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Catching Air by Sarah Pekkanen

Catching Air

by Sarah Pekkanen

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957199,903 (3.75)None
A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont ?it ?s an offer Kira Danner can ?t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B ?s co-owners: Peter ?s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand ?s wife, Alyssa ?Śwho is essentially a stranger. For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can ?t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking ?a winter wedding ?and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don't realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone ?Ś… (more)



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When spontaneous Rand calls his younger brother Peter, he offers him an opportunity. Rand and his wife Alyssa have purchased a B&B near a sky lodge, he offers Peter and his wife Kira the chance to be partners and to live there.

Peter and Rand are not close, but Kira has been so stressed lately that he thinks the change could be the best thing for her. Maybe she'll be able to relax, maybe they'll be able to have that baby he's been waiting for.

I enjoyed this story, mostly focused on Alyssa, Kira and Dawn.
Dawn is running from a bad guy in her life and winds up at the B&B.

Everyone is dealing with their own dramas but they mostly feel believable. Sometimes Dawn's story is less so, but I'm impressed that it's not predictable.

The two married couples are dealing with baby drama and sibling drama.

I liked the story and I feel it's given me a new author to keep an eye out for. I like her style of writing. ( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
A special thank you to the publisher, Atria Books, Washington Square Press and NetGalley for an ARC, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

First and foremost, Sarah Pekkanen is one of my favorite authors, having read all her books (she has a clear understanding of the topics of women, especially the thirty-something crowd); whether single, married, or mothers. Her humor, in-depth research of subject matter, and insightfulness is reflective throughout her books, making her a fan of women, of all ages.

There are so many aspects to this book: The idyllic setting, a B&B, from Florida sunshine to Vermont snow, high powered attorney to running a B&B, two married couples (totally different), and a single gal running from her troubled past. What a journey!

Next, the B&B storyline most definitely drew me in. Having worked in the hotel business and a B&B consultant for years, with my share of innkeeping and event planning--- there is always high drama, especially when weddings or high stress special events are taking place. You pretty much live on high adrenaline around the clock, especially with Trip Advisor, social and mobile media integration, trying to please every guest--their wants, desires, and expectations are always high. Sarah did a great job highlighting some of the realistic day- to -day details (sometimes much worse; however, rewarding at times, as well), involved in the business of running and operating a B&B.

Could definitely relate to the characteristics of dyslexia, as well- (my ex-husband had three sons all with dyslexia)--they fit the profile perfectly with Rand. Good looking, charming, life of the party, and personality—compensating and always looking for adventure and running from responsibility and problems – so ADD. You have to love them; however, very frustrating at times.

However, the real magic and meat of “Catching Air” is the rich character development; their past, present—a solid background of each, in order to provide the reader with a deeper understanding of how they fit into the overall storyline – how their insecurities, sense of adventure, responsibility, faults, strengths/weaknesses, past parent-child relationship, and loyalty played into their overall character and how their personalities changed and matured, throughout the novel as they intertwine, based on circumstances and new relationships.

I found the dynamics between Alyssa/Rand quite interesting. Here you have a free-spirited nice looking couple, both loving adventure, spontaneous, love of travel, non-career minded, and never committing to staying in one place very long (wow, wished I had the money to be them). Life is always on a high; not an ideal couple to buy a B&B. To see Rand/Alyssa relationship develop and change, as they embark upon parenthood and real responsibility. Alyssa has no problem changing; however, can Rand?

Ironically, Rand’s brother Peter and his wife Kira, a more career-minded lawyer leaving Florida (my other connection), after her failed attempts and frustrations with becoming partner at her law firm – chooses to go with her husband, and live with a brother and sister in law they hardly know, to help run a B&B in Vermont. They on the other hand, are ideal for running an inn, as Kira possesses organizational and culinary skills, and Peter is very level headed, patient, nurturing, and more of a caregiver.

Then there is the relationship between the two brothers Peter/Rand and their past, as they dealt with their mom’s cancer in two different ways which still has not been resolved. The relationship between Alyssa/Kira, the sister-in-law, which turned out ideal. They each are experiencing struggles and desires of becoming a mother and how their past and future dictates their choices. Also the dynamics of their childhood, being poor and financially secure has affected their choices in life. The two couples actually complement one another in different ways.

