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Reinventing Rita by Nancy Christie is a Celebrate Mothers Event pick #womensfiction #mothersday
Title: Reinventing Rita
Author: Nancy Christie
Genre: Women’s fiction/Contemporary
Is fifty too old to start over and reinvent yourself? That's what Rita Reynolds has to decide after a series of unwelcome occurrences arrive in time for her fiftieth birthday. Suffering from a bad case of empty-nest syndrome combined with the possible loss of her part-time job, Rita is also facing the unwelcome realization that, since her divorce, she's been coasting on the highway of life. Now, it’s time to hit the gas and start moving ahead, if she can overcome her fear that it might be too late for a fresh start.
Reinventing Rita by Nancy Christie
For the next two weeks, my emotions alternated between two diametrically opposed points. Of course, I was excited at the thought of seeing my son again. But now there was an underlying dread that somehow the visit would result in a greater distance between us, thanks to not only Angie’s presence but also his upcoming overseas trip that he probably knew I didn’t approve of.
“But why shouldn’t he go?” asked my mother, when she called me Thursday night to verify our plans to meet at Buster’s Buffet the next day.
It was our regular routine since she loved those early-bird senior specials. But the last few weeks she had begged off, giving me excuses like she was watching her weight, or the group was planning some all-day trip—although where they were going was never clear. This time, she had even called me to confirm, which I found slightly suspicious.
“I think it would be a good experience for Zack—a chance to see the world before he settles down. You ought to encourage him, Rita, instead of trying to keep him tied to your apron strings.” Her voice softened a bit as she continued. “You know what I think?” She didn’t pause for an answer. “I think you aren’t ready to see your son as a grown man. But you know, Rita, children do grow up. And even grownups change. You must learn to let go, let people move on.”
Something in her voice triggered a sense of wariness. And when I arrived at Buster’s the next day, my apprehension hit the high level. This was my mother? This woman with the short auburn curls, carrying what was, if not a designer handbag, at least a damned good knock-off? I hadn’t seen her in what—several weeks?—but even so, how could she have changed that much?
“Rita, don’t look so shocked!” She laughed as she gave me a hug. “I was tired of that dark brown shade Lori kept using, so I decided to go somewhere else and get a whole new style. What do you think?” Right there in the parking lot, my elderly mother did a slightly off-balance version of a pirouette.
The outfit was new, too. I realized. Until now, my mother wore what I considered more age-appropriate clothing: elastic waist pants, floral prints, longer hemlines. But this one was definitely not made for women approaching their eighth decade: a v-necked orange and brown striped tank top tucked into slim-fit jeans. She even seemed taller, I thought and then realized that the platform sandals she was wearing added three inches to her height.
“Do you like it? I bought these clothes when we went to the outlet place. I just wanted, oh, I don’t know, something different. What do you think?”
I had to admit that, for a woman her age—hell, even for a woman my age—she looked pretty damned good. While I had firmly held onto the last ten pounds of post-baby weight for more than twenty years, my mother had managed to shed it all before I was out of diapers—and kept it off, even through those dreaded, fat-inducing menopause years. Her pants and top were at least a size smaller than what I could fit into— assuming of course, I had the style sense to pick them.
Suddenly, I felt dowdy and middle-aged. And what was worse, I realized as I glimpsed myself in the restaurant’s plate glass window, I looked it. My hair still needed coloring and my jeans were an unflattering light blue shade. As for my top, its loose fit did little to disguise my “meno-pot,” as my gynecologist had referred to it during my last visit, right after she noted my weight with a frown that made additional comments unnecessary.
“Oh, here he is!”
My mother’s exclamation, followed by the appearance of a distinguished-looking, white-haired man, jarred me out of my unpleasant reflections. He came up to us, stopping first to kiss my mother’s cheek before extending his hand to me.
“Rita, Adam. Adam, Rita,” and my mother smiled as though she had produced a long-awaited present that she was certain I would love.
“I’m so glad to meet you,” the man said, giving my limp hand a firm shake. “Shirley,” he said, turning to smile at my mother, “has told me so much about you.”
Well, she certainly kept you a secret, I thought to myself but smiled back at him with what I hoped was enthusiasm. My father had been gone for nearly ten years but never once since he died had my mother indicated that she had any desire to replace him in her life—or heart. All her conversations and activities involved women—“my girlfriends” as she referred to her geriatric companions. But suddenly, here was a man, elderly, certainly, but still handsome in a “silver fox” way, who was seemingly very fond of her. And she was definitely fond of him, I realized, as I saw my mother blush.
When I didn’t answer, my mother took his arm and said brightly, “Well, let’s go in to eat,” but not before shooting me a quick glance.
I followed them inside, knowing from that look my mother had expected a response from me. But what was I supposed to say? That she had told me all about him? That he was all my mother had talked about?
Although, in retrospect, I should have guessed something was going on when she was too busy to talk all those times, or when she wouldn’t return my phone messages until several days later.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Reinventing-Rita-Midlife-Moxie-Novel/dp/166788347X/ [Kindle sale price: $2.99]
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/42tp6v9
Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/reinventing-rita/id6445636010[eBook sale price: $3.99]
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reinventing-rita-nancy-christie/1143033692?ean=9781667883472 [eBook sale price: $2.99]
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reinventing-rita[eBook sale price: $3.99]
Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/p/books/reinventing-rita-a-midlife-moxie-novel-volume-1-nancy-christie/19747977 [Paperback sale price: $15.80]
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Reinventing Rita is not just about a woman facing the challenges of midlife but also about motherhood and daughterhood. The story explores the conflicts between fifty-year-old Rita and her mother Shirley, Rita and her son Zack, and Rita and herself in a lighthearted yet touching way.
It begins with Rita coming down with a bad case of empty-nest-it is, when it becomes clear that, despite her hopes, her college-age son won’t be coming back home to live but after graduation will be going out on his own. Then she finds out that her seventy-five-year-old mother has a boyfriend—someone Rita doesn’t trust with absolutely no justification for her feelings—who now takes up much of the time she used to spend with her daughter.
Fortunately, she has friends who offer their advice and support while helping her see that change is a part of life and she needs to embrace it—whether she wants to or not!
Enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs May 9 – May 16, 2023.
Winner will be drawn on May 17, 2023.
Nancy Christie has been making up stories since she learned how to write, and she plans to continue as long as her fingers can work the keyboard. She can often be found walking the streets of her neighborhood, reciting lines of dialogue or recording plot ideas on her cell phone before they escape.
Reinventing Rita (the first in her Midlife Moxie novel series) is Nancy's sixth book. Her other books include The Gifts of Change, Rut-Busting Book for Writers, Rut-Busting Book for Authors, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and Peripheral Visions and Other Stories. Mistletoe Magic, her third fiction collection, will be released late 2023. Her books and short stories have won awards and earned contest placements.
Nancy is the creator and host of the Living the Writing Life podcast and founder of the annual "Celebrate Short Fiction" Day. She's a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Women's Fiction Writers Association, and the Florida Writers Association. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads. For more about Nancy, visit her website at www.nancychristie.com.
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