Wild Raspberries

Wild Raspberries Series Book 1

Fiction - Womens
329 Pages
Reviewed on 03/01/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Connie Chappell is a bestselling author of both literary fiction and the Wrenn Grayson Mystery series. The series titles are Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, Designs on Ivy’s Locket, and most recently released, Lily White Lie. Designs on Ivy's Locket is the Silver Medalist in the Readers' Favorite 2018 International Book Awards Contest for Fiction-Mystery-General.

Wrenn Grayson is a historian-for-hire in her hometown of Havens, Ohio. Best Thrillers claims Wrenn’s one-of-a-kind investigative process will have readers flipping pages in her fast-paced mysteries. Chappell take readers into the world of small-town Ohio with its unique combination of local charm and unexpected intrigue. Blending history and modern-day sleuthing, these novels provide a delightfully witty cast of new and returning characters.

Chappell and her widely read novel, Wild Raspberries, received the 2016 Maxy Award for Best Literary Fiction and the Readers' Favorite Book Award for Women's Fiction. Proper Goodbye, the long-awaited companion book to Wild Raspberries, was released and immediately touted as the novel that “needs to be on all the lists of bests.” These deeply emotional family dramas tell stories of love, loss, and second chances. They have touched the hearts of readers all over the country.

Whether literary or mystery, Chappell’s characters are bound to captivate readers till the very end.

Her novels are published by 4am Books and are standalone books that may be read in any order.

A lifelong resident of Springfield, Ohio, she devotes as much free time as possible to anything out-of-doors.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Renee Taylor for Readers' Favorite

Connie Chappell's Wild Raspberries is a story about what happens to secrets after a person’s death. It is about the repercussions of those secrets to the women still living. When Jack Sebring dies, he leaves behind a wife and a lover. His lover, Callie, promised him she would return to their cabin in West Virginia that signified their love affair. But things are complicated around the Sebring women since the death of Jack’s son, Dan. Dan had a son, Chad, and his wife and mother are feuding over Chad’s future. It is up to Callie to step in and see that the decisions being made are the right ones for the boy, and aren’t just about who has the most power or who can take control of the situation. But each woman has secrets she’d rather keep buried, secrets that start rising to the surface as they fight over what’s best for Chad.

I loved the complexity of Wild Raspberries. It is a detailed story with many interesting characters who have different wants and needs. Chappell wove the story so nicely it almost felt like she was sewing a quilt together to create a complete and unique story for us to love. The characters were so different and unique. At first, I worried that their differences might overwhelm the story or that I would get lost or confused, but Chappell did an excellent job of making the characters distinct and keeping their individual stories fresh. It was a very nice piece of women's fiction that many readers will enjoy.

Anna Smith

Wild Raspberries is a women’s fiction story about lost love by author Connie Chappell. The story starts with Callie MacCallum sewing her first quilt with a raspberry motif after the death of Jack Sebring, her lover. She promised Jack that she would visit the West Virginia cabin where they hid their love affair, but Callie doesn’t realize how overwhelming this trip is about to become. Suddenly, three other women enter the picture, including a grief counselor, Jack’s wife, and Jack’s daughter-in-law. Both Jack's wife and his daughter-in-law are reeling from the sudden loss of Dan, Jack’s son, who died during a freak accident with a tree during a terrible storm. Neither of the women know what to do with Chad, Dan’s son and Jack’s grandson. Callie steps in to speak for Jack, but as the women spend more and more time together, it becomes harder and harder to keep their secrets from one another.

Wild Raspberries is an incredible story with complicated twists and turns, but author Chappell does a really nice job of navigating this story. She makes it so easy to read and understand. I worried I would get lost in the different women’s stories, but each character was unique and acted in a way that was authentic to their story and their situation. I loved all the characters, but especially Callie and Chad. I just really connected with Callie and think that her story will resonate with so many other women!