And, the icing on the cake, is the other main character, Dawn and how her life connects and their paths cross with the two married couples. Of course, she is running from the fiasco with her former company, an ex-boyfriend, a setup, and the insecurities of her past. It was exciting to see her character unfold, as she becomes part of these two families living under one roof, her strengths, and her part in operation of the inn. Also her solid relationship with Peter, and how she looks to him for guidance and strength.

Very interesting, to see how Alyssa goes from the free-spirited to the worrier. Kira goes from being the steady one, the rock, and glue to hold it all together to being spontaneous, and running away from the pressure.

Each character brings so much to the novel, and Sarah does a magnificent job of bringing these complex yet engaging characters together for a take away about importance of family, love, and communication. I could see a sequel here, as would like to see a continuation of these dynamic characters for at least a few more books!

“Catching Air would be a very interesting book for book clubs, and reading groups, to discuss further, the complex relationships of these two couples and Dawn; how they changed and matured from the beginning of the book to the end. Well done!
( )
  JudithDCollins | Nov 27, 2014 |
Two couples move to Vermont to open a bed and breakfast. The two brothers and sisters-in-laws learn much about each other as they take on the venture. A stranger, Dawn, shows up at the B&B with secrets of her own and that unravel as the novel moves forward. A great story about how love, relationships, and the memories of our childhood shape our lives every day. I must say that the food served at the B&B in this novel gave me a constant urge to eat, because everything Kira served up sounded delicious. Great novel to follow The Best of Us. ( )
  Kappadeemom | Oct 27, 2014 |
Catching Air is a nice little vacation escape of a read. Kira and her husband Peter set off from their high-stress jobs in Florida to try their hands at running a bed & breakfast with Peter’s brother, Rand, and his wife, Alyssa. None of them has done anything quite like it before, but they each bring their separate talents–and baggage–to the adventure.

The story, though it could be fraught with melodrama and bickering, is really one of four fairly well-adjusted adults learning to work through their problems like grown-ups and succeed at something new. I fear I’ve just managed to make it sound supremely uninteresting, but rest assured, Pekkannen is far better at this than I am! Catching Air is a light, lovely little novel, and a perfect summer read. It’s filled with vibrant characters, realistic and relatable situations, and a setting that makes you feel like you’re on vacation the entire time you’re reading. It was truly a joy to return to each afternoon, and I found I missed Kira and Alyssa after I had finished it.

Pekkannen’s writing may not be entirely flawless; there were a couple of place where I felt like the plot shifts could have been a bit more smooth, or things could have been more strongly developed, but I’m really not going to be terribly nit-picky, here. It was just plain refreshing to read a book that was able to tackle some fairly difficult real-life problems, but also convey that, with a little work and trust, things generally work out alright.

A couple of profanities; otherwise delightfully clean. 3.5 stars. Catching Air is on shelves now! ( )
1 vote fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
One thing Ms. Pekkanen does well in all of her novels is create characters to whom it is easy for readers to relate. Readers may find themselves in Alyssa’s carefree ways or in Dawn’s desperation or in Kira’s type-A personality. Ms. Pekkanen understands people, their drives, their needs, and the millions of ways one reacts to situations. There is always something attractive about all of her characters, but it is the reader’s ability to envision oneself as one of the characters that makes her stories so enjoyable.

Another enjoyable aspect of Ms. Pekkanen’s novels is that her characters are highly flawed. Readers will see the consequences of Dawn’s actions long before she realizes the truth. Some may view Alyssa as too accepting of her husband’s wandering ways, while others will struggle with Kira’s self-martyrdom. Their flaws are the exact same things that make them so empathetic, but it does not mean readers can guarantee to like them.

Unfortunately, Catching Air does not quite meet one’s expectations for Ms. Pekkanen. Her books are usually light and fun while still being earnest and emotional. This particular book had none of the light and fun and too much seriousness. Kira’s position as the only chef on the premises becomes infuriating as others take advantage of her hospitality. Her exacting honesty is also exhausting. Throughout it all, there is none of the levity Ms. Pekkanen usually creates to provide readers with a respite from the characters’ multiplying issues.

While Catching Air may disappoint fans of Ms. Pekkanen’s other novels, new readers will appreciate the realism she inflects in all of her characters and the emotional roller coaster through which she puts both readers and characters. It is a serious novel with very real issues, which will entice some readers while turning away others. Definitely not her best work, Catching Air is still a decent read for her characterization alone.
  jmchshannon | May 7, 2014 |
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Dawn Zukoski was scared of lots of things -- spiders, lightning bolts, the way New York cabbies drove -- but only once in her life had she known true terror.
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