You know that quote by Stephen King that says Books are a uniquely portable magic? That’s what I felt reading Belonging by Jill Fordyce. To say Jenny has a cross to bear is an understatement. Jenny’s homelife is rough with an alcoholic mother and a father who allows it. Life gets harder when at thirteen Jenny gets a disease from an epic dust storm sweeping across her hometown of Bakersville California and loses her grandmother at a young age. What gets Jenny through her rough life is her best friend Henry, her great uncle Gino and her cousin Heather and her first love Billy. In 1982 when Jenny and Henry are old enough, they flee their town. Jenny flee’s a broken heart and Henry is running from something he can’t reveal. When Jenny returns to her hometown the life Jenny worked so hard to build coincides with the one, she ran from. Belonging spans decades and takes you on a journey through heartbreak, faith, love, family, friendship and forgiveness.


Writing, Story, & Setting  

The writing is beautiful and descriptive. I could picture myself in the story with Jenny. I’m surprised that this was Jill Fordyce’s first novel. I assumed with how well written this was, this had to have been Jill’s fourth or fifth novel. I like that the setting takes place in California and that the story begins in the late 1970s and ends in 2017. It was great going through the different decades.


Characters & Themes

The characters are very realistic, and I like that because it’s as though we know them or someone who is like them and can relate to some of them. I love Jenny and I felt as though I was with her on her journey through life watching as she grew as a person. I also like her friend Henry, Uncle Gino and Nonna. I love that Jenny was able to understand why her mother was the way she was and forgive her without excusing her actions. What I really enjoyed about the book is Catholicism played a huge part in the story without coming off as preachy and in your face. Not many fiction books have religion be a part of the story and if religion is mentioned, it seems as though almost every character is like “I’m spiritual but not religious” or “I’m atheist”. As a Catholic I appreciate that faith was apart of the story. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Billy and Jenny’s relationship after the heartbreak that happened, it grew on me.




If you enjoy stories about family, friendship, heartbreak, love, forgiveness and faith I recommend Belonging by Jill Fordyce. I can’t wait to read everything she writes next. If you don’t have an early copy of Belonging, preorder the book coming out next month on January 30th. In my opinion it’s one of the best books of 2024! Thank you, Jill, for writing such a great book! I can’t wait to do our Q&A!