Book Review: Reluctant Cassandra by Ellen Smith

ReluctantCassandraTitle: Reluctant Cassandra

Author: Ellen Smith

Genre: Southern Women’s Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Nothing much changes in historic Eagle Valley, Virginia. That’s a good thing for Arden McCrae. It’s easier to manage her visions of the future when there isn’t much to see. Arden would rather stay buried in the cool certainty that comes with stories of the past. Fortunately, running the local antique store and keeping up with the Eagle Valley Historical Society gives her plenty of history to hide behind.

When her aging parents are forced to sell their farm to pay for medical care, Arden sees big changes ahead. The sale threatens the historic status of Eagle Valley, and Arden’s own store is in peril. Meanwhile, her father’s rapidly advancing Alzheimer’s keeps him locked in a heartbreaking past. The rest of the McCrae family is left to make difficult decisions for the days to come.

The future that nobody wants is descending fast, and Arden must face the visions she’s always avoided. Soon, her town is divided over their historic status and her family is shattered by her father’s declining health. Arden will have to choose whether to fight to preserve the past or learn to embrace the future.

Reading Reluctant Cassandra was tough for me, and I’ll start by saying why. It’s a good book, and it describes its characters, setting and events well. One of those events is how the main character’s father struggles with Alzheimer and his condition grow worse every day. It was tough reading this because my Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer a few weeks ago, and her condition goes downhill fast. A lot of the scenes with Arden’s father hit a nerve for me, because I’m going through the same thing with my grandma. I can’t imagine how much worse it has to be when going through something like this with a parent.

Despite that, the reason why I wanted to read this one so badly was because of the mention of Alzheimer. I wanted to see how others dealt with having their loved ones go through such ordeal.

But while it was a tough read, that also shows just how good the book is. The reader can’t help but connect with Arden, with her fears and struggles, and to cheer for her, even when everything seems to turn against her. I admired her for her strength and weaknesses alike, and even for the gift/burden she had.

It’s a great book, with fluent writing and interesting characters. Fans of women’s fiction will love it.


  1. Thank you for your review, Majanka! I am so sorry to hear that your grandmother is going through this difficult diagnosis as well. I’m sending best wishes to her, to you, and to the rest of your family.

  2. Thank you, Ellen!


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