Room to Breathe is a story of two southern women at very different stages in their lives who are experiencing the same sense of “starting over.” Daphne Witt is weeks from turning forty, in a career that she never expected, and ready to start dating after a divorce. Her daughter Ellery is essentially untested in the world. Young, beautiful, accustomed to everything going her way, Ellery finds herself with a less than dazzling job, a distracted fiancé and, for the first time ever, doubts about who she is and where she’s going. When the novel begins, we find Daphne dealing with an awakened libido she thought long dead, and Ellery struggling to accept working for her mother and living with a fiancé who has little time for her. Both women redirect their dissatisfaction toward secret desires – Daphne for a much younger contractor, and Ellery for a secret email pal who thinks she’s her mother. Like the vines of a vineyard, things get tangled quickly by decisions that not only threaten the fragile mother-daughter relationship, but each woman’s future.
One thing I really like about Daphne is her self-awareness. She’s been content to stand in the wings while everyone else in her life commandeered the spotlight, but now she’s ready to take her turn on the stage. She’s bumbled into a dream she never knew existed as a children’s author, and she’s really good at what she does and becomes an overnight success. But her family, even her ex-husband, can’t seem to let go of the woman she once was. They want the old Daphne, the one who put everyone else before herself. I intentionally gave Daphne a secret crush on a younger man and had her pay attention to her sexuality. Women of a certain age are often set aside, as if their “ sexiness” has a shelf life. I wanted Daphne awakened to the fact that as a woman entering her forties, she still needed intimacy and affection. I wanted her to struggle with the guilt, be tempted, and have a little fun with someone…young enough to date her daughter.
Ellery is the girl I once was. I remember being invincible, tossing my curls over my shoulder as a flounced around in my cheerleading skirt. The world was about me and what I wanted, what I thought I deserved. I wasn’t a bad person, but I do remember my brother once bringing my requested shoes on a throw pillow, bowing, and saying “your slippers, my lady.” I led a charmed life…until life punched me in the face. It has a tendency to do that in your mid-twenties when you find out (gasp!) the world doesn’t revolve around you. So I wanted to take a princess, toss her in the mud, and see what happened. Ellery isn’t always likable, but she’s authentic. And by the end of the book, she sees her mother as a person and not just her mother. Both Ellery and Daphne have a big growth arc in this book.
Room to Breathe has secrets, twists, bad decisions, surprises, and angst, yet it also has humor, heat, and heart tugs. I love the guys in the book – Clay (the hot contractor), Gage (Ellery’s surprise crush) and Evan (the vineyard owner) and I really like the interactions between Ellery and Daphne. I think readers will recognize themselves most in Daphne, but they’ll also remember how hard it is standing on one’s own two feet as Ellery must do. I’m proud of this book about letting go and taking the lemons that life hands you, tossing them, and pouring a glass of wine. Cheers to all the women who aren’t afraid to start over and create their own new paths!
About Liz Talley:
A finalist for both the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart and RITA Awards, Liz Talley has found a home writing heartwarming contemporary romance. Her stories are set in the South, where the tea is sweet, the summers are hot, and the porches are welcoming. She lives in North Louisiana with her childhood sweetheart, two handsome children, three dogs, and a naughty kitty.
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Title: Room To Breathe
Author: Liz Talley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2019
For a good part of Daphne Witt’s life, she was a supportive wife and dutiful mother. Now that she’s divorced and her daughter, Ellery, is all grown up, Daphne’s celebrating the best part of her life, a successful career, and a flirtation with an attentive hunk fifteen years her junior . . . who happens to be her daughter’s ex-boyfriend.
Ellery is starting over, too. She’s fresh out of college. Her job prospects are dim. And to support her fiancé in med school, she’s returned home as her mother’s new assistant. Ellery never expected her own life plan to take such a detour. With no outlet for her frustration, she lets an online flirtation go a little too far, especially considering her pen pal thinks he’s corresponding with her mother.
As love lives tangle, secrets spill, and indiscretions are betrayed, mother and daughter will have a lot to learn—not only about the mistakes they’ve made but also about the men in their lives and the women they are each hoping to become.