I had the pleasure of reading both From Then to Now and Return Receipt Requested by Mitzi Mensch. Mitzi writes women’s fiction and offers a unique voice to each book.
From Then to Now
September 22, 2016
From Then to Now is a novel within a novel. Maggie figures that, with events being so old, it is safe to tell all. Figuring wrong is her first mistake. Downloading the manuscript onto her grown daughter’s computer is her second mistake.
Andrea is dismayed to discover Maggie’s infidelity in her first marriage and shocked to learn of her grandmother’s cloistered pregnancy and forced adoption of her newborn daughter. She uses the Internet to find the people mentioned in her mother’s story, more to satisfy her own curiosity than to bring her mother peace.
From Then to Now spans six decades and addresses changes, both individual and societal, in attitude, perception, and awareness. These changes, triggered in part by outside world events, bring about personal understanding achieved only after loss is experienced and enlightenment has been attained.
I knew from the description that I would enjoy this book. I’m a sucker for family drama and this one is definitely dramatic! One of my favourite parts of From Then to Now was how realistic the story felt, from how Maggie made a simple mistake that leads to her secrets being discovered to unraveling those secrets and events that took place I felt like I was reading a story that someone’s actual mother was sharing.
I was quickly wrapped up in Maggie’s life, the past she shared with us and the future she was trying to build and preserve. I really liked Maggie and the adventure her life was, reading through the heartbreak, new adventures this story has many high and lows much like real life. I loved the setting and was here for all of the Hawaiian pieces from the way of life to the people and culture. Mitzi certainly has a way with creating characters and stories that are very captivating.
Return Receipt Requested
February 12, 2016
Diagnosed with malignant melanoma after years of being a sun bunny in Hawai`i, Madeline accepts that this is the time for dying. Her only regret is that she has missed out on lasting love, and she is determined to be held in the embrace of a man’s arms as she draws her final breath.
The problem, as usual, is she can’t figure out which man. With a history of being a female philanderer Madeline always picks guys with fatal flaws, absolving herself of the necessity to choose. With Beau the obstacle is his drinking, with Howard his marriage, with Max his age. With time growing short Madeline springs into action.
Once again, however, she evades the decision making process by leaving it up to the men. She writes a letter, changing only the name, telling each he is the most important person in the world to her and the one she would most like to be with as she goes toward that white light. She throws in a few incentives to sweeten the deal and sends the letter return receipt requested.
As Madeline awaits the answers the story of each relationship is told, depicting three different stages in her life. Though highly unconventional her life decisions may be they bring fulfillment and satisfaction to her and those around her. The sentiment which she sums up with sanguine simplicity at the surprising denouement is ‘The difference between living and dying is love.’
What a fantastic story! Being transported back through Madeline’s life as she shares her three great love stories was certainly interesting. From the summary I was hooked, you just knew that things were going to get more complicated for Madeline before they got better.
Each character is quite unique and Madeline finds herself in a lot of different situations than the typical love story. I enjoyed our off beat main character and found the outlook on life and love to be interesting. That being said, as Madeline isn’t your typical heroine and marches to the beat of her own drum, now facing death does she regret those decisions, does she make peace with herself and is there still time to enjoy her happiness and love? You’ll have to read to see!