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The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip: A…

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip: A Novel (edition 2022)

by Sara Brunsvold (Author)

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3618586,845 (4.28)3
One last chance ... for Max, Fang, and Dylan ... before it all ends. "Nevermore" is one last incredible, explosive adventure with an astonishing ending that no one could have seen coming.
Title:The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip: A Novel
Authors:Sara Brunsvold (Author)
Info:Revell (2022), 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold


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The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold piqued my interest with its intriguing title. I simply wasn't sure about reading it. But I felt compelled to read it after hearing so much about it and after reading all the positive reviews. I'm so grateful I did. The depth and significance of this book prevents me from fully doing it justice.

Aidyn Kelly, a tyro for The Kansas City Star, was assigned to write Mrs. Kip's obituary. Because Mrs. Kip is still living, Aidyn felt as though the task was a punishment.

The 79-year-old Mrs. Kip (Clara) has a lot to teach Aidyn, a young woman who is just starting her profession. She actually has a lot to teach anybody who reads this transcendent, inspirative story.

The book is a stirring and beautiful debut that is packed with countless Biblical truths and nuggets of wisdom that are sure to touch readers' hearts. Clara's memories and her current antics and kindnesses are all covered. Brunsvold succeeds in giving you the feeling of journeying with Clara through her recollections yet connecting with her present friendship.

If you only read one book this year, I implore you to chose The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip.

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review. ( )
  RobbyeFaye | Aug 4, 2022 |
It’s Not Over Until…..

Aidyn is a young reporter for Kansas City's newspaper, The Star. In the time she has been at the newspaper, she has felt over-looked and under-appreciated. She pours out her woes to her boss's boss. By doing that, she may have set her career back years.

Despite realizing what a mistake she made, Aidyn still resents the "punishment." She must write an obituary of someone who is still alive, requiring a visit with an unknown hospice patient.

Mrs. Clara Kip is dying; she has just checked into a hospice facility. As she enters, she asks God to use her, and Clara gets two assignments.

When Aidyn and Mrs. Kip meet, the young reporter barely listens. Aidyn duly notes that Mrs. Kip never had children, was a widow for decades, and has cancer.

When her editor sends Aidyn back to improve her impersonal article, Aidyn starts paying attention. That is when she slowly realizes that Mrs. Kip lived an extraordinary life.

After spending years mourning her husband, and being angry with God, Clara Kip became a Christian. She worked with a large number of refugees, helped them find employment, a place to live, and learn the language. Because of the path Clara forged, many other refugees were able to follow it. Clara became a friend to the hurting. Through it all, Clara says the only thing amazing about her life is what God has done.

As Aidyn just starts to understand Clara's life story, Mrs. Kip's physical life is quickly winding down. Will the two of them have enough time to get through everything?

This book will amaze you. It will inspire your faith, touch your heart, and possibly cause you to run out of Kleenex. I highly recommend this five-star book to fans of life stories (even though this was fictional), or inspirational tales. Make sure you read it!

On a personal note, I was thrilled this was set in Kansas City, thank you Sara Brunsvold.

Revell Books has provided Tickmenot with a complimentary copy of, The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip, for the purpose of review. ( )
  Tickmenot | Jul 31, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Thank you in advance to the publisher, Revell Books (a division of Baker Books) for providing an advanced review copy through Library Thing. A positive review was not required nor requested, and all words are my own.

To be honest, this was a book I wasn’t sure I wanted to read. The cover is cutesy and a bit on the “sappy” side. It didn’t sound like a bad book, but it didn’t grab me either. The title really seemed like a hilarious story, yet the “blurb” indicated there was more depth to the story.

Since it was the only book I saw on LT for the month, I decided to get it, and surprisingly won it. It also happened to be Revell’s Beyond the Book read for July.

This is the author’s debut novel, and it is a sensational debut, which is a standalone read. While it seems light-hearted, it is a deep look into a woman who’s lived probably more lives in her lifetime than anyone.

There are mentions of alcohol abuse, infant death, along with Vietnam and its aftermath. It also has elements of the effects of aging, cancer, end of life, and palliative care. This isn’t an easy, “heartwarming” read; but Brunsvold tempers it with humor and the bond that develops between Aidyn and Clara.

