Disrupted lives by Brenda Youngerman

Disrupt: Verb (used with an object):

To cause disorder or turmoil in

To destroy, usually temporarily

To break apart

About the Book:

A name does not make a person, a person makes a name.

Such is the theme of Disrupted Lives, the story of how one adopted child touches and intersects with many lives, but ends up destroying one family name, while building another family’s legacy.

Darren and Amelia Kane were high school sweethearts torn apart by war. They reunite and discover that they both must put their nightmares behind them to build a life together. Betrayed by her parents, Amelia was earlier forced to give up their child.

Fiona Porter and Sterling Lake are thrown together as part of a business proposition. They end up surprising both their families by enriching the Lake empire and family name. The Lakes become synonymous with society, power and money, and their children must carry that torch forward at all cost. When an adopted grandchild is brought into the family, he questions the definition of “family.”

From 1920 to present-day Georgia, this saga of family secrets and old Southern prejudices are explored in the explosive novel Disrupted Lives.

About the Author:

Brenda Youngerman (1960 – ) Was raised in Southern California and has been writing since she was a child. Her first novel, Private Scars, was published in 2006 and takes an insider’s view of domestic abuse and allows the reader a vantage point on how a victim is isolated and alienated from everything they know and love. Private Scars won both the editors choice and publishers choice awards. Since the release of Private Scars Youngerman has released a novel a year bringing up what she calls, “Fiction With a Purpose,” books that take on social issues and very real world problems. She hopes that a reader puts down one of her books and asks the question, “Was that real?”

If one person is helped by reading a Youngerman novel and realizes that they are not alone in their predicament, she has achieved success in her eyes.

Brenda Youngerman lives in Southern California and is writing her next novel, Skewered Halo. “I write what I call ‘Fiction With a Purpose,’ something that I hope takes the reader on a ride so when they put the book down they say, “Was that real?” I also want the messages in the book to stay with them.”

Book Quotes:

“…prepared to leave, her mama whispered in Fiona’s ear, “Remember this one simple rule. You must make your husband feel important in the bedroom. Otherwise, he’ll go look elsewhere for his entertainment. And you must bear an heir to cement your future.”

Sterling, on the other hand, was getting very different advice. “Don’t screw this up, son. This is your last chance to do something right.”

“Dale, you don’t have any choice anymore,” Fiona interrupted him. “You’ve slept with almost every girl in town.” His jaw dropped when she said that. “What? You didn’t think I knew that? Sweetheart, Mama does know everything!” (Chippendale Hartford Lake wed Catherine Liza Cook in front of five hundred guests…)

Ernest Porter Lake graduated high school in June 1951. He did not excel at either academia or sports. He did not have the constitution for either, complaining seemed to be his favorite subject.

“Hartford’s last act on this earth had been to take his hunting rifle and blow a hole in his head, which not only necessitated the books, panels and desk in the den to be cleaned, it also required an expensive rug to be replaced. Lorraine was furious that he had done such a thoughtless act.
“How could that man be so selfish?” Lorraine kept repeating. “He left me here; he left a mess behind; and all because of a little money?”

“Mama, I’m going to Yale and that’s that!” Chad said…. Fiona stared at him, not blinking one time. “Chad, that’s a Yankee school! We are Southerners!” “Mama, the war between the States ended almost a hundred years ago. I’ve been accepted with a full scholarship to Yale, and I’m not turnin’ it down because you think we’re still at war.”

“When all is said and done and the day ends, a rich man, and a poor man both put their heads down to sleep, and both of them put their pants on one leg at a time. The real question as to worth is who can look himself in the mirror and really like what he sees?”

 My Review:

            This was a great book. It was an exemplary example of how Southern manners and bigotry can tear a family apart. Southern families are one part complex, two parts deep-rooted in history, and 20 parts full of unattainable expectations. Breeding and pedigrees a must, and Heaven help you if you make a mistake.

Disrupted Lives showcases Southern life to a sweet tea, and makes a wonderful counterpart to The Help. While The Help depicted how life played out for the Southern help, Disrupted Lives depicted how life played out for the Southern belle.

Life seems to have come to a standstill even though the Civil War was over ages ago. To Southerners, a Yankee is a Yankee is a Yankee. And, never think that Mama doesn’t know all that is going on in her children’s lives. Fiona was that type of mother. She knew that one son was a playboy and he needed to be reined in, and could be with the “proper” girl. And, many a merger was conducted by parents arranging marriages between their children. While she loved her children and grandchildren dearly, she hated her adopted grandson just as fiercely.

The book was steeped in intrigue and the story was truly amazing. The characters were well developed and while containing serious subject matter, there was humor. You always knew who you were dealing with and rooting for. This book contained the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I did find that while the story wrapped up with a surprise ending that I enjoyed, it ended on a quick note.

If you love reading about the South, you will definitely love this book. I definitely recommend reading this book. You’ll enjoy it.

To quote Brenda Youngerman, “I write fiction with a purpose.” Her book definitely did that and each time I think about Disrupted Lives, I remember something new. I cannot wait to read another of her books.

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.