Between Nowhere and Lost

Romance - Historical
270 Pages
Reviewed on 12/23/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

A bored wife's life suddenly becomes challenging when a stranger steps into her world, in the stunning romance novel, Between Nowhere and Lost by Alexandra Christle. In January of 1966, Helen Hodges is a housewife battling with boredom. After ten years of marriage, Helen has never gotten pregnant, and her husband Harold is adamantly unwilling to adopt the children Helen desperately desires. Due to his job at the mill, Harold is traveling a lot lately and isn't home. Because he doesn't want her to work, Helen is lonely and has a lot of time on her hands. One afternoon, David Drummond, the factory owner's son, walks into her life, and instantly they are attracted to each other. Because Helen is Catholic, she battles her feelings for David, but each time they run into each other, their desire for each other deepens. Harold is working to bring in a Union and keep David's father from closing down the factory, but in the meantime, Helen and David are fighting the fire of passion and temptation. Can Helen resist David and stay true to Harold? If she can't, what will happen to them all?

Set in the mid-1960s, Between Nowhere and Lost by Alexandra Christle is an unforgettably poignant romance novel. I appreciated how the moments of intimacy are only suggested, easily interpreted, and tasteful. Although drama, infidelity, and heartbreak lace through the plot, it is a beautiful story of love, loss, and redemption. It is a heart-touching story with charming characters that are easy to relate to and admire. The moving story has a striking realism that is heartrending as well as appealing. It is an outstanding novel that will please fans of historical romance novels and women's fiction who enjoy a fantastic love story.

Grant Leishman

Between Nowhere and Lost is an extremely bittersweet historical romance from the pen of Alexandra Christle. Helen Hodges is celebrating her eighty-fifth birthday party when she decides the time is right to inform her granddaughter of the circumstances of her heritage. Helen was a thirty-five-year-old, somewhat bored housewife in the 1960s in the small town of Mayfield, South Carolina. Her husband Harold worked in the only industry in Mayfield, a large textile company. Harold was a mill technician and fervently behind the plans for the staff to unionize and seek better conditions from the mill’s owners in Philadelphia. Despite Helen’s desire to have children, her ten-year marriage to Harold had produced no offspring and she buried her angst at her lack of children by running the creche at the local church and by assisting in coaching the local high school girls’ basketball team. It wasn’t enough though and she yearned for her dream of a house full of children – this was not the life she had dreamed of when she married Harold, although she was sure she loved the man dearly, who always treated her with kindness, respect, and love. When a lost stranger appears on her doorstep one day, Helen is immediately drawn to this suave, sophisticated, and urbane man. Torn between her love for her husband and her desire for some excitement in her life and the possibility of children, Helen must make one of the most difficult choices of her life.

Between Nowhere and Lost is more than just a historical romance but also a commentary on the social conditions of the South in the 1960s. Alexandra Christle does an exceptional job of using the setting to describe the quintessential small-town pettiness and gossip that many readers will know and understand. She also explores the racial tensions that existed in the South, despite the government’s efforts to legislate racism away. The central theme of love, loss, and life-changing decisions resonates through the entire narrative. The author did an excellent job with the main character, Helen, in beautifully outlining the moral dilemma she faced in deciding to break her boredom with an affair. Clearly a moral woman, her quandary over her feelings for David and her commitment to her faith and her husband Harold was the center point of the entire story. I was pleased that the author portrayed Harold as a hard-working and kind man, meaning that Helen’s choice was not between leaving something bad behind but in deciding whether this passion and love she felt for David was merely a response to her boredom or whether indeed this man was and could be the love of her life. The author’s style is flowing and conversational, presenting the narrative from both Helen's and David’s perspectives. I particularly liked the split perspective as this gave us an insight into both of the protagonists' minds, thoughts, and motivations. This was an exceptionally easy and satisfying read that kept the reader guessing for much of the tale. If you love gentle romance with a twist or two, this will push all your buttons. A read I can highly recommend.

