I would appreciate it if you would send me her contact information! Thanks again for everything.
    Phyllis

  31. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I think Phyllis is great at writing about relationships.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  32. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I think Phyllis is great at writing about relationships.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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