Patricia Reding

Wild Raspberries by Connie Chappell tells the story of Callie MacCallum who kept her affair with Jack/John Sebring secret for almost twenty years. Despite their age difference, Callie, a golf pro, and Jack, a course designer, shared a deep love — and a hidden path through their home course that led from the country club to Callie’s place. But some time after Jack’s children were grown and had children of their own, the real story came out. Suffering from cancer, Jack moved in with Callie where he spent his last days. Then, about a year later, Jack’s son, Dan, died in a tragic accident, leaving behind a widow, Lizbeth, and two sons — one in college, and Chad, a preschooler. When Callie, at the request of her friend and counselor, Beebe, creates two quilts for his family (as she’d done for others in the past), from Dan’s former clothing, the groundwork for trouble is set. Jack’s widow, Arnett, makes her way to Callie’s place, refusing to accept the quilt intended for her, and threatening her. Lizbeth, who witnesses the incident, grows even more concerned for the welfare and safety of her young son, Chad (whom Lizbeth generally left in Arnett’s care) than she’d previously been, and is tired of Arnett’s controlling ways. She threatens to take the child out of state and away from his grandmother. Beebe then plans a week-long counseling session between Arnett, Lizbeth, Callie, and herself, in the hopes of bringing Arnett to reason and thereby assisting Lizbeth.

Connie Chappell tells a gripping story in Wild Raspberries. It is one that fairly illustrates how and why family members keep secrets, and how and why those hidden bits of the past can be damaging. Through the week-long session that the four women hold in the cabin that had been Callie and Jack’s private retreat, numerous secrets relating to each of the women are revealed. The original goal is to find a path of peace between Arnett and Lizbeth, who Callie and Beebe are concerned is making a major life decision while still mourning the death of her husband. But along the way, each of the women comes to terms with truths that will help her going forward. Chappell presents a believable story with fully formed characters— each of whom possesses her own recognizable strengths and damaging flaws. With some intriguing supporting characters, and with a history that reveals itself little by little, the story moves along smoothly and comes to a most satisfying end.

Jane Finch

Wild Raspberries by Connie Chappell tells the story of Callie MacCallum and the trials and tribulations she goes through after the death of her lover, Jack Sebring. Callie just wants to remember Jack in her own special way, but instead she is drawn into the convoluted Sebring family and its complicated history. She plans a retreat to a remote mountain cabin where she hopes to ponder on fond memories and come to terms with her loss, but the womenfolk of the Sebring clan have other ideas.

Connie Chappell has written a descriptive and emotional story of love lost, family rivalries, and secrets revealed in this story set mostly in the wilds of West Virginia. The story is somewhat complicated as it sets out the various characters and their relationships, but the writing perfectly describes the setting and the emotions that run high in this family saga. There are many twists and turns as the story unfolds, although sometimes it is difficult to remember the complex relationships. However, the author weaves the story together cleverly. What would initially appear to be a simple tale of family trials ends up being anything but what is expected.

Characters are well developed, individual, believable and, in their own way, appealing. Callie as the main character evokes empathy and sympathy from the reader as she endeavours to be the peacemaker in a turbulent environment with family members of strong character and opinions. Once the family relationships are established, the story moves along at a good pace and is an enjoyable read.

Ayrial King

Connie Chappell writes the story of grief in some of its forms through the eyes of Callie MacCallum, a former professional golfer who lost the love of her life, Jack Sebring, over a year ago. To alleviate the pain she feels, she began sewing quilts for those who have also lost loved ones. Unbeknownst to her, one of those quilts was for her lover's wife Arnett, who lost her son in a horrible storm. Her rejection of the quilt angers her daughter-in-law Lizbeth to the point that her guidance counselor Beebe worries that she will take drastic measures that will drive a further wedge into the Sebring family. When Callie decides to honor her promise to Jack of visiting their West Virginia mountainside home, Beebe takes it a step further by recruiting her to speak to the Sebring women for the sake of Lizbeth's young son, Chad. The four women face grief head-on in Wild Raspberries.

Chappell illustrates one reality of how grief can rock a family, especially when long kept secrets come to light. Wild Raspberries shows the reality of grief that isn't always outlined in pamphlets on grief. The four women come to life as each goes through their own form of grief; there is proud and stubborn Arnett who insists that everything bad happening around her is someone else's fault, especially her "husband" John (Jack) and his lover Callie. Then there is Callie herself - a strong-willed woman with a suffering martyr complex expressing her need to move on by sewing quilts for people who've also lost loved ones. Lizbeth, still scarred from how her husband lost his life, shifts from blaming her mother-in-law to making decisions in anger so as not to indulge in her grief in front of her son, Chad. Beebe, the grief counselor, believes she dealt with the pain of being shunned by her father and losing her mother until she wrestles with the Sebring women and Callie. With these four under one roof in the mountains sparks are bound to fly, but forgiveness and acceptance would have to start on solid ground, and this story shows one way how.

