Friday, May 22, 2015

Author Spotlight: The Number 7 by Jessica Lidh

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 1:00 PM

Jessica Lidh pulls inspiration from her Swedish heritage and experiences as a high school teacher. In encouraging young minds to suck the marrow out of life, Jessica often uncovers the fascinating and hilariously horrifying insights of the twenty-first century teenager. When Jessica isn't fervently teaching or writing, she loves to watch old musicals, bake Swedish cinnamon buns, and go on imaginary bear hunts with her children, Elsa and Gus.

Title: The Number 7
Author: Jessica Lidh
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication: December 1st 2014
Cover Rating: 5/5

The Number 7 is such a creative adventure. I truly loved how the book went back and forth between past and present. I really enjoy historical fiction books.  I also love the cover of the book. It's not very often that you come across a book with a cover that depicts what the book is about so perfectly. I found myself racing through the pages about Louisa just so I could get back to her grandmother's story.

Louisa is an amazing character. She is the foundation of her family it seems. She seems to keep everything together and helps her dad through all of his issues. She is such a strong girl. She has to be pretty dang amazing because she finds herself being the love interest of two young men. And her grandmother picked her to be the one to unravel her family history and the secret it holds.

Greta isn't as strong. She has been kind of distant and tried to hurt herself. I am guessing the loss of her mother hit her a lot harder than it hit Louisa. Regardless, I didn't like her very much and I didn't connect with her well, at all. 

Christian, the girls father, was distant as well. He hid a lot of things and his daughters didn't even know the reason as to why he hadn't been in contact with his parents since he moved out. We come to find out that he really didn't know that much about his parents.

Rosemary kind of creeped me out in the beginning. She was this astrology psychic chick that told Louisa that she was in her grandparents house for a reason. I can't say that she grew on me but as the book progressed she seemed less weird.

Throughout the book Louisa received phone calls from her dead grandmother that slowly piece together her grandfather's, Gerhard's, past and heroism. While the book was focused on Louisa's love life I believe the historical fiction aspect was the best part. The book has a very close family system in it and with the aspect of her grandmother thrown in we get to see how much history truly does affect the future.

Something that would have been cool to add to the book would have been Louisa's list of memories about her mother. Throughout the book we get things like lilac's were her mothers favorite flowers, memory 111. I just think it would have been pretty cool to include that maybe in the back of the book as bonus content.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

1) What was the inspiration behind The Number 7?

I used to manage a Swedish antique store, housed in a 19th century farmhouse. One stormy day, I was in the shop alone and I discovered this beautiful black antique phone for sale. When I noticed it wasn't plugged in, my imagination just ran away with me. I started wondering what I would do if the phone started ringing. My first thought was: who would I want to be on the other end, and what would he or she say?

2) Have any of your family members fought in WWII?

I grew up listening to stories of my grandfather fighting in the Korean War. The stories of his time in the Army are so vivid and memorable. (Remind me to tell you the story of the time he served KP duty in December of 1950, cooking hundreds of eggs stamped for expiration in 1947.) He is a natural-born storyteller. I think that's why I'm enamored with the stories time will eventually snuff out. It's sad to me to think my grandfather's stories will one day be lost forever. I suppose, though, it will happen to us all.

3) Are any of the characters in The Number 7 based off of a real person?

Absolutely. Practically each character has some remnant of someone I've known and loved. Chris and Gabe are based on various traits of past boyfriends. Neither is an exact copy of the real person, but they're both piecemeal versions of past flames. I don't believe either real-life Gabe or real-life Chris has read the book, but I'd be interested to know their thoughts. I hope they'd feel I was kind to them.

4) Have you been to Sweden?

I lived in Sweden for a year in college, and I connected with distant relatives while there. Those distant relationships have grown into very close friendships, some of the best in my life. So I've been back to Sweden many times since college. There's always a feeling of homecoming whenever I touch down at Arlanda. My husband and I dream of one day spending entire summers under the Swedish sun with our children. I can't imagine a happier dream.

5) Are you currently working on any new books?

Yes! While I have one manuscript halfway complete, I have another stewing in my head. There's never enough time in a day to get everything done (especially with two young kids at home), but my husband and I are currently moving from suburban Maryland to the mountains of North Carolina. I'm hoping the change of scenery will bring greater opportunities to write. I'm eager to get another book out there. I'm eager to share what's in my head.

6) Did you write a completed list of Louisa's memories of her mother?

Great question! Surprisingly, I never did. It's amazing how people have responded to that list of memories. My old employer, the Swedish antique shop owner, loved my book. One of Louisa's memories was that her mother used to sing "La Vie En Rose," and when my employer read that part, she recalled her own childhood memories of her mother singing that song. After finishing the book, she called me into the shop and presented me with her mother's old compact case, a beautiful gold mirror compact from the 1950s. When I opened it, it started playing "La Vie En Rose." It was such a tender and special gift. I was really humbled in that moment. It's wonderful how stories and words can affect others so deeply.


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