Book Blast! Carry On Castle – a memoir on grief and widowhood
CARRY ON CASTLE High school sweethearts Dan and Jenny Stults were living their happily ever after. They had a beautiful daughter and dreams of more children. Their life was ripped apart in January of 2015, when 36-year-old Dan died suddenly, leaving Jenny and their 7-year-old daughter to carry on alone. Despite unfathomable grief, they endured.
In CARRY ON CASTLE, her memoir of true love, sudden death, and penetrating grief, Jenny recounts the story of this nearly impossible task. Deep in the hell of widowhood, she found that her only deliverance was to tell her story. Throughout the book, Jenny weaves in Dan’s own words and shares his voice, his passions, his compassion, and his unforgettable personality. But she also has her own voice: brave, enduring, and insightful. This fierce, raw, brutally honest journey into the world of grief has been empowering to other widows and eye-opening to those who have been fortunate enough not to have endured this type of pain.
Jennifer Stults grew up in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. As a child, she was teased mercilessly for her red hair. The kids at school would call her a witch and her siblings claimed she was left on the doorstep as an infant. With the discovery of the MC1R gene and the ensuing “ginger revolution,” people ask her what kind of dye she uses, and doctors no longer question her when she needs more medication.
Jenny has five siblings and cannot fathom what it is like to be an only child. She spends her time with her thousand family members, driving her teenager all over the state and throwing the ball approximately 10 million times a day for her Border Collie. She has a “chapter two,” (widow speak for a second partner,) who adores her. They love fishing and going to the beach together.
In a city with the biggest book store in the world and where everyone and their dog wants to be a writer she never gave writing much thought. When tragedy struck she found it to be the only way out.”
5 books that changed my life by Jenny Stults
EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg. This was my first book. Not the first book that was ever read to me, but EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM was the first book I ever claimed “ownership” of. I didn’t actually own it. I checked it out of the school library.
I checked it out every chance I had and would get upset when someone else checked out “my book.” A short rhyming book about nursery stories, I could still recite the whole thing to you today. I loved the rhymes but was also enthralled with the illustrations, there are hidden things hidden throughout all the pages.
THE HARRY POTTER SERIES, by J.K Rowling. I know they’re obvious, clichéd, and overdone, but Harry Potter changed my life. I get lost in the magical world of wizards and witches, where giants are your best friends and you are way more special than you ever imagined. I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter. Harry Potter is every kid’s fantasy, but that’s not why it changed my life.
When Harry Potter came out, I was already a grown-up. My husband brought home a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. We both wanted to read it, so we decided to read it together. We would lay in bed at night and he would read aloud. We read the entire series that way. When we were done we read a different series together, and then another. For over ten years we read together every night and that was truly magical.
DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC: A TALE OF MADNESS, MEDICINE AND THE MURDER OF A PRESIDENT. By Candice Millard. This book is the true story of President James A. Garfield. Other than memorizing the list of Presidents in fifth grade, I knew nothing about him. A friend recommended this book, and I was blown away by his story. It was a classic “none of this should ever have happened” story, which I experienced in my own life, mere days after finishing the book.
I was captivated by the way the author portrayed him. Garfield could have changed the world, but he died before he ever got the chance. To this day I think about what the U.S. would be like if Garfield had lived and fulfilled his presidency. I actually don’t think our country would be so full of hate had Garfield been around to help shape it.
IT’S OK THAT YOU’RE NOT OK, by Megan Divine. If you’re grieving, read this book. If you want to help someone who’s grieving, read this book. Read this book, read this book, read this book. I actually quote this book several times in my book. That’s how good it is. It doesn’t put a shiny face on grief and I am all for that. The first page opens with, “This really is as bad as you think.”
It’s not a memoir, it is more of a “what to expect” manual, with a heavy dose of “you are normal.” You’re not over it at six months? Normal. You don’t care if you die? Normal. This will help you understand the grieving world.
A PLACE TO CALL HOME. Okay, this isn’t a book. It’s a TV series that I thought was a book but man, I wish it was a book. It’s about a family in the 1950’s and takes place in the beautiful land of Australia. The main character is a nurse trying to find a place she fits in after WWII. Every episode had me longing for another one to see what was going to happen next. Go watch it it’s fabulous.
The very last scene of the entire series closes on a book with the title of the show. This leaves the viewer with the impression that the show was based on the book. We all know that the books are better than the shows, so I practically jumped up in excitement upon learning I could read the book. Unfortunately, when I typed “A Place to Call Home” in the search bar on Amazon, nothing came up. I tried again, adding “book” to the end. Nothing. Oh, the disappointment.
Really, I’m adding this to my list in the hopes that someone will know what I’m talking about and say, “But there is a book! Here is the title, author and Amazon link for you”
Follow author Jenny Stults
Link to my blog: https://carryoncastle.blogspot.com/
Link to my Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/livingwithgriefcarryoncastle
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Thanks for the comment, this book certainly seems to help readers
I just shared this book with a woman newly widowed and in pain. As I was leaving from the visit after giving her the book I saw her fingering the pages as if she couldn’t wait to start to understand how someone else lived through the hell she has just been shoved into. Thank you Jenny for writing it and giving others a chance to learn how to deal with living again.
So well written and a journey that will inspire so many!
If you are grieving, or know someone who is, you need this book. One of the worst parts of loss is the terror of finding yourself alone in the pit. This book is a ladder, a hand reaching down, and a friendly voice, saying, “I’m here. I understand.”
I think many people think they know what grief is about but until you experience a profound loss you don’t have a clue. This book is a “must read” for everyone but particularly for those going through a grief journey. You are not alone. What you are feeling is normal for you. You are OK. My son, Dan, was married to Jenny. She has helped me through so much especially now that I am also a widow. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
As we get older, our friends and family will undoubtedly suffer as they are grieving and this book is but a glimpse of what it may be like. I hope whoever reads it also sees the perseverance and resilience to keep going, even in the face of the unimaginable.
I read Carry on Castle shortly after it was published. The author is my sister and even though I was there in the midst of the most traumatic thing in my life, I loved the book. It’s raw and real, there’s no beating around the bush about grief. They way she writes gave me more insight on what she was going through with herself and her daughter and it helped me help her in ways I didn’t think of before. I have recommended this book to everyone I know who has dealt with any kind of grief. You never know who may help.
Sometimes all we want is someone to “get it”. I can only hope that others out there feel even the slightest bit comforted by her extremely transparent experience.
I am honored to be featured on you site Duffy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.