In addition to Clara and Aidyn; other characters are Shayna Reese (Senior Reporter); Rahmiya “Rahmi” Hiraj (Aidyn’s friend); Bella Woods (editor and Aidyn’s boss); and other support characters.

The story is told from Clara and Aidyn’s POVs. Aidyn is restricted to current day, with Clara’s being present day as well as the past (1969-1983).

This begins in 2016 with Clara moving to Sacred Promise, which will be her final move due to her terminal cancer. She’s a pip right off – she wants the room from the brochure – a room with a view of the trees and not parking lot. She then tells one of the staff that she’s trouble. While not trouble, she is “something”.

Aidyn has been with the Kansas City Star for a year, and is frustrated with her She, and her friend Rahmi feel she’s getting scraps and not meals for stories. Aidyn has drafted an email she is waffling on, Rahmi sends it, which doesn’t do much for Aidyn’s cause.

In fact, it actually hurts her cause. As a result, Bella Woods gives Aidyn a low job – write Clara Kip’s obituary.

Clara was widowed young, had no children. In fact, she isn’t even close to God … yet.

It will be in 1971 that her extraordinary life begins. It is a life that covers her job as a nurse, as well as part of a rescue effort for a Laotian couple’s children – among others.

And, it is as a result of that life that Aidyn finds a bigger story at the urging of her boss. Even bigger than the death with pizazz that Clara is looking for.

Aidyn is soon torn between doing what she’s supposed to in writing the obituary and delivering a bigger story than what she first saw. Still, there is more to Clara’s life than just her death. As Aidyn thinks to chance it, she holds back. Even worse, Shayna has – from Aidyn’s research request – found the story as well and sees her own opportunity.

As Clara begins to slip away, Aidyn’s confidence forces her to take a chance and hope for the best, walking in the faith that Clara has lived by in this emotional, complex, and endearing story that will likely stick with some readers for a while.

The title gets its name from Clara asking Aidyn for wild ways to die as opposed to the death she is facing, along with Aidyn’s name for the article. This is Clara’s idea – for every three questions Aidyn asks, Aidyn is required to come up with an extraordinary way for Clara to die. Some were amusing, some were far-fetched, and while it could be morbid – it was one of the more entertaining aspects of the story, especially the “Harley” test-driver death. Trust me, that was – sad to say – hilarious!

Clara and Aidyn were the two strongest characters, and Aidyn’s growth throughout was inspiring. Shayna acted as a great “villain”; Bella was interesting but not enough for me to really have a feeling for her.

As far as Rahmi, I was a bit irritated by her. While Aidyn would’ve sent the email on her own; or not, which was smarter – Rahmi made the decision on her own. This actually hurt her friend in losing a story, and perhaps highlighted why Aidyn waffled. Towards the end, when Clara is in the final stages, Rahmi became a character I didn’t like by how she was reacted to the news and Aidyn’s “need” to be with the older woman.

The ending is one of those that would be expected if it were a Hallmark movie -sad, inspirational, and even a laugh or two.

I wouldn’t say this was an addictive, can’t put it down read. But, there were times I didn’t want to stop reading it; and I actually read it in four (4) hours. The short chapters and engaging story kept the story moving along and engaging. It’s safe to say that I absolutely adored this book, and I would love to read what Brunsvold has planned next.

This is exceptionally written and anyone who loves a good, heart-felt, endearing read is sure to want to dive into this.

Since it is distributed by Revell, which is more of a Christian and faith-themed publisher, there will be strong themes of faith in it. Faith is extremely important to Clara and is what she has relied on for the majority of her life, so it is an integral part of the story.
  medwards429 | Jul 25, 2022 |
This is the first book by Sara Brunsvold and it's a winner. I usually do not give 5 star reviews, I save those for the best and this is a 5 star winner.

The book is a Christian book but not preachy. It shows how an ordinary sinner, just like me, was saved and how she lived her life with gusto. It shows how an older Christian can make a huge impact on a young (not necessarily young in years) Christian's life for the better.

The story flows well, and the characters are well developed and believable. The storyline is unique and held my attention throughout. I was sorry to come to the end as I enjoyed spending time with the 2 main characters.

