Disrupted Lives by Brenda Youngerman

Disrupted Lives

Published: April 11, 2011
Publisher: Eloquent Books
Source: Free review copy from the author (thank you!)

From Goodreads: 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.

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.”

My Thoughts: In Disrupted Lives, Brenda Youngerman has created a remarkably complex family history based on wealth, power, unattainable expectations, compliance with family ideals and regret. Both compelling and beautifully written this is the sort of novel I had to read in nearly only sitting, I couldn’t stand to put it down and not know how things would unfold.

I found it very interested to see how the lives of 2 separate families came together and affected each other so much. I loved how Youngerman went back in time so far to discover several generations of the Lake and Kane families and relate how their actions affected the next generation. I found the stories and the family dynamics to be particularly fascinating.

I did at times find this 90 year time span to be a little wide and sometimes felt as though time was rushing by too quickly when I wanted to read more about a particular character or major life event. Sometimes the speed at which time passed could be dizzying, however I understood the need to move time quickly along considering the span of time the novel had to cover.

What made this book for me were a few specific characters. I loved Amelia’s story and I wanted to read so much more about her. She was strong, compassionate and a little bit damaged by her past but she didn’t allow her past hurts to ruin her present life. She allowed her past to give her perspective and spent her energy focusing on those people in her life who truly supported and cared about her. I could have read an entire novel solely about Amelia and her struggles. I was also fascinated by Fiona and Steel’s relationship and found it so interesting to read about how two generations of Lakes approached their lives, and the people in them, so differently. These intense family interactions pulled me into the story and had me completely invested in the lives of the people I was reading about.

I would recommend Disrupted Lives to anyone who loves to read family focused fiction or drama, or is interested in Southern fiction.