Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Marcie by Carly M. Duncan (4 stars)

About Marcie

When Kate's mother, Marcie, dies mysteriously she is forever tormented by the many questions surrounding her mother's death. In Marcie's absence Kate clings to her mother's husbands, searching for solace.
As family secrets are revealed Kate works to build her own life and family, but the mystery of her mother's death sidetracks her until she finally gets the answer she's always hoped for.
Purchase your copy at AMAZON.
First Chapter


A call in the middle of the night can never bear good news. In fact, the sound of each ring sends a chill through me. Even the tiny hairs on my arm stand on edge.

A glance at the clock tells me two things; either there is an emergency, or the neighborhood middle school kids are having a prank hay day. The frequency of the latter enables me to calmly and patiently let the phone continue to ring a few more times.
I don’t have an answering machine, and there’s no reason I wouldn’t be home (asleep) at this hour, so whoever is dialing knows I’ll answer as long as they challenge me with the annoyance of each ring. I pretend that I’m dreaming, but by the seventh ring I can’t ignore reality. There is, after all, the small possibility that the call could be something important. I answer.
It’s my stepbrother, Terry, and there isn’t a greeting at all. Just, “Something’s happened to Marcie. I just got a call from Guam. Get to my house as soon as possible.”
Terry is six years older than I and is someone who entered my life when I was five years old. He is his father, Beau’s, clone in every way a son can and should be. He’s handsome, loud, bossy and, though I sense a lot of anger from the depths inside of him, he’s always laughing.
He lives nearby with his mother, so we see him often and he’s another protective, embarrassing older brother I could’ve done without. I imagine if I were to enter into a family that wasn’t my own, I might do so gradually and with care, but Terry immediately jumped into his role as big brother and was happy not only to have a brother to team up with, but a little sister to antagonize as well.
I’m nineteen and my brothers still insist on making fun of me. I figured it would die down once I exited junior high, then thought it would lose its charm once I turned eighteen, but it happens to be our family’s form of entertainment, so I laugh. I try to get my share of punches in on them. I remember that they jest out of love, and convince my normally overly sensitive side to giggle with them on occasion.
I am the perfect little sister because I make the jokes easy to come by (or perhaps simply being a little sister allows the jokes to flow freely.) Like when I enter the living room, ready for a date, and my big brothers say to me, “You’re not honestly going out like that, are you?!” My super jock-y, rule-the-school brothers are used to a hotter level of date, I guess.
I gently lower the receiver, staring at it as though it were full of lies. What could’ve happened to Mom? She’s only forty-one and as healthy as anyone is at that age. She lives in Guam, so she’s basically on vacation every day and, yet, Terry’s voice echoes through my mind with urgency.
If Terry is calling, only bad news is possible. My parents, who recently moved to Guam, don’t typically call for a quick hello. And so I don’t move. I sit. I stare. I think about who has been called. And then it peeves me that if something has “happened to Mom” (as the words keep repeating and repeating in my head) my stepfather, Beau, has phoned Terry to gather us instead of Mom’s own eldest (from her first marriage,) my half brother, Luke.
My Grandmother Helen taught me to chose my battles carefully, for there are only so many that can be won, so I persuade myself that this is one of those battles I’ll have to let go of. Beau has called Terry instead of Luke and that is that. There isn’t time for resentment now. Not even on my brother’s behalf. Not until I know my mother is ok.
I do not move. I sit at the edge of my bed, legs dangling, and wonder why, as fast as I know I should be moving, I can’t. I am grounded in this place, at this time, because if I leave this place I might meet a reality that I have no desire to face.
I call Luke and ask him to pick me up. I’m not in the mood to drive and I want to see my brother before we see everyone else. Luke’s girlfriend, Melanie, answers, sleepy and solemn and says, “He’s already on his way.”
“Thanks,” I whisper, hit by the potential sadness in her tone.
“Hey…Kate, are you OK?” She asks, not sure what to say yet.
“I’m fine. We’ll call you soon.” And before she can say anything else, I click the headpiece before I even lower the receiver.
I rise, I walk to the kitchen and I pour myself a glass of water. I stare at the photo of Luke and I on the fridge. I wonder if my Mother has taken this photo of us with her to Guam. Does she look at us daily? Staring at this photo on my fridge makes California seem like light years away from Guam right now. Maybe it has always felt that way.
I don’t bother to change my clothes. I’m wearing a simple tank top and sweatpants, but add slippers and a hooded sweatshirt. This doesn’t feel like a suitable time to change into anything that resembles an outfit. I contemplate brushing my teeth, but wonder what the point would be this early in the morning. Plus, I don’t want to make Luke wait or to be delayed at any cost. I grab a stick of gum and chew.
It’s February and it’s bound to be cold outside, but I don’t grab a jacket. Any extra movement or effort seems contrived, as though I should be saving energy for whatever is coming.
I have just enough time before Luke arrives to think about Terry’s phone call. Did he sound calm? Was there noise in the background? Was I the first or last that he called? Who would be at the house when I arrived? A chill from the winter weather – or perhaps the phone call – slithers down my spine as I pace my room waiting.
Terry sounded calm enough and the house was quiet. Perhaps there would be no reason for alarm. Maybe in a few hours he’d regret having gotten everyone out of bed in the middle of the night for a silly little scare.
I pass a mirror in the hallway and wonder why I appear to look so very stoic right now, almost empowered, as though I know exactly what has and what will take place.
I find a space near the front window and pause for Luke’s approach. No one is on my street at this time of night, so, when I see headlights make a turn toward my window, I am out on the lawn before he can completely stop his car in the driveway. He looks tired, messy (I’ve never seen a single hair on his head out of place before this instance) and as tentative as I am.
I slide into the car and we sit in silence as he drives to Terry’s house until I say (and the words come before my brain has acknowledged them), “You know she’s dead don’t you?”
Most of us would be devastated by the loss of our mother, especially at a very young age. But Kate doesn't have a typical relationship with her mother, Marcie, for so many reasons.

Growing up, Kate was pushed aside and forced to grow up way too fast. One of her biggest dreams is to some day have a child of her own so that she can be the mother she never had.

Kate goes through many trials in her young life, not the least of which is having two absent parents. Fortunately, she has a boyfriend who wants to be the family she's never had. But they are young. Can they make it? Will Kate find her happily-ever-after? Will she finally understand what made her mom so distant?

This is a short book, only 130 pages. While the story kept my attention and was beautifully written, it felt rushed--especially the ending. I wanted to know more about Marcie, what made her the woman who seemed so ill-suited to being a mother. But, I did connect with Kate and felt sad to see her story end (and wishing for another 100 pages of understanding).

Recommended for readers who appreciate character-driven family dramas.

Rating: 4 stars
About the Author

Carly M. Duncan is a television producer by day and a writer whenever there is time. She loves baking, scripted television and is working on easing her addiction to her too-smart-phone. She lives with her husband, two daughters and beloved Westie in Brooklyn, New York.
Her latest book is the chick lit, Marcie.
Pay Carly a visit at her website at www.carlymduncan.com.
Please visit other stops on the Marcie blog tour page.

Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for including me on this blog tour.

Note: I received a complimentary copy from Pump Up Your Book for review purposes. No other compensation was received. A positive review was not guaranteed or requested; the views expressed are my own.