Thursday, August 8, 2013

"The Coach House" by Florence Osmund

The Coach House
by Florence Osmund

In her book The Coach House, Florence Osmund tackles the issues of ethnicity, relationships and Chicago corruption in the 1940s. Osmund shows how fleeing from a perilous situation can cause the past to catch up with you in unimaginable ways and places.
1945 Chicago. Anything can happen, and for Richard Marchetti, it usually does. Marie Marchetti, however, doesn't know that about her husband. To her, they have the perfect life. Until little things start to pop up that put her on alert: late night phone calls, cryptic receipts hidden in the basement, and a gun in his desk drawer. When she learns he secretly attends a mobster's funeral, her feelings are confirmed. And when she inadvertently interrupts a meeting between Richard and his so-called business associates, he causes her to fall down the basement steps, compelling Marie to run for her life.
Ending up in Atchison, Kansas, Marie quickly sets up a new life for herself. She meets Karen Franklin, a woman who will become her lifelong best friend, and rents a coach house apartment behind a three-story Victorian home. But her attempts at a new life are fraught with the fear that Richard will show up at any time - and who knows what he or his associates will do then? Ironically, it is the discovery of the identity of her real father and his ethnicity that unexpectedly changes her life forever.
Deftly portraying a life in a terrifying transition, Osmund tears open layers of confusion, anger, fear, and shame that are universal to the human experience of catharsis and growth. With extraordinary insight into our most basic need for trust and connection, The Coach House expertly builds tension as it brings into the open our primal instincts for survival and community.

It was just three months after she started at Marshall Fields that she met Richard, the exceptionally handsome man in the black fedora who had enticed her out of the display window. She immediately had had second thoughts: It was unlike her to be so bold with a man, especially a complete stranger, and his look had been so intense as he watched her walk towards him, it made her even more uneasy.

What a wonderful story this turned out to be! I actually bought the book because I loved the cover picture, and I'm so glad I did. From the beginning I felt a connection with Marie. Being swept off her feet by a gorgeous man who dabbled in the underworld, and then continued to lie to her about it, she eventually made the right decisions. Learning of her heritage may have been a shock to her, but in the end she handled it well, making me want to applaud her. Throughout the story, Marie went from one extreme environment to another, and with each she gained knowledge and insight, making her a strong likable character. The read was well worth my time. I can't wait to read the next one.

About the Author
After more than thirty years working in corporate America, Florence retired to pursue writing novels. Her first book, The Coach House, was released in April 2012. Its sequel, Daughters, was released in February 2013. A third novel, Red Clover, is currently in the works.
Florence grew up in a Victorian home in Illinois, complete with a coach house, the same house she used as inspiration for her first two books. She currently resides in Chicago where she enjoys travel, antiquing, theater, movies and (of course) reading and writing.