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Length: 378 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

About the Author

Freelance writer, author and speaker Julie B Cosgrove leads retreats, workshops, and Bible studies. She writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications and has been published in the Upper Room's Devozine and Alive Now, The Secret Place, The Journey and Good News Daily. She has published three Bible studies, a devotional and one fiction. Julie has one grown son and lives in Fort Worth, TX with two cats. Visit her website atwww.juliebcosgrove.com. Books published - P.R.A.Y.I.N.G.- Bringing Power and Purpose to Your Prayers (2009) Song Notes - Devotionals from Verses in the Psalms (2010) What Can She Tell Us? (2011) Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness (2011) Focused-A Novel (2012) Between the Window and the Door (2012)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 644 KB
  • Print Length: 378 pages
  • Publisher: CrossWords Press; 1 edition (20 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00702ORK0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,610,255 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8e6e3a08) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ff9b078) out of 5 stars Focused has many meanings 22 Aug. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is about a middle aged woman named Christina and her journey to accept herself and her husband as empty nesters. Like many couples, after her son left home, she and her husband often felt like ships passing in the night. To compound the problem, her parents had died a few years before, leaving her feeling emotionally raw and adrift on a sea of routine. In the beginning of the story, Christina and her husband, Jeff have a non-fight (I definitely related with that term!), and she decides to call in sick to work and visit her family's old summer home in the nearby Texas hill country. While there, a major storm causes flooding that strands her. She receives some help from the elderly neighbors she grew up with, not knowing that their son, her old beau, is also in town after his recent divorce. At this point, I got nervous. There is little I hate more than infidelity, and I was afraid the author was going down the road to adultery. I don't think it will spoil the story too much to tell you that Christina remains faithful to her husband throughout the book.

During her time in the hill country, Christina does a lot of thinking and decides to change her life, including her relationship with her husband. Jeff also does some thinking while she is gone, and it appears that their marriage will be happy once more. Except that in a moment of muddy thinking, Christina invites Bud, the old boyfriend, to stay at their house while he looks for a job. Bud doesn't call first. The rest of the novel explores how Jeff and Christina deal with their own marriage with the solid presence of an old flame in their home.

There are several things I liked about the book. Ms. Cosgrove has the ability to make you feel what the characters are feeling. In fact, I had to put the book down several times simply because I was getting depressed! Don't worry; the ending is happy, but it took some time to get there. That is another thing I liked about the book; it was very realistic. Christina and Jeff fight (or non-fight) several times and make up again throughout the course of the book. Although this honesty can make for some frustrating reading (can't they just get over it?!), it is much more like a real marriage than some books I've read. Too many times plot lines of Christian romance books are too neat. Real people do rehash the same arguments more than once!

The best part of the book, though, is how the title, Focused, means so many different things throughout the book. Christina has always lived as though the whole world focused on her. She called it the fishbowl mentality. She comes to the understanding in the book that she can't live her life worried about what other people might think. She also realizes that her focus has been on the wrong things in life. She was focused on herself too often, and it hurt her marriage. She comes to determine that her attention does not to be on herself or even on her husband. She needs to focus on God, and the rest of her relationships will fall into place. There is also some over 40 humor in the title. Christina has had a pair of bifocals for several years that she can't see out of well. Buying a new pair of glasses serves to symbolize her ability to see everything in life better, not just her computer screen.

Christina definitely made some choices that made me cringe. I don't believe it was a good idea for her to invite an old boyfriend to stay in her home. The Bible commands hospitality, but I think Jesus would draw the line at an old flame who still holds some attraction. Christina also tends toward passive aggressive behavior. When she is angry at her husband, she's liable to lock herself in the bathroom, turn on the shower, and ignore him. Even her sister tells her she's being foolish there! I decided to blame it on hormones. I've done similar things, except that I react more aggressively. I got angry beyond all reason yesterday when I found my husband had used all the quarters in the drink machine, and I didn't have one for the shopping cart at Aldi. I guess I can be just as silly as Christina!

Overall, this book shows a realistic view of the journey of a couple back to intimacy of every kind. They have a lot of roadblocks in their journey, but this novel shows that hard work and commitment from both husband and wife can overcome many obstacles, even handsome former sweethearts, mood swings, and demanding jobs.

