I was thrilled to learn that Yona McDonough is not only the author of the new book, Two of a Kind, but also the author of my daughters’ favorite book, The Doll Shop Downstairs. Sophie reviewed it here in 2011. Yona accomplished what two parents could not- she got my daughter to love a book!
I very much enjoyed her new book, Two of a Kind. From the publisher, ” Ten years after losing her husband, Christina Connelly has worked through the pain, focusing on raising her teenage daughter and managing her small decorating business. But her romantic life has never recovered. Still, it’s irksome to be set up with arrogant, if handsome, doctor Andy Stern at her friend’s wedding. If he wasn’t also a potential client, needing his Upper East Side apartment redesigned, she would write him off.
But if reconciling with their pasts is difficult, blending their lives and children to create a new family is nearly impossible. They’ve been given a second chance…but can they overcome all the obstacles in the way of happily ever after?”
What I like about this book is that the relationship between Christina and Andy is not perfect. It is flawed but real- just like life. This makes it a believable read!
Now for a treat, here is Yona McNonough in her own words:
The Thrill of the Hunt
I’m a collector. There, I’ve come out and said it. Announced it. Owned it if you will. We collectors are a tribe apart, and we have a secret little hole in our hearts that we think only collecting will fill. It’s futile of course. Objects, no matter how precious, can’t fill that emptiness. Only feelings can, and the true collector is motivated as much by how a particular object makes her feel as by the thing itself. I’ll give you an example. As a girl, I passionately loved dolls though I never felt I had enough doll or, more to the point, the ones I wanted most. I began collecting vintage and antique dolls when I was in my late thirties, and was able to buy myself the kinds of dolls I did not have as a child. When I would contemplate a new purchase, I would try to summon up the feeling that this particular doll would have engendered in me as a girl. If the doll was the sort of thing that I would have adored back then, I bought it. But I was never truly able to recapture the pure feeling, only its faint facsimile. Still, even that was something, and kept me going for a long time.
I don’t actively collect dolls any more, mostly because I have run out of room and don’t want my collections to reside in boxes in the basement, never to be seen and enjoyed. But I collect other things: vintage compacts and crystal perfume bottles, celluloid dresser sets, embroidered linens; vintage hankies, Bakelite jewelry, Wedgewood, and Blue Willow dishes are only a few of items that catch and hold my fancy.
And though I enjoy scouting for these things in antique stores and flea markets, my real love are yard and tag sales, as well as thrift shops—places where the leftovers and castoffs have not been gussied up, styled or marketed in any way, but left in their natural state. I love to find my treasures fresh from the attic or basement; cobwebs and the smell of mildew get my heart racing. It’s the thrill of the hunt that spurs me on, the idea that I might recognize a treasure (and this is not solely defined by monetary value) that someone else—almost everyone else, actually—would overlook. I believe in the poetry and resonance of objects, the way we invest them with meaning and importance.
Maybe I am a collector because I love the hunt so much, and the collection is just the hunt’s natural consequence.
In my new novel, TWO OF A KIND, the protagonist Christina Connelly is an interior decorator who owns and operates her own small business. She too appreciates the thrill of the hunt and I had fun writing a long scene at an estate sale she goes to, along with many other details about her predilections and her taste. I thought I was just using all this as back-story, to flesh out the character and make her more real, more alive and more believable. But guess what? I was wrong. It turns out objects really can have an almost mystical significance and Christina learns that late in the novel. The talisman object turns out to be a single silver candlestick, purchased in a lot, and because it is missing its mate, not worth a great deal. Except to one person—and it’s a person who turns out to matter to Christina more than she ever could have ever imagined. I don’t want to say more because I hope you will read her story and find out the who, what and why for yourself. But I loved being surprised by the unforeseen direction my own long-held habits led me in. Along with my character, I learned that objects and their pursuit were not just part of the background; they assumed their own importance, center stage. Just look at them shine.
Penguin Group provided a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
What are you reading and where are you going?