Untethered by Julie Timmer

Untethered by Julie TimmerUntethered Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on June 7th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Mystery, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon

When Char Hawthorn’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. Untethered explores what bonds truly form a family and how, sometimes, love knows no bounds.


This year I’ve had the honor of being part of the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2016 (aka #SRC2016). I received complimentary paperback copies of the June books but didn’t get July’s.  I was fortunate enough to find digital copies and had already read two of them, when I found out just today that I actually won a drawing for all of the July books!!! How cool is that!!! YAY ME!!!

As part of the the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge, July brings us even more great books and today’s book, Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer is another great book! I remember Ms. Timmer from her previous book, Five Days Left, which was an awesome read too!

So on to the story……

“Char Hawthorn, college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But when her husband dies in a car accident, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants the girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system.”

My thoughts…..

Char seems to be very happy with her life overall. She’s in love with her husband, Bradley, and has finally reached a place where she has a great relationship with her stepdaughter, Allie. Everything in Char’s world suddenly changes when her husband dies unexpectedly in a car accident.

For the past five years, Char has been Allie’s stepmother and they’ve developed a really good relationship over that time. Char’s been the one there for Allie when her biological mother, Lindy, was busy being self-absorbed and only dropping in and out of Allie’s life. Unfortunately, when Bradley dies, there is no legal document allowing Char to continue as Allie’s primary caretaker or allowing her any kind of custodial rights, so Lindy now has all the power over Allie’s life.

Char and Allie are mourning the loss of Bradley and meanwhile, Lindy’s ego is out of control. First she wants Allie to come out and live with her in California and then she says she can stay for the school year. Everything becomes so hard for Char and Allie, the boundary lines are blurred. Allie starts lying about her whereabouts and their relationship begins to fall apart. 

…and then added to the storyline and main characters, there’s Morgan, a young girl that Allie is tutoring.  Both Char and Allie are worried about Morgan because she’s had a hard life living in many foster homes until her current adoptive family but she’s having difficulty adjusting with them. 

When Char comes home one day to find that Allie is missing, her only focus is on finding her and bringing her home. As everyone knows, I don’t write spoilers, so that’s where my story telling ends.  You will have to pick up this book to find out more, and I you will really enjoy the quick read. It shares a lot of insight about step-parenting and blended families, and especially as in this case, the biological parent is still somewhat in the child’s life.

The book was well written and the storyline flowed really well. I could feel the grief and suffering of those in mourning just as well as I could feel the anger when some people weren’t very nice. Untethered shared an emotional story with readers using well developed characters with regular character-defects just like everyone else I know, making it very believable.


Julie Lawson Timmer grew up in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband, their four teenage children and two rescued dogs.By turns, she is a writer, lawyer, mom/stepmom, and dreadful cook. Five Days Left (Putnam 2014) was her first novel, and Untethered is her second.

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Keep checking out BookSparks’ Summer Reading Challenge 2016! There are so many more books you’ll want to put into your beach bag! This is going to be the “best summer ever.” #SRC2016 #BestSummerEver #BestSRCEver!

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