Author: Sara Brunsvold
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: July 5, 2022
A throwaway assignment is about to change two lives forever
Aidyn Kelley is talented, ambitious, and ready for a more serious assignment than the fluff pieces she's been getting as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. In her eagerness, she pushes too hard, earning herself the menial task of writing an obituary for an unremarkable woman who's just entered hospice care.
But there's more to Clara Kip than meets the eye. The spirited septuagenarian may be dying, but she's not quite ready to cash it in yet. Never one to shy away from an assignment herself, she can see that God brought the young reporter into her life for a reason. And if it's a story Aidyn Kelley wants, that's just what Mrs. Kip will give her--but she's going to have to work for it.
Reviewer: Kimberlee Sams
I have absolutely ONLY good things to say about this book. It was interesting, inspirational, and even something of a "how to" manual for living. It has been nominated for my Top 10 Books of the Year list.
First, the story was excellent. Aidyn, a young reporter, is supposed to interview an elderly hospice patient to gather information for her obituary. The woman, Mrs. Kip, has other ideas, and soon Aidyn finds herself engrossed in Mrs. Kip's life story. As a reader, I enjoyed both storylines: present-day Aidyn interacting with Mrs. Kip and trying to move ahead in her career and the high-impact story of Mrs. Kip's past. These two are seamlessly woven together, and I found myself as anxious as Aidyn to learn what happened next.
The two main characters are extremely well-written. By the end, I felt I truly knew and understood both women. Each character's personality is unique and detailed and beautiful in its own way. I appreciated how the gentle character moments were interspersed with information about Mrs. Kip's life story.
As a Christian, the highlight of this book for me was the incredible depth and breadth of Christian content included. Mrs. Kip is a beacon of hope and love and shares her faith with everyone with whom she comes in contact. I was inspired by both the life she lived and the slow death she was currently enduring. This character is so special, and anyone with an open mind can walk away from reading about her with some new ideas about how to approach both life and its inevitable conclusion.
When reading more about the author, I was stunned to learn that she is quite young and that this is her debut novel. The quality of the writing, plus the depth of the faith demonstrated in the story, left me imagining an older writer with many (many) more years of life experience to draw from. I'm beyond impressed that someone so young could so beautifully and realistically capture the aging and dying process with such sensitivity.
The Christian Fiction world is lucky to have many more years of Ms. Brunsvold's work to look forward to!
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell Publishers through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Amy Smelser
This is a story that I was very intrigued by and really did not know what I would be getting. It is not my usual genre. In fact, I was really hoping that I would not be depressed by the end of this book. Well, I am pleasantly surprised at how this story was told. It is about a woman, Mrs. Kip, who is dying. She has cancer, is in pain, and doesn't have much time left here on earth. She knows it, and everyone around her knows it. There are some who work in hospice care that have a special gift and can help ease dying people. And most people are just uncomfortable when they are faced with this situation. Ultimately, we are faced with a mirror image of our mortal bodies and what awaits us. It makes us uncomfortable.
This is why many of us would completely understand why Aidyn Kelley would feel uncomfortable spending so much time with Mrs. Kip even though her editor requires it. However, the more Aidyn and we get to know Mrs. Kip, we sense and get a much bigger story of her life. With flashbacks to her heartbreak and pain, her growth, and the great work that she accomplished. I was pulled into her story of this woman who made such a difference, even though her life's dreams did not pan out. And the time leading up to her death well, the author showed that Mrs. Kip was going to live her life to the fullest right up to her death.
For a book about a woman's dying days, I found much hope and peace within these pages. This was a remarkable story and as for her extraordinary deaths, yes plural, read the story.
I was provided a review copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review, and all views and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Raechel Kelly
That was...wow. Incredible. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I started this book, but what a journey! Oh my goodness.
As I read, it became increasingly easy to imagine these characters as being real, particularly Mrs. Kip herself. If only everyone could encounter someone like Mrs. Kip in their lives. She was a fireball and, as often described, "too much," in all the best possible ways.
