Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mile 21 by Sarah Dunster (Book Review)

In association with Author Sarah Dunster, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Mile 21!

Book Review

Mile 21 by Sarah Dunster
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback - 336 pages / Kindle - 3581 KB 
ISBN: 1462112978
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Romance 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description: 

Abish Miller is a mess. But you might be too if you were a twenty-one-year-old widow with a dysfunctional family, an overpowering boss, and a torturous return to the singles’ scene. Training for the marathon she and her husband never got to run is about the only time she can forget about her problems. But life won’t leave her alone. It throws Bob Hartley, a recently divorced young father, into her living room and then her ward. And when her irritation turns into attraction, she’s sure that it must be some sort of cosmic joke, especially when it seems he loathes her! Feeling like she just keeps hitting the wall, Abish must learn to push past her fears or she’ll never achieve her personal best.

Defined by sharp wit and an authentic voice, Mile 21 shows the despair of giving up on hope—and the joy of choosing it again.

Book Excerpt:

“You have to be here. I can’t be on the premises without an owner or tenant present. Wouldn’t want to be accused of walking off with anything.” He looks around the kitchen. “Not that there’s anything here to tempt me.”

“You’re a jerk.”

Bob glances down at the photo again. “Will your husband be back soon?”

“He died a year ago. So, no.”

I gain immense satisfaction in seeing his cheeks darken a bit.

My Book Review:

Mile 21 is a poignant story that follows a young widow's journey of healing and learning to move forward with her life.

Twenty-one year old widow Abish is still grieving the loss of her husband a year after his death. She is having a hard time adjusting to life without her husband, she is unable to let go of the past and move forward with her life. Abish's life is on a downward spiral when she is evicted from her apartment and has to move into the student housing at BYU-Idaho, almost loses her job, and is suddenly thrown back into the "singles" scene. Abish has lost her hope and faith, the only thing that keeps her sane is running, which becomes a therapeutic way of dealing with the trials and tribulations in her life. Her husband had been in training for a marathon before his death, so she decides to follow his lead and train for the marathon. Can training for the marathon help Abish overcome the difficult obstacles in her life, provide a healing source, and help her move forward with her life?

Author Sarah Dunster weaves an emotional tale of heartbreak and redemption that simply tugs at your heartstrings. You can't help but feel compassion for Abish and the traumatic loss that she endured at her young age. I can relate to and understand her hard, abrasive and sarcastic personality, it was a mask to hide the pain and grief that she was living with. As she struggles with her faith and how to pick up the pieces of her life, it makes a reader wonder if they would be able to go on with life if they were in Abish's shoes. As Abish's story unfolds, you can't help but cheer her on as her journey to healing and rebuilding her life is buoyed with a renewal of hope and faith as she trains for the marathon. I enjoyed watching Abish grow and change throughout her journey, and while there is a subtle romance in the story, the main focus is clearly on Abish's journey to healing.

The author evokes a mixture of emotions in Mile 21 that is simply breathtaking. Her thoughtful message to her readers comes shining through in Abish's story: remain strong, have hope, and keep your faith as you heal and learn to come to terms with changes in your life.


Mile 21 - Book Trailer

About The Author

Sarah Dunster is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. Her poems have appeared in Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, Sunstone Magazine, and Segullah Magazine. She is a contributor to LDS arts blog A Motley Vision. Her first novel, Lightning Tree, was released in April of 2012. Her fiction has been described as fresh, character-driven, and outside the box of LDS literature. Sarah Dunster enjoys writing almost as much as she enjoys spending time with her seven children, age eleven and younger.


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