What makes us step back to examine the events and people that have shaped our lives? And what happens when what we discover leads to more questions?
Angelica Schirrick wonders how her life could have gotten so far off-track. With two children in tow, she begins a journey of self-discovery that leads her back home to Ohio. It pains her to remember the promise her future once held and the shattering revelations that derailed her life.
Can she face the failures and secrets of her past and move forward? Somehow she must learn to accept the violence of her beginning before she can be open to life, and a second chance at love.
“Linda K. Sienkiewicz’s powerful and richly detailed debut novel is at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey. In the Context of Love should be required reading for all wayward teenage girls—and their mothers, too.” ~Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters.
“With tenderness, but without blinking, Linda K. Sienkiewicz turns her eye on the predator-prey savannah of the young and still somehow hopeful.” ~ Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the #1 NY Times Bestseller, Deep End of the Ocean
“Absorbing, heartbreaking, compulsively-readable and insightful, Linda Sienkiewicz’s In the Context of Love casts a hypnotic spell. This is storytelling at its best.” ~ Lewis Robinson, author of the critically acclaimed, Officer Friendly: and Other Stories, and Water Dogs
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is a published poet and fiction writer, cynical optimist, fan of corgis, tea drinker, and wine lover from Michigan. Her poetry, short stories, and art have been published in more than fifty literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, Clackamas Literary Review, Spoon River, and Permafrost.
She received a poetry chapbook award from Bottom Dog Press, and an MFA from the University of Southern Maine. Linda lives with her husband in southeast Michigan, where they spoil their grandchildren and then send them back home.
1. Do you or did you have another profession besides writing?
My education is in art, and I worked in graphics before starting a family. Over the years, I’ve done free lance artwork and calligraphy and worked as a picture framing specialist. I love all kinds of arts, crafts and sewing. I also worked with Pet-a-Pet therapy with my dog, and formed an adult ADD support group. I work as a volunteer for a non-profit human services organization now.
2. In your book, In the Context of Love, the main character Angelica says: “We carry our loves with us all our lives. Stamped in our psyche, they become part of us.” What does she mean?
I think we take something from everyone we’ve ever loved throughout our lives, and in that sense, we carry them with us. We may not still be in love with that person, but they are imprinted in our memory, whether it’s good or bad. Hopefully, if it was bad, we’ve learned from it. Angelica never forgets her first love Joe, even though they’re separated, and she searches for him in every man she meets after that.
3. How would you describe Angelica?
She’s a great big heart in a little 4’9” body. Her mother calls her a mesomorph, which Angelica thinks sounds more like a rock formation than a girl! She’s altruistic and forgiving, a seeker of truths, and when she finally finds her strength after a devastating setback, she becomes a force to reckon with.
4. In the Context of Love is about family dynamics and the lies we sometimes tell ourselves just to keep peace. Where did you find your inspiration?
From my friends’ families and the secrets and scandals in my own. I think every family has a couple of good whoppers to tell, don’t you? I also believe there is a level of dysfunction in every family, too, even those that look so perfect from the outside.
5. What is the most interesting thing you discovered when doing research for your novel?
The way Hungarians swear! I stumbled across a page on the internet that had the most colorful Hungarian curses you could imagine. I’d never heard anything like it. A fellow writer and native Hungarian confirmed everything I read. She said Hungarians don’t just damn you to hell because that’s too easy. I can’t share what they’d really say here. It’s too lurid. You’ll just have to read the book!
This is the type of story that reminds you of your past. It also reminded me that I could learn from my past. I could learn from the mistakes of my ancestors and raise my family differently. The sins of the parents should not be the sins of the daughter. I could tell that the author knew how to write poetry, because it came through it her words. This is a great beach read. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions all my own.
Win a $10 Amazon gift card (International)