Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review & Giveaway ~ Room of Tears by Linda Merlino

Out of tragedies come heroes and miracles…
At 9:59 a.m. on September 11, 2001, Diane O’Connor’s life as a firefighter’s wife changes forever, shattering her faith. Four decades later, a note still hangs on her kitchen cabinet in Queens, the paper yellowed with age. Diane knows the scribbled sentences by heart; she'd left them the morning of 9/11 for her husband, Billy.
In the summer of 2041, Diane invites Friar Antonio Ortiz to her home. He is a man destined to become counsel to the first American pope—her son, Peter. Antonio asks no questions and arrives in secret, promising to wait nineteen years before passing Diane's journal to Peter. Only then will Billy’s story be told, along with answers to Peter’s questions about his father’s last days.

Absorbed, Antonio neglected to notice that Diane had disappeared into the kitchen. He thought to ask her about the two men in the photographs, and when he turned in anticipation of seeing her next to him, he took a step toward where she might be standing. His right foot struck a pair of boots propped upright against the wall. He stumbled and put a hand out to that empty place where he thought she might be, but his face did not meet hers, and instead came within an inch of a firefighter’s helmet, the medallion of its FDNY ladder company polished and gleaming.
On the edge of that moment, trying to regain his balance, each breath he took tightened in his throat. Antonio began to gag. His mind raced. What could be happening? One minute he was looking at photographs and the next his throat was constricting. An acrid odor rose to his nostrils. He shook his head—the same faint smell he’d noticed from before, at the door, but stronger, sharp enough now to sear his soft membranes. My God, he thought and recoiled. Sweat sprang from his face and neck. A heart attack? He clutched his chest. No, not that. His heart was fine except for the galloping beat under his ribcage. Heat emanated from the helmet as if it had just come through an inferno. “My God,” he said aloud. Perhaps a fire burned inside the wall, hot enough to choke him.


Please read the description of this book before you start reading it.  I made the mistake of not doing this.  I read the description a while back, before I started reading the book and I was very confused in the beginning.  When I went back & read what the book was supposed to be about, the story made more sense.  

I am not a religious person…at all.  If you have faith in God and the Catholic religion, this book is for you.  ROOM OF TEARS is about a woman, dying of lung cancer, wanting to tell her NYC firefighter husband's story of when he died in the South tower on 9/11.  

The year is now 2041.  Diane O’Connor is speaking to a priest about her life story and her dead husband, Billy, because their son will become the first American pope. The priest is not allowed to share this story with the woman's son until his papacy.  It isn't until they get to the year 2060, when the priest, who is counsel to the woman's son, Peter, is having his pontification and they learn Billy's story from his own lips beyond the grave.  

Billy's story was my favorite part of the book and I wished the whole book was written from his perspective, even it was from beyond the grave.   His description of the events of being called to the South tower and his ultimate death were very well written.  I couldn't put the book down during this part of the book.

The story ends with Peter and the priest being happy to learn Billy's story and Peter no longer having doubts to his title of pope.

It wasn't a good book but it wasn't a bad book either.  I'm indifferent only because of the religious aspect of the story.  I’m giving the book 4 stars, and that's only because of excellence of Billy's story.

Rating: 4

Release Date: July 19, 2013
Book Length: 152 pages
Source: Blog Tour Host
Reviewed by: Julie
Reading Format: Available in eBook and Paperback

ROOM OF TEARS can be purchased from Amazon

Linda Merlino is the author of  Room of Tears (July 23 2013), Hudson Catalina (2008-Belly of the Whale & re-release 9/14/12), Swan Boat Souvenir (self-published 2003) she began writing fiction as a young mother on the sidelines of endless soccer practices.  Linda wrote anytime any place.  A manuscript filled a carton in the back seat of her car.  Many years have passed since those early beginnings, but her work continues to be inspired by her children.
The author has a fascination with heroes and writes her fiction to honor ordinary men and women who react unselfishly in extraordinary circumstances.  She extends her gratitude to all who keep us safe and free.
Her hometown is outside of Boston.  She lived for many years in New York City and more recently calls Connecticut her home.

Places to find Linda Merlino:

As part of her blog tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Linda is giving two commenters a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card.  Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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  1. It sounds like something I would enjoy. Amazing giveaway, thank you! :)
    If I won I'd like the amazong gift card.

  2. Thanks for hosting - Today is a day of remembrance and for thanking the heroes who keep us safe and free-I will be offline for most of the day due to work but will try to pop in and for sure will return after 7pm Best Linda

  3. Thank you for the giveaway.I would choose amazon.

  4. I love amazon and would love to win a gift card.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I'm remembering how proud we are of our younger son. This is how he spent 9/11 2001.

    My son was the head of Brooklyn College EMS when 9/11 happened. He grabbed some "volunteers" who happened to be hanging out in the office that day and loaded a bus with extra gear. They headed into the city by going through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

    Half way through the tunnel they were hit by a very strong wind loaded with dust and paper debris. Slowing up they continued on their mission. Behind the paper storm they saw, coming at them a police car followed by hundreds of running people. They put the bus (term for ambulance) into reverse and started backing their way out of the tunnel, with people grabbing hold of the bus and clinging to it they pulled out of the tunnel and with the help of the on hand police car they set up a triage area.

    They spent about an hour or so there until they were relieved by a replacement crew. They headed back into the tunnel and completed their trip to Ground Zero where they were all assigned jobs. My younger son spent over 24 hours in the hole. He was on the bucket brigade (for which he still has nightmares) bringing out debris containing human remains and body parts.

    We had no idea of the extent of his involvement till a year or so later he was video taped giving a talk about that day at a Jewish Center in New Jersey.

    He is now an instructor and Disaster Co-ordinater with the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

    If I'm the lucky winner I'd love the Amazon card.

  7. Sounds like a compelling story.


  8. I would like an amazon gift card. Thanks!!


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