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My name is Beth Rutledge. Today is my birthday. I am fifty-one years old. My mother will tell you I have been having a midlife crisis. My best friend will tell you I am courageous. My husband will tell you that, on my last birthday and for just a little while, I lost my mind.
I will tell you this: Sometimes you have to lose something in order to reclaim it. Sometimes you have to trust the love that holds the seams of your life together and stretch it to a new limit. Sometimes you just have to lose your mind… and follow your heart.
My name is Beth Rutledge. Today is my birthday. I am fifty-one years old. I have a thriving interior decorating business, a son in college, a daughter who just made me a grandmother and a husband whom I love very much. My mother will tell you that I have been having a midlife crisis. My best friend will tell you that I am courageous. My husband will tell you that, on my last birthday and for just a little while, I lost my mind.
I will tell you this: Sometimes you have to lose something in order to reclaim it. Sometimes you have to trust the love that holds the seams of your life together and stretch it to a new limit. Sometimes you just have to lose your mind...” and follow your heart.
Last year, on the morning of June 3, I got up at six-fifteen, as usual. I had mixed feelings about turning fifty--on one hand, it sounded so old and, on the other, it marked a milestone and sounded so free. I heard the shower and knew that my husband, David, was back from his run. He gets up, quietly, every morning at five-thirty and goes out for a run, returning at exactly five past six. He then turns on the coffeemaker and goes into the shower. I knew the time without even looking at the clock. He is that consistent and predictable. It was something I had loved about David and it made me feel safe and secure--usually. On this day, for some unknown reason, it was irritating the hell out of me.
I heard the water turn off and, within minutes, David emerged from the shower wrapped in his terry bathrobe, his matching slippers flopping across the floor.
He walked over to the bed where I had managed to raise myself into a sitting position, kissed my cheek--David hates kisses before we both have a chance to brush and rinse--and patted my back. “Happy birthday, hon. Why don’t you stay put and I’ll get your coffee?”
I leaned back against the pillows and looked out the window. It was beginning to rain. It figures, I take the day off and it rains. David came back into the bedroom carrying a tray bearing my favorite coffee mug, a cheese Danish and a single rose.
He placed the tray across my lap, asking, “So, what are you going to do today, since you took the day off? It looks like anything outdoors is out of the question.”
He then proceeded to get dressed, methodically pulling on his underwear, followed by his tee shirt, socks, dress shirt, pants, shoes, tie, and lastly, his suit coat. In twenty-six years of marriage, I had never seen him deviate from this routine.
“I don’t know. I was thinking of taking a drive to the mountains and going for a hike, but I guess not. Maybe I’ll see if there’s a good movie playing somewhere. You could take the day off and come play with me,” I said teasingly.
David smiled as he straightened his tie. “You know I can’t do that, but I promise I’ll be home by six and take you out for your birthday dinner--anywhere you want to go.”
I thought for a moment and then said offhandedly, “Okay, how about Paris?”
He laughed. “How about the new French restaurant downtown?”
I sighed, but not loudly enough so he could hear. “I’ll think about it. Thanks for the coffee and the rose. That was very thoughtful.”
I was disappointed he hadn’t planned something special for this--my fiftieth birthday. Maybe he did, and it’s a surprise? Yes, I was sure of it. He had planned a surprise party and everyone would be at the restaurant when we arrived, or he would find some excuse to turn around and come back to the house and all of my friends would be here to jump out and yell “Happy Birthday!”
He stood before the mirror and, satisfied he was properly put together, strode back to the bed, kissed my other cheek and said, “Have a nice day. See you tonight.”
Linda Rettstatt grew up in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. She has worked as a social worker and therapist for twenty-five years and is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, Pennsylvania. A nature photographer and musician, Linda has worked in community theatre and once wrote play reviews for the newspaper in her hometown of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Her writing has garnered recognition from Writer’s Digest and Pennwriters, Inc. Linda’s first novel, And The Truth Will Set You Free, finaled in the 2008 EPPIE Awards. She currently resides in Memphis, TN. The Year I Lost My Mind is her third novel.
Pieces: Ms. Rettstatt creates a fast-paced mystery as Claire works to find the truth about her past. The hero is both strong and gentle, the kind of man you want in your life even if you are afraid to draw him into your nightmare. Rarely does a mystery have this depth of feeling. Pieces is an invitation to compassion and understanding. This book will enrich you as well as entertain you. Pieces by Linda Rettstatt found its way to my keeper shelf. This book rates a five on the lipstick scale --A. Dee Carey, The Fox Lady, www.foxladycarey.com
Pieces: Have you ever wondered, ‘Who am I… really?’ Claire Hutchings asks herself this question when a recurring nightmare gives her the feeling she must have been adopted. The more she tries to explain the dream, the more she discovers the puzzle pieces don’t add up. Something is missing. This is a real page turner. The suspense is so grippng, I promise you, you’ll not be able to set this book down. This superbly complex suspense will keep you turning pages as Claire puts the pieces of the puzzle together to discover her true identity. -- JoEllen Conger
Pieces by Linda Rettstatt is absolutely riveting--a real page turner. I was hooked from page one, and couldn’t put it down. The book begins with Claire Hutchings awakening from a recurring nightmare, and the race is on to get to the bottom of what it means. She connects with a wonderful, insightful counselor, Genevieve Headlee, who becomes her guide and mentor. In Pieces, the reader joins Claire as she travels along a journey of self discovery that spans from South Africa to Pennsylvania. You will laugh with Claire, cry with her, and be deeply moved by this beautiful story. You will also meet a cast of characters who will warm your heart as you cheer Claire on to find out the truth. Her shocking discovery which uncovers years of lies, the pain it causes and its resolution will have you reaching for the Kleenex box. Linda Rettstatt is a master at creating a beautiful, warm inspirational story filled with rich well-developed characters, intricate, exciting plot lines, and romance that will leave you sighing with happiness, along with a dash of humor that will have you laughing out loud. Don’t miss out on reading this book--your heart will never be the same. -- Suzanne M. Hurley, www.suzannemhurley.com
Pieces: When Claire Vanderfelt's sleep is disrupted by repeated nightmares, she seeks help from therapist, Genevieve Headlee. As Claire probes her past, the nightmare becomes a reality. Nothing is as it seems. Slowly, but surely, the missing pieces are put together. As the story unfolds, the reader is taken on a remarkable journey which explores the psychological affect of trauma and misplaced love. The characters are well-drawn. This intriguing story will hold interest right to the end. Pieces is a very readable novel which I am sure will keep readers awake till late into the night. --Olivia Winter, http://www.geocities.com/olivia_winter
Pieces: Linda Rettstatt’s heroines personify strength, love, humor, and hope. In her novel, Pieces, Claire Vanderfelt displays each of these traits as she searches for the pieces to the puzzle that has shaped her life. Because of this author’s skillfully crafted story, the reader will experience Claire’s heartache and longing, her joy and her triumph. -- Carol McPhee, http://www.geocities.com/carolmcphee2003
Pieces: Ms. Rettstatt has crafted a wonderful, poignant tale in Pieces. I felt Claire’s emotions as she delved into the past. Each chapter is filled with suspense and well-kept secrets as Claire uncovers bits of the mystery of who she is, both literally and figuratively. Pieces engages the reader with suspenseful narration and graphic storytelling. This is an amazing, beautifully written novel. Don’t miss it. -- Mallary Mitchell, www.mallarymitchell.us
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 222
Paper Weight (lb): 9.5
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