Tuesday, September 13, 2016

*Blog Tour* Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely

Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely


A timeless story of mothers and daughters with a razor-sharp 21st century twist, this heart-wrenching debut for fans of Kimberly McCreight (Reconstructing Amelia) and Liane Moriarity (Big Little Lies) will make you question how you and your family spend time online.
With Saving Phoebe Murrow, acclaimed writer and longtime children’s activist Herta Feely introduces readers to Isabel Murrow: a suburban mother precariously balancing her busy career as a D.C. lawyer and her family, who she would do anything to protect. In a world of bullies and temptations, all Isabel wants is to keep her thirteen-year-old daughter, Phoebe, safe. But with her hectic schedule, Isabel fails to recognize another mother’s mounting fury and the danger her daughter faces by flirting with a mysterious boy online. A cyber-bulling incident aimed at Phoebe, with horrific consequences, finally pushes Isabel to the edge.
Smartly paced and equal parts shocking and sadly familiar, Saving Phoebe Murrow is a riveting addition to the contemporary women’s fiction landscape that will resonate with parents, teens, and anyone compelled by timely and beautifully crafted stories.


Saving Phoebe Murrow [Upper Hand Press, September 2 2016] is available in paperback and e-book formats via all online and select brick-and-mortar book retailers. Get your copy today on Amazon.


written by Herta Feely

These days it’s so easy to dash off an email or a text to someone, even someone you hardly know. That’s probably how many affairs begin. Somewhat innocently. And very privately. As I wrote about the affair that one of the characters began to have with another character (I can’t reveal their names without spoiling the story), I realized how much easier it’s gotten when you don’t have to use landlines. And maybe, just maybe, you’re not really thinking when you send that text or email that commits you to a meeting. Or maybe you are. But the point is that in this age of social media there are so many ways to communicate “under the radar.”

First, you connect on Facebook. Just as “friends.” Then you send or receive a private message. Next you connect by email or text, because you’ve asked or been asked for that information. You set up a “date” or a meeting place. If the person isn’t someone you actually know, you really don’t know who you’re going to meet. And when you stop to think about it, that’s incredibly dangerous. Or could be.

And that’s part of the premise behind Saving Phoebe Murrow. A young man friends 13-year-old Phoebe on Facebook and almost immediately she’s smitten by his handsome looks. He flirts with her and she flirts back. She’s dying to meet him despite her mother’s admonitions. Who is he? And what does he want, her mother wonders.

A similar story in the Washington Post eight years ago captured my attention (the Megan Meier story). That didn’t end well, because the “boy” wasn’t who he claimed to be and after a cyber-bullying episode the girl committed suicide. In part because of the mob mentality that reigned during that incident. Lots of pent-up frustration can be directed at someone from behind the safety of a computer.

Recently, in Virginia a young girl named Nicole Lovell (13) friended a boy through a Facebook group called Teen Dating and Flirting. That young man, David Eisenhauer (18), later was arrested and charged with her murder.

With the Internet, we are offered connections with people around the world, but we are also faced with entirely new challenges, and that includes questions about how to protect our children, especially as they grow older and become more independent and less likely to listen to their parents. But even for adults the lines of how to conduct ourselves sometimes grow blurred. It’s all worth talking about, and my hope is that Saving Phoebe Murrow will open the door to some of these conversations.  


First of all, seeing as September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness month, this book's release date is entirely on point. Everyone knows that bullying leads to many suicides unfortunately.

I was very excited to read Saving Phoebe Murrow, and I have been reading a lot of different books on bullying this month. The cover is beautiful with the butterfly and the rain hitting the window with the colors dripping down. I don't typically read Domestic dramas, and I have found that I like that genre now!

I thought at first this story would mainly be about the daughter being bullied, but there is so much more! Infidelity, work stress, the difficulties of raising children, past relationships and the influence they have on your life, and the struggle between being a good mother and a good wife.

I flew through this book, and I couldn't put it down. Each chapter ended with my curiosity being peaked and I lost a few hours of sleep! 

At times, the mother, Isobel, really got on my nerves. However, I understood also why she was that way. I thought about my own mother, and how she handled my teenage years. Ron, the husband, was also disappointing as someone I wanted to like at first. Sandy reminded me of some women I have come across and stay away from! I liked Phoebe most of the time, but there were a few times when she gave her mom a lot of grief. Despite liking them or not, they were all relate-able characters. 

The ending to the book was touching, and was a perfect fit. 

I do want to put a warning that there may be triggers affecting some readers, since self-mutilation is involved in the story.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to all adults! 

Thank you to UpperHandBooks, Sarah Miniaci, and of course Herta Feely for a copy of this book for my honest opinion and for the blog tour. 


Herta Feely is a writer, full-time editor, and the co-founder of Safe Kids Worldwide. Her short stories and memoir have been published in anthologies and literary journals, including The Sun, Lullwater Review, The Griffin, Provincetown Arts, and Big Muddy. In the wake of the James Frey scandal, Feely edited and published the anthology, Confessions: Fact or Fiction? Awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and an Artist in Literature Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for The Trials of Serra Blue, she has also received an award from American Independent Writers for best published personal essay for a piece on immigration. Feely is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University. She has two grown sons and lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and cats. Connect with Herta on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her website: http://www.hertafeely.com/


One paperback copy of Saving Phoebe Murrow by Herta Feely 
US and Canada only

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