Letting Go

Fiction - Mystery - General
242 Pages
Reviewed on 06/18/2013
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Author Biography

Virginia C. Foley lives and writes in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. After her school closed in June of 2009, she left her job as a middle school language arts teacher. Now her days are filled with writing and promoting her novels.
She shares her life with her husband, and together they enjoy their three daughter, two sons-in-law, and five grandsons. Life is good!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Michael McManus for Readers' Favorite

Jake is a starry-eyed adolescent, who is so much in love with Erika that he cannot see that they are drifting apart. He is caught up with school and work and planning a life in their little Illinois town, with its bandstand park and its quaintly little Main Street. Erika, who loves him dearly and has done so since they were very young, has other plans. As a talented musician, she has the opportunity to go to the big town and participate in the excitement and glamour of life in Chicago. Try as she might, she finds Jake resisting a move with her out of his idyllic surroundings and the safe harbor of their little hamlet. Jake’s grandmother, Sara, who has raised him since his mother died in a car accident when he was a toddler, has doubts about Erika’s sincerity. Having never liked the girl, Sara believes it is best for Jake to forget her and move on with his life. Conflict arises between Jake and Sara over their disconnect about Erika and Jake’s future together, but an undercurrent of deception and the development of unexpected circumstances change their lives far more than a break-up with a first love.

“Letting Go” by Virginia C. Foley is written in the first person from the point of view of two of the characters in the book, Jake and his grandmother, Sara. By shifting focus from one character’s perspective to the other, she builds drama, as she works through the tensions that each is feeling from the events that are detailed in the story. I really like this technique. It adds depth to the story that would not have been there if it were narrated by a single voice. I happily recommend this story. The characters are real. The dialog is believable and the situations are current and familiar.

Natasha Jackson

Everyone is keeping secrets from Jake Butler and trying to live his life for him. His grandparents are keeping secrets about the premature death of his parents and his long-time girlfriend Erika has just made a decision that will change their relationship forever as well as both of their lives. And that is just the beginning of Virginia C. Foley’s "Letting Go". Told from the perspective of naive Jake and his feisty grandma Sara, this story is about secrets and lies and the good intentions we convince ourselves of as we keep these secrets and tell these lies. In the small town of Overton even the smallest tidbit of gossip makes its way through the grapevine before the day’s end. Unfortunately for Jake, his grandma’s restaurant The Hat and Veil is the setting for much of the town’s gossip, of which he often plays a starring role.

Foley does a great job of developing each character, and the mark of a truly talented writer is the ability to bring forth negative reactions to a character. Personally I found myself frustrated with Sara’s meddling and annoyed at Erika’s arrogance and selfishness. Jake and his grandpa were extremely likable, and you’ll root for Jake until the very end because he is the epitome of a ‘good guy’. "Letting Go" may be a little slow to develop but once you learn more about Jake, Sara, Erika, Clint and Priscilla you will become so invested in the outcome of the story that not finishing isn’t an option. This is a well-crafted story of following our dreams, which sometimes means letting go.

Ioana Marza

Virginia C Foley’s “Letting Go” is a thoughtful story about learning to move on and let go, as the title gives away. When Jake, a sweet natured nineteen year old living in rural America, perfectly content with his life and surroundings, finds out that the love of his life (Erika) is planning to move to Chicago to pursue a musical career, his plans of happiness seem to be lost forever. He is constantly pulled between his enduring feelings for Erika and his increasing difficulty in understanding and justifying her life choices and her cold (and on occasions even callous) behavior. Jake’s grandmother Sara, who has raised him since his parents died in a car accident when he was two, is facing an equally difficult dilemma of her own. She is trying to protect Jake from the knowledge of past events that would shake him, but is his right to know the ugly truth more important than her shielding love?

“Letting Go” is written entirely by alternating the point of view of Jake and Sara, who describe the chain of events in their own words. Virginia C Foley manages to keep the different tones and perspectives believable and genuine. Each character expresses their feelings, concerns and sorrow the way I would expect a grandmother on the one hand and a nineteen year old, with the language and the rush of youth, to think and talk on the other. The constant menace of Jake’s father’s shadow is used skilfully to create increasing tension throughout the story, and I was sorry to see that more was not made of it at the end, as I expected a somewhat more explosive climax. Overall “Letting Go” is the best proof that straightforward writing and a simple story can make very pleasurable and, at times, heart-moving reading.