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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Mixed Relations 3: An Unexpected Ending by Gertrude Mueller von Deham is the conclusion to a fascinating memoir about the life of the author, named Evelyn in the book. In book one, we learn about her childhood, and that she was born to royalty in 19th-century England but was illegitimate, and grew up with a violent, unstable mother instead. In book two, we read how she goes on to marry a cold, difficult man named Eric, but persevered for the sake of her marriage and her children. Her indomitable spirit prevails through the first two books, but can it carry her through this third offering, with events of World War II and personal struggles that challenge her even more? This third installment ties her life together with an exquisite bow that is sometimes heartrending, sometimes joyful.
It's the character of Evelyn herself that will keep you clinging to each page to find out what happens next in this amazing woman's life. Sometimes you read a book or watch a film where the personality of the main character defines it, and this is one of those books. She faces each storm in her life with unflagging optimism and strength. It's what carries the plot of each of the books in the trilogy, and this final piece doesn't disappoint. The book hints at a follow-up of short stories, and that would be nice, but this one certainly has an impact of its own. It opens with divorce being a possibility during a time when stigma surrounded the notion. Most people in Evelyn's shoes would have given up, but her positive attitude is her saving grace and such an inspiration to others. She doesn't just survive. She transcends. This book focuses on their children and their issues, her rise to social status and success, and the ways she reached out to others in times of need, racism, and war. The ending is as shocking as it is fitting, yet tender, in keeping with such a dramatic life. I would love to hear one day that this award-worthy trilogy is being developed into a film because it would easily translate into one. Mixed Relations 3: An Unexpected Ending by Gertrude Mueller von Deham is a feather in the cap of a beautiful series.