~As reviewed on [...]
HASH(0x8fd6b840) out of 5 stars UNIQUE! ENTERTAINING! REAL! 30 Mar. 2013
By Moonpie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This the first book of Ms. Cosgrove's I have read. I have never seen a Christian fiction novel dealing with the subject of middle age and all the new struggles that come with it: aging, empty nest, insecurities about personal value, appearance, and starting a new chapter of marriage without children. While I have not experienced some of the issues her character Christina did, the author was very accurate in describing the emotions and confusion that goes with this time of life. I still enjoy the books about young women stepping into the prime of life, but I found it refreshing to read about the years to come. This is a great read for those facing that time, but would be good also for those who have yet to experience it.
Christina was close approaching her 50th birthday, and her only son had recently moved out. After years of nurturing and focusing on her son, she was suddenly left in limbo. The reality of how her marriage had shifted after years of putting all her energies into raising her son and caring for her home and family, hit home in a hard way. Who was this man she was left with? She didn't know him, nor did he seem to know her. She could remember the handsome young guy she fell head over hills in love with, but the one that lived with her wasn't him anymore Too make matters worse she had lost both her parents a few years back. She felt so alone. The curtain has dropped and she glaringly sees what her life has become, and in some ways only what she perceives it to be.
After what she terms a "non-fight" with her husband Jeff that morning, she allows her menopausal emotions to run way, calls in sick to work and on impulse takes off to her parents old summer cottage miles away. Stranded there by unexpected flooding and taking refuge in the home of two seniors she knew as a child, she is reunited with her old boyfriend, their son, who is visiting. (Don't worry, no adulterous affair happens.)
Sitting in the old cottage, surrounded memories she is able to do some real soul searching and crying. There she feels the Lord speaking to her about her life. She decides then and there she is going to make big changes in herself, her attitude, and her marriage. Of course decisions like these never come without being tested. I liked the fact the story dealt with real life feelings and obstacles. This helped me relate even more to the characters.
The title is so appropriate. As with most women their early years are focused on raising a family and all the responsibilities that go with it. The change was so gradual she didn't realize she had become focused on how she expected things to be; focused on how she felt her husband should be, focused on what her needs were in the marriage, focused on what others thought of her, focused on taking care of others and neglecting herself, and in all this focusing, she forgot to focus on God. Mixed in were all the misunderstandings that go along with a couple that has quit communicating. This is real life! There are surprises and lots of wonderful humor along the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Ms. Cosgrove did a brilliant job of genuinely portraying this time of life we must all face. I look forward to reading more of her books!
HASH(0x8fd6bd5c) out of 5 stars Mid-life Changes and Emotions 30 July 2015
By Gail Pallotta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Christina loses her parents and faces an empty nest. In the midst of the pain she also loses her sense of place as a daughter and Mother and begins to question her and her husband’s roles in their marriage. As everything falls apart around her, she takes time off her job as an accounting clerk, and returns to a mountain cabin, where she spent summers in her youth. No one’s visited the place in a long time, so it’s a bit dusty, but gradually she begins to relate to it. Just as she’s getting a grasp on who she is, a flood leaves her stranded without food. A neighbor, who’s also the father of her teenage heartthrob, comes to her rescue. He invites Christina to their house. There she sees the beau of her youth who’s gotten a divorce and appears to still have feelings for Christina. While Christina’s husband is home wondering what caused Christina’s detachment and assessing the things he could have done differently in their marriage, she’s trying to sort out her feelings. In the twists Ms. Cosgrove gives the book, she taps into emotions many have in their lives and marriages and keeps the reader wondering if Christina will choose the old beau or her husband. I’ll look forward to more books from Ms. Cosgrove.
HASH(0x8ff9b30c) out of 5 stars Enjoying and engaging read. 17 Nov. 2014
By Kathryn E. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Ms. Cosgrove's novel. And it is unique in that it deals with issues of those of us who are a little older. She deals artfully and engagingly with the things we face: empty nest, temptations of mid-life, and questioning our worth and value when our bodies aren't performing the way we'd like. I love the way she shows heart transformation through action, interaction, and describing the changes the main characters go through. We experience the struggles, temptations, and experiences that the characters went through or chose realistically. So it was very real. I could understand and put myself in their shoes. And as a result, i could also benefit from what they went through. I could relate and think, "I also want to appreciate my husband even though he's not perfect." And I can diminish my unrealistic expectations of my own inadequacies being older. So, I thought this novel was well written and engaging. And I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen. But Ms. Cosgrove, just because you are 65 doesn't mean you wear orthopedic shoes. I am and I don't! :-)
HASH(0x8f3cd480) out of 5 stars Empty Nester's Wake Up Call 19 April 2012
By Karen M. Powers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Empty Nester's Wake Up Call" I just completed Julie's book, "Focused". Captivating story from the woman's perspective who awakens to discover her ONLY child has flown the nest, and she is now faced with the scarey question "WHO . . . is this MAN with the TV remote sitting on my couch?" To add to the intrique a handsome guy from her past is dropped back into her path. What will Christina do at her mid-life crossroads? Follow this adventure showcased in picturesque Austin Hll country. As a parent of 3, I can so relate with Christina in the story. I know when I was forced with the deafening silence of the empty nest, it shook my world, my self identity and left me with many questions. What a great story, Julie, I can't wait to see what other writings are around the bend. Don't miss it, check it out, in paperback or Kindle.
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