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A Thousand Sleepless Nights by Michael King is a cancer novel with a strong family theme.
The novel begins with Nena as a young woman in love with one of her father’s ranch hands, Jimmy. Jimmy is a new hire. On the reccomendation of a friend, Cricket hired Jimmy at a time when Jimmy’s violent father caused Jimmy to be homeless. Nena is engaged to a wealthy neighbor, Ted McGovern. Her father has arranged the marriage to combine two successful ranches as they raise thoroughbreds. Nena’s father has gone into debt with a new purchase of a horse, and the marriage would bring in more money. Of course, Nena tosses away wealth for the love of a mere ranch hand. Fast forward several years.
Nena is diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer. Her determination to hold on to the ranch after her father’s death has alienated her and Jimmy’s three children. Interestingly enough, like the song, Cat’s in the Cradle, her children have scattered and their wounds influence their lives. Nena’s focus on work first over family was a lesson her children learned well.
Ken has chosen to copy his mother’s example by putting his desire for partnership at a big law firm over the needs of his family. Roberta has chosen to chase after a lover rather than marriage, holding on to the faint promise of a possible ring. Barb is diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and keeps it from her extended family. Of all the children, Barb, the eldest, remembers when her mother was loving. Barb has wounds, but she applies the lessons over time to show healing and transformation. While cancer becomes the ultimate enemy, Jimmy recalls throughout the novel how Nena and him met and the dangers Ted McGovern brought to them and the ranch.
What makes A Thousand Sleepless Nights different is the realistic portrayal of the people enduring cancer. The emotions came through powerfully. The emotional see-saw of what a cancer patient goes through can only be written by a former cancer patient. Michael King uses his experience to add depth to this novel, and while the ending is good, it’s neither trite nor cheesy.
I gave this novel five stars.
*Book given by the author to review.
From Michael King’s site:
***Charisma House Book Group and Michael King (a colon cancer survivor) are donating a portion of the proceeds of this book to the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) and their vision for a world free of colon cancer. The CCA is the nation’s leading colon cancer advocacy organization and is a community that provides hope and support to patients and their families while saving lives through screening, access, awareness, advocacy and research.
Read Michael’s story on the CCA website . . .
And learn more about the CCA by visiting www.ccalliance.org or calling their toll-free helpline at 1-877-322-4020.