I loved her spirit, her tenacity for life, and, more importantly, for love. Oh, did that woman love. It came across the pages so strongly that it would take some convincing to say it's not real. Love like that is selfless, and it most definitely is real. I loved seeing how this incredible character ministered that as if she was real herself.
If I understand correctly, this is the author's debut novel. But I would never have guessed - The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip reads like it was already preceded by multiple works. It is so detailed, so well-written, and so full of heart.
I tabbed so many spots because copious amounts of truths were woven throughout these pages. Mrs. Kip led an incredible life - even if it was fictional, it was inspiring to say the least.
One of my many favorite quotes was this one:
"Authentic love is the greatest joy there is, Miss Kelley, but it requires a thousand little deaths to self."
And I appreciated how Aidyn's character progressed through the novel. She definitely had the most character growth, which was beautiful to see. And beautiful to see how each life impacts others.
Truly, just like its title, this story was extraordinary, and I very much look forward to whatever the author writes next!
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through Interviews and Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
"Thank you, Mrs. Kip. Thank you for helping me find a life that matters."
How could a nondescript terminally ill woman bestow such a rich legacy of life upon one who still had so many days left on her calendar? Aidyn Kelly wasn't sure she could answer that question until she could.
Saddled with what appeared to be a punitive assignment for the Kansas City Star (something about a reprimand, her job might be on the line, those sorts of things), Aidyn dreaded writing an obituary about someone who was still alive. Albeit just barely. What was her editor thinking? That was exactly what Woods was doing, for Aidyn was about to meet someone who lived more in dying than most people dreamed about living in several lifetimes. Clara Lu Rooker Kip had a story to tell if only Aidyn would ask the right questions. It all boiled over with those extraordinary deaths.
Never could I have imagined the kind of story that resided within the pages of this book. It's indescribable, really, and quite convicting. "It all began because Mrs. Kip, intimately familiar with pain, once stopped amid her daily rush to comfort a grieving mother and unwittingly found herself in the center of world history."
"I always let the Lord guide me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:8
I highly recommend it!
I received a review copy of this book from Revell through Interviews & Reviews. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
What could I say about The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip that would do it justice? Sara Brusvold has created a character so endearing and full of life that the whole world needs to meet her.
At its heart, this novel is a study of what it means to live a life of faith - to be Jesus to everyone you meet, no matter how disagreeable they may be. Mrs. Kip makes me want to be a better Christian. More than that, Mrs. Kip makes me want to live my best life so that I, too, can have an extraordinary death.
I was touched deeply by this novel for so many reasons. As I read, I remembered my time volunteering in nursing homes that were a lot like Sacred Promise. It made me wish I could volunteer once more. It also brought to mind my mother as she lay dying in a hospital bed. I pictured my father, who, at 93, is now alone in a room and place much like Mrs. Kip's. And I thought about my time in the hospital last year. I was there for five months, and I know that my time on this earth is limited because of my prognosis. So I want to be like Mrs. Kip for as long as I have.
Do not pass up reading this book. If you know someone in hospice or in a nursing home, read it. If you have elderly parents, read it. If you don't know Jesus, read it. Because in its pages, you will see him in action. I can't recommend this enough. Kudos to the author. I'm so glad you listened to Jesus!
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Lori Parrish
What a beautiful read! One that kept my attention until the very end. I have no words but well done! A story that deserves 5 stars and more. This new to me author is wonderful, and I'll be adding her and this book to my list of favorites.
By the time this story was over, Sara had made me feel like Mrs. Kip, and Aiyden were real people. They even became my friends, and I felt as if I learned something along the way myself.
I will warn you that you'll need a box of tissues because parts of this story will make you want to cry. It did me. I didn't want the book to end because I hate to say goodbye to characters I absolutely adored.
I highly recommend this book.
I received a review copy from Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
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