Gomershad

Wow, a great read. I loved it. I couldn’t wait to read more. I was brought into the lives of these women so quickly. I think it was the loss that they all suffered that had me relating the loss of my parents and the debths of grief plays deep down inside each one of us. I felt their pain and the journey to go on without the ones we love so much, whether they are related or just very close friends. This book stirred real feelings inside of me. It was told from the heart, and that’s where I felt it.

Yvonne Grosshart

Kind of a Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy type love story! The writer takes us through stages of love and grief almost
therapeutically. Letting us see behind the scenes the results of our actions. Can't wait for the sequel!

Pat B.

Reading the synopsis of the plot, I couldn't imagine how it would all come together. But skillfully, the author weaves, and at the same time unravels the tapestry of the story. None of the characters are cookie-cutter. Each one has unique and believable personality traits. The emotion of the book kept my loyalties switching from one character to another as more of their past, hearts, hurts and motives were revealed. I am certainly looking forward to the sequel. I especially liked the epilogue. So many writers leave the reader hanging...left to draw their own conclusions about the various outcomes for the characters and situations. This author's method left me feeling satisfied and anticipating the next life movement for each of the primary characters.

Pamela P F

I was drawn into the story and these characters right away. The author creates a world you sink into and the struggles of the characters pull you into their plight. A thoroughly enjoyable read!

Diane Hertz

Wild Raspberries is a unique story with interesting characters and plot twists. Our book group was honored to have Connie join us for a discussion of writing her book. She gave us an insight into how she develops her characters and story line. I look forward to reading her next books.

Ginny S.

I was immediately drawn into the story and the characters' lives in this book. I felt compassion for each of these ladies as they dealt with their hurt and anger as well as when their secrets were revealed. Descriptions of the characters and scenes were so vivid that it made me feel like I was actually watching a movie. This book was very well written with true emotion relayed from each character and with humor as well. I absolutely recommend it.

Missy

Really enjoyed how the author described the wonderfully interesting characters. A real twist of emotion on every page turn. Highly recommend.

Robin Wilson

Once you begin reading this book you won't want to put it down. The characters are so true to life that you'll want to invite them to brunch. That is, until you remember they are fictional characters. The characters drag you right smack into their lives from page one. You will laugh with them, as well as cry with them, and you won't want to leave them when you are finished. I will be first in line if and when this story makes it to the "big screen."

Eva Lazear

While the quilt that Callie, the main character, sews--as a remembrance of her lover--is woven with the motif of wild raspberries, it becomes abundantly clear, as the plot twists and turns, that like the vine itself, the main characters in Connie Chappell's debut novel, Wild Raspberries, seem to be in need of pruning. Through the delicate boundaries set up by a grief counselor--after the death of Callie's 20 year secret lover--the habitat, chosen for a weekend rendezvous with all the major players in the deceased"s life, becomes a place of problems unique, not only to Callie, but to the counselor, the widow and the widow's daughter-in-law as well. Anger, pride, hate and love work to carry the brunt of the family secrets, as Callie tries desperately to hold on to the role into which she has been thrust as healer. Chappell manages to capture all the depth of emotions that want to ground themselves in the soil of life, just as wild raspberries want to ground their arching branches and re-root for flowering and propagation. With such emotions that are lifelike and true, the reader can only sympathize with the characters and understand the predicament each character faces. Thus, the author engrosses the reader in the inescapable truth that grief is neither singular nor debatable. Everyone grieves in his or her own way, and only when each seeks the the comfort of others and an understanding of the way in which each person grieves, can healing come about. Wild Raspberries is about bitterness, secrets, relationships, grief, healing and, most of all love and survival. It is a good read with --hopefully-- more to come.

Margaret S.

I usually prefer stories that are more dialogue than description. However, the author thoroughly immersed me in the physical surroundings and emotional tone of the story through her excellent narratives as seen through the eyes of the five main characters. Dialogue is emotional, spirited, and sometimes humorous and fit each character. The plot is interesting and held my attention.

SOM

This book is exceptional!! I could hardly put it down. The characters kept me thinking about them. The same issues seen from the various characters' perspectives is thought provoking. The problems facing these intertwined characters are complex, and the very real reactions from each one makes the reader wonder about what his/her response would be. This book would make an excellent book study for a reading group.