Jennifer Ibiam

Between Nowhere and Lost by Alexandra Christle is a brilliant novel that will appeal to lovers of historical romance. Helen, married to Harold for ten years, led an unexciting life. Her husband was a good man, but she wasn’t allowed to work, didn’t have kids, and he spent almost no time with her. On one of those lonely days, she was sitting on her porch when David drove up asking for directions because he had lost his way. It was love at first sight for the couple, but both had emotional baggage. Torn between loyalty to her husband and the powerful emotions she felt towards David, Helen was at an impasse. However, a shocking discovery that would change her life forever helped her decide about both men.

Between Nowhere and Lost by Alexandra Christle is fantastic, yet heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. I am glad that it ended on a high note. The first thing that got my attention was the “blast from the past” approach used by Alexandra, which was flawless and engaging. I also appreciate that while the core of the story was romance, there were diverse themes. Family, women's liberation, marriage, human rights, especially for coloreds, and parent-child relationships were some topics discussed. There were lessons to glean from this book, especially for women in marriage. An insight I gained is that women can be more, even while married, and must learn to communicate feelings with their spouses. Alexandra has created a historical masterpiece! I’d love to read more from her.

Romuald Dzemo

Between Nowhere and Lost by Alexandra Christle is an engrossing, turbulent, and poignant story about Helen Hodges, a woman whose unbearable longing for a child pushes her towards a delicate affair and difficult choices. Even as a child, Helen has always wanted children, but now at thirty-five, she is married and childless. She and her husband, Harold, have accepted that it wasn’t meant to be; it wasn’t God’s plan for them. That is until she meets David Drummond, a textile mill owner visiting Mayfield. A slow burn begins to work its way to her throat when he asks about children, a burn that eventually increases her longing for a child and for David. But as a Christian, and respectful of her marriage vows, she leaves David. A life-changing situation arises that forces her to make a choice, so she rushes to David. Is it too late and is she doing the right thing?

The novel is beautiful and the setting in the South Carolina town of Mayfield in the 1960s is intelligently written. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of locales and the social fabric that takes on a life of its own in the story. The social commentaries are plenty and they give readers a strong sense of place and time. The romance between David and Helen is thoughtfully written and the two get into each other slowly. The complexity in the relationships and conflict derives from the fact that Helen is already married and that she has strong Christian values. The shifts between the first-person and third-person narrative voices are creative and this style of narrative helps in distinguishing the varying points of view. Between Nowhere and Lost is tightly plotted, written with interesting details that augment the realism in Alexandra Christle’s writing. It is a great story for readers who enjoy characters they can emotionally connect to.

Rabia Tanveer

Between Nowhere and Lost by Alexandra Christle is a story of conflict and chasing after the heart wants. Set in the 1960s, Helen Hodges lived in Mayfield village with her husband in a childless marriage. She wanted a child, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. However, her life changed when David Drummond came to their little village by mistake. He was a textile mill owner who was everything she wanted and could never have. Falling for him proved to be far too easy for Helen and staying faithful to her husband proved to be very hard. When push came to shove, she had to decide if she would remain with her husband or chose to live a life of freedom that promised everything she wanted? The decision was supposed to be easy, but a surprising discovery changed everything for her and her marriage.

Between Nowhere and Lost was beautiful and I loved the commentary it provided about the social structure and life in the 60s. Helen’s story was so genuinely human that I could not help but feel bad for her. She was struggling with her fertility, her faith, and what it meant to be a woman in a society where a woman’s worth was perceived by her fertility. Her quest to find happiness and peace were very apparent from the beginning. Helen wasn’t actively seeking refuge from the mess of her life. She was going to suffer in silence if David hadn’t appeared in her life. Alexandra Christle did an amazing job of creating well-developed characters and pushed the story forward effortlessly. It was very easy to form a connection with Helen and hope that she got her happily ever after. But the ending was cathartic in a way and very fitting too.