3 out of 4 stars
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This Nearly Was Mine by Nancy Farkas begins with a story of Annie's daughter Marielle traveling to the south of Spain, looking for a man named Francisco. The man whom her mother had an affair with back in 1980 when she too was young.
Annie decides to take a vacation to her parent's vacation apartment in Costa Del Sol, Spain. She has various friends visit her while she is there taking stock of her life, and trying to decipher her feelings about her fiance' Bill. Moreover, while in Spain, Annie meets Francisco. Adamant she will not fall in love with him, she remains stubborn at first but ultimately falls for this charming, genuine, handsome man with a very distinct and sexy chin and has a very steamy love affair. She tells herself she must only be in love with Spain itself, rather than in love with Francisco.
Ultimately, Annie goes back to the US where she realizes fiance' Bill is a Philanderer and eventually breaks it off with him, but quickly jumps into a relationship with Matthew. She ultimately marries Matthew, who is a world-class workaholic and they eventually have three children.
At various times throughout the story Annie, her kids and sometimes even her husband travel to Europe and meet up with Francisco. Matthew turned out not to be the warm, adoring husband that Annie had hoped, and she continually compares her life with what life with Francisco might have been. Every time she meets up with Francisco either in person or via technology, it ignites the powerful feelings she doesn't want to admit she has. Continually Faced with the moral dilemma of, is their relationship right, Annie questions her love for Francisco.
This novel is a story about romantic struggles and oddly unique relationships. There are moral and religious questions that arise in such a fashion that I have to wonder if they may be questions the author is struggling with herself.
It is a work of fiction that reads like a memoir. Written, so you feel you are sitting next to Annie, maybe having a cup of coffee, as she is describing to you this incredible tale. The characters of Annie and Francisco are so well defined and portrayed that you might have the feeling you know them. However, the other characters are left lacking and don't seem to contribute much to propel the story forward than the fact they are Annie's family. By including the family and other events, you are able then to judge the passing of time. The author often compares the lack of technology in the 1980's with today's abundance in regards to the ability to communicate around the globe.
Watch out; you may find yourself reminiscing on your own past life and possibly those misguided romances you may have experienced yourself. It brings up what may be many a woman's fantasies of past loves and the questions of, "what would my life be like if only?"
I found a few errors in grammar, but they did not affect the reading of the story. At times I did find the author a bit tedious in her portrayal of Annie's thoughts regarding her relationship with Francisco and the book dragged somewhat because of that. Therefore, I give it a rating of 3 out of 4 stars.
I would recommend this story to readers who enjoy memoirs, autobiographies or other based on real-life fiction. Being written from a woman's perspective makes the book more appropriate for female readers, but I wouldn't say men would not enjoy it too. I would stress however for readers over the age of 16, as the writer herself warns the reader of the explicit sexual exploits within the book.
This Nearly Was Mine: A Novel
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