This past May I interviewed author Hemmie Martin, Contemporary Woman’s fiction writer, and author of the book, The Divine Pumpkin. A couple of week later, I happily received a copy of the book, so I am very pleased to offer my review today:
You can find our interview here.
The Divine Pumpkin
Author: Hemmie Martin
Winter Goose Publishing
Have you ever picked up a book, and part way through you think to yourself: “Wow, this resembles my life?” This is one of them. As an avid reader, I am in constant search for fiction which resonates with me, and The Divine Pumpkin surely found it’s way to my heart. Not only did I feel great love for Paloma, every single character brought up emotions in me ranging from compassion, sadness and even revolt! (ok I was angry at a couple!) This book truly hit home, and I believe many of you will relate.
If you are looking for Part II of It’s a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, this isn’t it, as no Divine pumpkin raises from the dead. As you read, you will discover the subtle meaning of this book’s title.
This novel is about Paloma Parker, Paloma, a Forensic Nurse, who finds herself secretly comparing her life to one of her “newest patients Ella, an incarcerated, yet endearing juvenile. Not only does the book explore the particular relationship these two share, it speaks about family, most importantly dysfunctional families and those notorious “skeleton’s in the closet” and family secrets, which if not divulged early enough, can haunt a child into adulthood.
The relationship between Paloma and Ella, is one I will always remember. The parallels of their lives, brings the reader to look forward to their talks, as both of them grow simultaneously. I love the way they both help each other harmoniously (which I think surprises Paloma on her end), thus leading them to actually look at themselves, as if they were a reflection of each other.
Not only do the main characters mirror each other, but their lives and family as well. Hemmie writes her story in a way which allows you to see two different generations repeat certain patterns which, in turn, permits the reader to evaluate cycles in their own family lives. The days of family dysfunction is not a rarity in this world, and I love the way Hemmie Martin brings out these issues without making me feel like I am watching an episode of Jerry Springer who is notorious for making some families (in my opinion) look bad.
Oh Night in Shining Armor come to me!
Whether Paloma seems to be desperately seeking love or feeling the pressure from family to do so, Hemmie carries you through a woman’s search not only for true love, but for the love of herself. Right away I felt attracted to the relationships she tries to establish. Yet, I feel Paloma would prefer to do things her way, without the outside pressure and constant self-judgement.
Lust r bust, bad vs good!
The lust for the “bad boy”, the lack of respect for herself in the name of sex, continuing an unhealthy relationship despite the obvious red flags, thus closing her eyes due to a need to be loved. You can sense, as you read, Paloma’s tremendous pangs of guilt over having other people’s needs come before her own. Hemmie’s story telling really brings you right into Paloma’s life and turmoil. You can sense Paloma’s gut wrenching anxiety about doing the “right thing” vs listening to her own needs. A common trait among women.
Hemmie’s metaphorical descriptions throughout the entire book are absolutely brilliant! I found myself smiling, thus the narration, enveloped me like a baby snuggling in the arms of it’s mother. She (Hemmie) really brings you to the feeling and into the moment, leading the reader into the exact instant a particular event is taking place. This is quite appealing, as I felt Hemmie really wanting her reader to bridge each paragraph and sentence to keep you mindfully present.
The Divine Pumpkin allowed me to reflect, relate, and feel as if I was part of the story. I love the way Hemmie also explored, mental illness, a subject which is very close to my heart. How someone perceives themselves, self-worth, guilt and the constant feeling of judgement from others, but most importantly the judgement of oneself.
If you want a book which speaks to you as you kick back on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or just sitting in your hammock on a sunny Saturday, The Divine Pumpkin will surely bring you home, and leave you feeling pretty good inside.
Hemmie Martin spent most of her professional life as a Community Nurse for people with learning disabilities, a Family Planning Nurse, and a Forensic Nurse working with young offenders. She spent six years living in the south of France, and currently lives in Essex with her husband, two teenage daughters, one house rabbit, and two guinea pigs.
Hemmie is currently writing her second novel.
I want to thank Hemmie Martin for giving away her book in last weeks Butterfly Launch giveaways (you can watch the video of the drawing on the right hand side of this website. I am pleased to announce the winner of the book is Lori Paquette from NC! Congratulations Lori.