LIFE STUDIES - Nancy Gotter Gates
Five Star
ISBN: 978-1-4328-2529-4
August 2011
Contemporary Fiction

Greensboro, North Carolina - Present Day

At fifty-five, Liz Raynor's orderly life was thrown into chaos when her husband, Peter, died of cancer.  Peter was a financial planner, so her finances are secure, but Liz can't find a purpose in her life.  Looking around, she decides it is time to start over.  She volunteers at the local soup kitchen and has always wanted to paint.  Liz rents a studio at Sternberger Artist's Center and enrolls in art classes.  The instructor, Jay Kadlacek, is captivating, and Liz feels a spark, but life has a way of throwing a wrench in the best laid plans.

Liz gets a surprise one day when she answers the door to a small young woman asking for Peter.

Samantha Grace was told by her late mother that if she ever needed money, go to Peter.  With suitcase in hand, Samantha is devastated when she learns about Peter's death.  Not sure why Samantha is there, Liz finds her a motel room and eventually a job.  But something keeps nagging her; why didn't Peter ever mention her?  When Liz learns that Samantha has Noonan Syndrome, her heart stops because Peter carried the gene.  Is she Peter's child?

LIFE STUDIES doesn't stop there.  Liz's life takes off in a way she could never imagine.  Jay and she are falling in love; his son Brian resents Liz; Sam breaks her hip; Liz moves her into her home, and the trusty financial planner steals all her money.  Oh my.

Nancy Gotter Gates has taken a combination of life's crises, grief, love, betrayal along with new beginnings and has written a strong character driven story that will enchant readers. Liz is an amazing character.  Even though she learns the hard way her husband had a secret child, she opens her home and heart to a shy young woman who knows she is different. Jay is also healing from the loss of his spouse and is trying to rebuild his relationship with his son while finding time to be with Liz.  Brian dislikes the changes about to happen, but that's life.

Well written and with a candid look at Noonan Disorder, readers will enjoy this story of endings and new beginnings.  In all reality, it's not very often one can find that second chance at love.  With all the baggage that comes with age, there is also wisdom and kindness.  Those of us who lost the first bloom of love years ago will find themselves rooting for Liz and Jay.

Enjoy, folks.

Deborah C Jackson