This book is well worth your time and it is not an effort to read. I highly recommend this book, you won't be disappointed. ( )
  grammy57 | Jul 23, 2022 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The main character of this novel, Clara Kip, is a remarkable woman who at 79 succumbed to metastatic cancer after a brief stay at the Sacred Promise Senior Care Hospice in Kansas City. In just over a week there, however, she changed the lives of all who encountered her, by her caring, her sense of humor, her strong faith, and the love that seemed to exude from every pore.

A parallel story concerns Aidyn Kelley, a young reporter at the “Kansas City Star” who is given the job of going to see Mrs. Kip to help her write her obituary since Mrs. Kip had no family. Aidyn resented what she thought was a throwaway assignment. But Aidyn’s editor, Bella Woods, told Aidyn she didn't want a formulaic obit: “ . . . sit with her, and listen, Kelley. Listen better than how you listen to me. . . . A good writer knows how to find the story. She can hear it where no one else does. That’s the essence of what we do.”

The book goes back in time between the current day, in 2016, and seminal periods in Mrs. Kip’s life, beginning in 1969, nine years after her young husband John’s death; they had been married less than a year. Mrs. Kip never remarried, but redirected her love toward others, with, as Aidyn discovered, quiet courage, and immeasurable compassion.

In particular, after a chance meeting with Mai Khab, a Laotian refugee whose children were endangered trapped back in Laos, Mrs. Kip dedicated her life to helping the Laotian refugees that the US Government had abandoned in spite of their aid in Vietnam. Although the US had promised protection to Laotians, when they withdrew from Laos, as Brunsvold writes, “the US effectively reneged and abandoned the people to face the consequences of their allegiance. Alone and unarmed.” [Readers may be reminded of similar situations with the US abandoning the Kurds in Syria, or in Afghanistan at the time of US withdrawal, when the many Afghani translators and guides and their families, once hoping for sanctuary in the US in exchange for their services, were desperate to get out. Some did, but many did not. It's a recurring pattern whether during Democrat or Republican administrations. And yet, oppressed people in other countries continue to take chances in the hope the US might make good their promises.]

Mrs. Kip’s faith was strong, and she believed, as she told Aidyn, “The grave is not my final home. I want to live as if I believe that. By God’s grace, I will live because I believed that.” But she also cautioned Aidyn: “Authentic love is the greatest joy there is, Miss Kelley, but it requires a thousand little deaths to self.”

Mrs. Kip asked Aidyn to write her “a death with pizzazz.” She said:

“At the end of my obit, I want you to write a new death for me. Something that wakes people up, gets them riled. Something riveting. Something memorable. Something . . . extraordinary!”

By the conclusion of the eight days Aidyn spent with Mrs. Kip before her life ended, Aidyn was indeed prepared to grant Mrs. Kip’s wishes, and without having to make something up. By watching and listening to Mrs. Kip, Aidyn found out just how extraordinary Mrs. Kip really was.

When Aidyn took her leave of Mrs. Kip for the last time, she said to her, “Thank you, Mrs. Kip. Thank you for helping me find a life that matters.”

For Mrs. Kip’s obituary, Aidyn wrote of her:

“She claimed her life was ‘exceedingly unimpressive,’ but in her time on earth, she went toe-to-toe with the most vicious killers, thieves, and liars this world has ever known. They go by the names of fear, grief, despair, hopelessness, and pride. She slayed away at their schemes, inch by hard inch winning territory for the kingdom of God. She fought especially for those who could not fight for themselves . . . ”

Evaluation: This book definitely falls into the category of “Christian fiction,” but the emphasis on faith serves as an explanation for Mrs. Kip’s life choices and how she adapted to whatever fate threw her way. The interwoven story about the Laotian refugees is an interesting one, and as the author notes in an afterword, was inspired by real people and events in Kansas City in the mid-1970s.

It is a story that will appeal to readers regardless of which faith they are. ( )
  nbmars | Jul 23, 2022 |
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One last chance ... for Max, Fang, and Dylan ... before it all ends. "Nevermore" is one last incredible, explosive adventure with an astonishing ending that no one could have seen coming.

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