He Belongs to Me
by Theresa Rizzo
He Belongs to Me is a love story . . . a tale of betrayal and deception and of a young mother's determination to recover what belongs to her.
Forced to leave her baby and tricked into relinquishing her parental rights, four years later Catherine Boyd is back and she'll do anything to regain custody of her son--even reconcile with the husband falsely accused of killing their son's twin.
All in the name of love for a little boy, generations of pain and tragedy are exposed in a courtroom drama.
He Belongs to Me by Theresa Rizzo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow.... This book was amazing. It was well written, the characters were well developed, and the plot line was solid. Technically speaking it was very enjoyable to read. The story however, was very heartbreaking, and it dealt with some heavy, heavy issues.
Catherine is a recent Stanford graduate. She has just finished up her four year Art Degree, and is busily putting the finishing touches on the room she is preparing for her four year old son Drew. He is finally going to be coming to live with her permanently, after living with her parents for the last four years while she finished school. However, when her parents show up with Drew, they inform her that they don't think that it's in his best interest to live with her, and that he will be remaining with them. When Catherine argues with them, they reveal that the temporary custody agreement she thought she signed when she left for school, was in fact a permanent custody agreement turning over her son to them as his legal guardians. When Catherine consults a lawyer, he tells her that her only chance at getting Drew back is to reconcile with her estranged husband, Thomas, and then present a united front against her parents. The only problem is, Catherine has not spoken to Thomas in the four years since he was falsely accused of killing Drew's twin brother, Bobby. When Thomas was released from jail, Catherine pushed him away and he left to give her space. Since then, they have not had any communication.
I really admired Catherine. She showed a lot of backbone and determination, especially when it came to getting Drew back. She loved her son wholeheartedly, and was fierce in her desires to have him back. She never wanted to give him up. At no time in her life did she not want him - she just thought she was doing what was best for him while she took the time to get her head on straight after Bobby's death, and to pursue her degree that would allow her to provide a life for them both.
Thomas just broke my heart. I can not imagine what he must have went through when he was falsely accused of killing his own son, and then to be cruelly sent away by Catherine when he needed her the most. Then she just shows back up on his doorstep asking for his help to get Drew back by pretending to be a family again. Talk about going through an emotional wringer. I totally empathize with his anguish, and anger and feelings of betrayal. I really wanted him and Catherine to find a way to work through their past and find a way to be together, but I could never really see a way to make that happen. There was just too much bad between the two of them.
At the first of the story I truly despised Catherine's parents. They came across as so patronizing and condescending towards Catherine and everything she had accomplished towards getting Drew back. However, towards the last half of the book when Catherine takes her parents to court to sue for custody of Drew, skeletons start to come out of the closet, and surprising secrets are revealed. While I can never agree with some of the decisions that were made by several people, I can maybe see how they were acting with what they thought were their best intentions.
Overall, I really liked this book. It was heartbreaking and sad, but also portrayed a very touching story about a mom and her love for her son, and the lengths that she would go to to have him back in her life. I totally recommend this book to anyone looking for a substantial read that you can really immerse yourself into. It will make you cry, and at times make you laugh with a little bit of humor. You won't regret giving it a try!
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**Guest Post by author Theresa Rizzo**
What’s in a Nickname?
A nickname is a familiar name given to a person as a supposedly appropriate replacement for their given birth name, or a name similar in origin and pronunciation to the proper name. It can also be a truncated version of a person’s name. Nicknames can be a form of endearment, affection, or ridicule and contempt—but in my experience it’s more the former than the later.
Some nicknames—like preppy nicknames-- have absolutely no resemblance to any name I’m familiar with. Like I went to school with a Biff and there was a Muffy in the year ahead of me. I always found that a bit odd and appealing. Of course growing up I always wanted to be a Lisa or Julie because there were lots of those. I really wanted to belong and my name didn’t belong. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I appreciated having a unique name. Then I signed my tests and papers just using my given name because I was the only Theresa in my grade.
My mom wasn’t a fan of nicknames, so as a child, I was always Theresa. Actually, not true . . . one of my parent’s friends gave me a goofy nickname and that’s a secret to reveal another time. But I’m a fan of nicknames and my kids all have them.
In He Belongs to Me, my hero’s mother is a selfish, egocentric woman who was always more worried about her social standing than being a good mother. So I looked for a pretentious preppy nickname for her. She became Mimi.
Before I get a bunch of hate mail, I’m sure there are some perfectly delightful Mimis out there, so I apologize in advance if your Aunt Mimi is a gem. This Mimi is a . . . not a gem. So there you have it. Do you have a fun nickname? Know someone with a great or strange nickname. Hmmm I never did find out the reason behind a nickname like Biff. Anybody know?
Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.
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