A Gathering of Sorrows (The Benson Family Chronicles, Volume Two)

A_Gathering_of_Sorro_Cover_for_KindleA Gathering of Sorrows is the second volume of The Benson Family Chronicles.

Willow is a farmer’s wife, a mother, and a grandmother living on a large, successful farm in the rural south. Her days are filled with hard work, surrounded by those she loves and cares about.

Emilee is a weary cocktail waitress and prostitute living in a worn down, uncared for studio apartment in the big city. Her nights are haunted by the dregs of society, and her days are spent wishing for something more…something worth caring for.

Two sisters born born into the same drug, alcohol, and abuse riddled family. Two sisters that once shared the same dream. A dream that involved rising above their dreadful situation, to become something more than fate foretold they would be. Yet it was that same shared dream that once wrenched them apart, hurling them down two very different, very separate paths. Now, after years of being estranged, the two girls are to be reunited once more. Yet this joyous occasion is shadowed by the true reason that Emilee finally returned home…

Can the Benson family salvage a happy ending from these conflicted circumstances? Or will they continue to be forced into to live a sorrow filled existence? Only time itself will be able to tell.


It was at a leisurely pace that Emilee took on her journey home. She enjoyed taking the time to watch the streets slowly go by. Emilee had walked this path so many times before, and yet every now and then something would change, or perhaps it was just something new would catch her wandering eye. She had long since learned to pay strict attention to her surroundings. It wasn’t only because danger was likely to lurk in the shadows of every corner, but also so that she would be able to remember clearly where something (or someone) was at. Emilee could not help but pride herself on her good memory, even after all of those years of intense drug abuse. After breaking so many taboos and committing so many sins, pride seemed like such a small thing.

The feeling that she wanted to loose herself in thought came over her, but Emilee was able to resist that urge until she reached the relative safety of her own miniscule apartment. Once within the four dirty walls of the tiny studio, she threw herself on the bed, allowing herself the indulgence of reliving those memories she had revisited on many previous occasions.

Visions flashed through her head, starting at the most recent and working themselves backwards. First came those memories of the time she had spent with Anthony, and their relationship together. It had been a passionate relationship at the start. Before long, it had turned horribly abusive. By the end, Emilee had been thrown out on the street. Turns out that was actually to be a good thing in the end. Despite the fact that it was a forced rehab, brought on by the fact that she had no cash, she had finally become clean after such a long period of remaining high.

For two weeks after she was thrown out, Emilee had lived behind a huge dumpster in a dirty alleyway. Chills, sweats, and shakes wracked her already thin body during that period in her life. It was mostly remembered in blurs and spurts, as she was not entirely coherent back then.

Eventually, a kind woman who turned out to be her new madame, Mrs. Stanley, had found her and helped her set her life back up as an independent young woman. Now, but a short while later, the urge to do the drugs was gone completely from her system. Emilee still smoked, still drank, and on the rarest of occasions she would still smoke a blunt. She had vowed that she would never return to the cocaine and pills, and often thanked her lucky stars she had never become involved in something like heroine.

Memories of Trevor were next. Emilee felt a strange mixture of sadness, fear, and disgust at these. Emilee had truly loved Trevor, and as far as she could tell, he had truly loved her back. That gave a sweet, warm feeling to his visions, yet he was also the one who had so easily taken her away from the family she had desperately wanted back these past few desperate years.

Trevor was the one who had introduced Emile- so young, so naive- to the drugs that had rules her life for over a decade. His death had been a turning point farther in the wrong direction. Trevor had been so young, and had he lived longer, perhaps he may have also turned his life around. Perhaps Trevor and Emilee could have had their perfect, fairy tale ending. Unfortunately for them both, this was real life and not some “happily ever after” fairy tale. That was not the way things were to turn out in the end- Trevor was dead, and Emilee was a whore.

Finally, Emilee saw her childhood flash before her. She found herself in the throes of countless emotions as she thought back to her earliest years. Shame and fear were prominent. Shame at how poor her family was, how dirty and hungry she always was, and how awful her parents were. There was fear of the abuse, and the social workers. There was a fear that she would die, along with her siblings, from hunger, or that they would freeze to death. As a child, these fears should have been absent, yet instead, they were multiplied exceedingly in her fragile young mind.

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Review 1: Written by Harshana on January 3rd, 2013 Posted on Amazon

I personally enjoyed this book even more than I did the previous one, probably because the family is now large and most of the members were old enough to make their own contribution to the story. The author has skillfully managed to spin a web connecting so many characters and a chain of events together. The story would slide over the pages so smoothly taking us along with the Bensons to experience their happening lives. The narration was perfect that I felt the warmth and comfort while reading the novel which a person would only feel when they belong to a loving and caring family. As the first novel, this again is a great example of victory against all the mishaps and proves the strength of unity. The incidents, life styles, characters and emotions are expressed so beautifully and intensely. Flashbacks of their early lives are blend at right intervals making the story even more touching. It’s a real family story with usual up and downs, tears and laughter. All in all I am sure that this novel would certainly be a wonderful read, especially if you are a family person and enjoys the family moments small or big.

Review 2: Written by Avowen21 on February 12th, 2013 Posted on Amazon

From the beginning to the very end, this book is full of surprises and well-crafted twists throughout the lives of the many characters. The initial brood of 6 Benson children that comprised the 1st generation have all grown up to begin building their own lives; as well as families; and now boast a whopping 25 Benson relatives within only 3 generations. Several more generations are mentioned in the ending of this book as well; ensuring the reader that there will be more stories to come; even if they do not necessarily involve all of the original characters in the first and second books of this series. The fantastic strides that are made as a family throughout this wonderful 2nd installment A Gathering of Sorrows are a very realistic and touching account of a group of people only tied by blood and hardship; but still determined not to let one another down.

There is a lot of hardship; but also a lot of healing and genuine joy; in this 2nd installment of the Benson series. Emilee makes her way back to the family fold, several new additions join the family in the form of the 1st and 2nd generation Benson’s newborn babies, and there are a variety of other emotionally uplifting and well-described events and occurrences which lend the characters more and more depth as the story progresses. In spite of some of the future characters only being children or infants in this installment of the Benson’s story, I am definitely motivated to read future additions to the Benson Family series!

Review 3: Written by Harper Lavelle on February 1st, 2013 Posted On Amazon

A Gathering Of Sorrows follows the lives of siblings Willow and Emilee from the previous entry by Chelsea Falin which is A Severing Of Ties. It is the final chapter of the lives of the Benson siblings who have gone through some much even in their young lives. Chelsea Falin has created once again a wonderful set of characters that grew so beautifully from the first story. Now, as Willow and Emilee moves ahead with their lives, they are once again intertwined with destiny.

The book shows its audience how masterfully the author has crafted the story and its characters. Most of the flashbacks ties well with the current story and how the characters came to be. And just like the first book, A Gathering Of Sorrows delivers what every reader wants from a book. Great character driven stories, twists that blindside readers, and a harrowing story of realistic characters. These are the characters that you relate to on a daily basis. Their experiences and the situations they fall under are pretty much what everyone goes through at some point in their lives.

If you are a family person then the tale of these two sisters will surely tug your heart. This is the family story at its heart. The story shows how one person fights for her family and tries to save it from ultimate demise. The emotions brought by words in this story give meaning to every character’s actions. The story has such heart that it delivers on every aspect of storytelling. This is one book that everyone should be reading and raving about. The book is great for those who lounge of coffee shops and bench parks while trying to read something worthwhile. This is another great addition to your collection of ebooks with amazing stories to tell.


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