Today the spotlight shines on...........................................Abigail & Hailey Bennett
Nicole Baart's newest release is one of the most powerful and moving stories I have ever read - seriously! Her characters Abigail and Hailey will be forever imprinted in your minds after reading their story. I am preparing my review to be sent to TitleTrakk so you will read it here shortly. I know you will be entranced by this look behind the scenes.
Though Abigail is five years older than her sister Hailey, she looks much younger. The girls are polar opposites in many ways, but the most obvious difference between them is their appearance.
Abigail is petite and athletic. Her hair is short, curly, and nearly black, but her skin is a soft, almost porcelain white.
Hailey, on the other hand, is tall and leggy with perfect curves. Her long, blond hair, big, blue eyes, and olive skin make her a living Barbie doll.
Abigail is convinced that her sister is gorgeous and she is not, but the truth is that they are both lovely--each in her own way.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Abigail is determined, decisive, and trustworthy. Her family relies on her to hold them together when life gets complicated, and she is more than capable of doing the job. In spite of her strong character and commitment to her family, Abigail does have a few weaknesses. She assumes too much responsibility for things that she simply cannot control--it’s a sort of God-complex that becomes so crippling she feels burdened by sins that she could never begin to atone for.
Hailey is undeniably beautiful, unnaturally brilliant, and charismatic. People are drawn to her because she is so full of energy and life. However, she is also very manipulative, and though she tries to keep herself in check, it’s almost impossible for her to control her impulses.
Abigail is an obsessive runner (literally and figuratively, though we’ll just focus on the literal J). She runs several miles every day and trains for marathons. Sometimes when she’s bored or frustrated she runs twice a day. And since she already has the figure of a twelve-year-old, it’s difficult for to keep her weight over 100 lbs.
Hailey is an all-around quirky character. According to Abby:
“Hailey was too pretty, too wise. Too capable of manipulating any situation to her advantage, too triumphant when she won, and too moody when she didn’t. She was too much of nearly everything, actually. It seemed as though her spirit was simply too much for her body to contain.”
I think Hailey is a fascinating character--she’s really quite impossible to accurately describe.
Your Inspiration for the Characters
Abigail and Hailey grew in my imagination together. They are two sides of the same coin, alter egos encompassed in a strained but deeply loving sibling relationship. Actually, there’s a song by Ingrid Michaelson that sort of inspired these women. It’s called Die Alone, and although it’s somewhat romantic I can’t help thinking that it fits my characters.
I’m rearranging a proverbial bookshelf
Don’t be a fool, girl…
I never thought I could love anyone but myself.
Now I know I can’t love anyone But you.”
Actually, Ingrid Michaelson’s song Breakable also contributed to my understanding of Abigail and Hailey.
Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts.
So it’s fairly simple to cut right through mass
And to stop the muscle that makes us confess.
We are so fragile, and our cracking bones make noise.
And we are just breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys.”
These two women are intertwined in a way that cannot be undone, even though they may hate each other at times. I love the delicate imbalance of their relationship. I love the way that their bond is incongruously fragile and unbreakable.
Background to the Story
Abigail Bennett knows all about ambition. She’s poised, confident, and successful, a well-respected partner in a prestigious accounting firm. After burying a tumultuous past and rebuilding over the ruins, Abigail is convinced that nothing can shake the firm foundation she has tried to construct for herself. Until the unthinkable happens, and Abigail begins to understand an entirely different motivation: obsession.
As Abigail’s life starts to unravel, she abandons her job, her swanky south Florida apartment, everything to chase down the object of her obsession. He’s a bartender and a self-proclaimed womanizer. His name is Tyler Kamp.
Abigail’s journey is awash in memories of her childhood, for even as she races into her future, her past continually pulls her back. Though she tries to ignore each painful recollection of her younger days--a time filled with strict religious rules and regulations, and peppered with the errors and expectations of her aging parents--Abigail’s youth cannot be ignored. And at the center of it all is Abigail’s relationship with her younger sister, Hailey. Hailey is indefinably needy and strangely toxic, dangerously beautiful and frighteningly volatile. Abigail finds herself continually replaying her past, desperate for clues and longing for a chance to atone for long-ago mistakes.
Past and present finally collide when Abigail’s obsession forces her to chase Tyler from Florida all the way across the continent to British Columbia’s fabled Summerlands. Torn between grace and condemnation, redemption and revenge, Abigail faces the implications of living a less than perfect life. And though she is convinced that everything is black or white, right or wrong, justice and love prove to be much more complicated than Abigail first imagined them to be.
Thanks Nicole ~ your talent is abundant in this novel. Thanks for sharing with us here :)
On Thursday I will be spotlighting Don Hoesel's Jack Hawthorne & Esperanza Habilla. Quirky and different, this spotlight is a lot of fun!
Relz Reviewz Extras
Reviews of After the Leaves Fall and Summer Snow
Interview with Nicole
Visit Nicole's website and blog
Enter Nicole's contest to win one of five copies of this amazing book
Buy Nicole's books at Amazon or Koorong