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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Virtues of Oxygen - Giveaway and Review

When I asked my husband if he knew what an iron lung was, he paused a moment before telling me it was a medieval torture device. I began to wonder just how many people probably had the same thoughts or were completely baffled at just what this was since technology seems much more advanced than it would have back in the early 1900's. The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger was based on such a true story of Martha Mason, a young woman who spent the majority of her life confined within an iron lung that would breathe for her when polio robbed her of that ability to do so for herself.

It was that idea that inspired Susan to use that as the basis for her contemporary fiction involving Vivian Markham, a sixty three year old woman who has spent her entire life since the age of six living in an iron lung. She contracted polio at the age of six and subsequently loses her older sister the day before, leaving her alone and unable to leave the device or she would die. Even though advancements were made in the medical field, for Vivian, those advancements would pass her by, because after so many years of being dependent on the iron lung, her body had atrophied so much that she would not be able to breathe on her own. Her life looking at the world horizontally is the inspiration behind the main character in this novel who is cared for by her aging mother and a staff of rotating volunteers that live in town, that have vowed to help Vivian live in the best way she can.

One of her volunteers, Holly is a widow caring for two growing boys while struggling to keep the house she shared with her husband. Now with bills piling up higher than she can hope to pay them, she takes a job working part time as someone who will oversee Vivian's investment in a Cash For Gold business she is setting up in town. With the economy taking a turn for the worse, Holly fears it will only be a matter of time, before their small town newspaper office will go belly up with less ads being sold by the businesses in town. If that happens, despite what she hopes about holding on to her home, she will have to let the bank foreclose on the home. But for now, Holly's mother has been helping her with the mortgage payments. When the unforeseeable happens and Holly's mother has a stroke, suddenly she will be forced to make some hard decisions to avoid living on the streets with her boys. She wants to know that her life here has meant something much like Vivian does. They want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and not merely be a burden instead.

I received The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger compliments of Lake Union Publishing and TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. This is such a poignant story of two very different women that are united by their ability to survive despite the challenges odds against them. For Vivian it was physically and for Holly, financially. Yet despite the odds, they persevere in ways they never dreamed possible and it will be the one thing that will hold them together just when things begin to grow dark in their lives. They will come to understand that they see the real person they are on the inside despite what they look like on the outside. In the end those hollow places in their soul will feel less hollow because they had been useful to a remarkable spirit whose every breath as forced as it was, mattered. I absolutely LOVED this novel and can't wait to share it with you. It's heart felt, well written with every ounce of human passion that the writer could pour into this story and trust me in the end, it will leave you changed for the better and in these tough times we all find ourselves living in, there is truly something for us all in this novel. I easily rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Now for the best part, thanks to the generous folks at Lake Union Publishing and TLC Book Tours, they are offering a giveaway copy to one lucky follower of my blog Reviews From The Heart. Here are your details to enter:

1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. 

2. "Like" Susan Schoenberger's Facebook page. While you're there, let her know you stopped by!

3. Be a resident of the US or have a US shipping address. Please No P.O. Boxes.

4. Leave me a comment below telling me why you'd love to win a copy of The Virtues of Oxygen along with your email address. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols. Remember if you don't include it with your comment, I have no way of reaching out to let you know you're the winner.

I will notify the winner by email once the giveaway ends on August 27th.

For more information about The Virtues of Oxygen, Susan Schoenberger, or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Susan Schoenberger on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Virtues of Oxygen, please visit TLC Book Tour's page.


  1. I am an e-mail subscriber. I facebooked the author and left a comment and I would enjoy this fascinating novel greatly. Many thanks saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. This sounds like a wonderful book even if the subject matter is a little bleak. Only against great odds like these can we achieve great triumphs. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I've liked Susan's Facebook page (Carl Scott) and left a note.
    I have a U.S. mailing address,
    and I do follow your blog by email so I get every post: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
    Thanks again!

  3. 1. I already subscribe by email.
    2. I "Liked" Susan Schoenberger's Facebook page and let her know I stopped by.
    3. I live in the US.
    4. I'd love to win a copy of The Virtues of Oxygen because, first, it's based on truth, and, second, I've dealt with big obstacles in my own life so will know if this is as well written as you say it is. My email is bethvollbach(at)sbcglobal(dot)net


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