Book Review: 'Love & the Goddess' by Mary E. Coen

by - January 14, 2014

If you buy a copy of Love & The Goddess while it’s touring and post a review to Amazon and Goodreads, email links of the reviews to to be entered into a draw to win a Kindle Fire.  Closing date 28th February 2014.

Touted in the press as ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ meets ‘Sex and the City’.


A woman’s voyage of self discovery begins on the internet leading all the way to Brazil and onto the Andean highlands of Peru.

Devastated from her relationship break- up, Kate Canavan is at a loss until she re-discovers a hidden painting of the triple Goddess from Greek mythology. Her interest in mythology and spirituality is re-ignited. A voyage of self discovery begins with internet dating using the names of each of the Goddesses in the triple myth.

When a health scare intervenes Kate and her friends go together to visit a famous healer in Brazil and a spiritual guru in Peru, where all three friends begin spiritual journeys of forgiveness, gratitude and learning to live in the now. But does Kate find love along the way?

Ferdia Mac Anna (author of cult book to movie Last of the high Kings) says:-

"Funny, informative heart-warming and wildly entertaining. This novel takes the reader on an exhilarating roller-coaster ride though modern romance, internet dating, Peruvian Gurus, wannabes, has-beens and lotharios and brings them home safe and almost sound. This book rocks!"

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First of all I want to say a huge thank you to Mary E. Coen for sending me a signed paperback copy of this novel – I was very excited when it arrived and couldn’t wait to start reading it. Mary is such a wonderful person, and I am so glad to have had the pleasure of meeting her and helping promote her work.

Love & the Goddess follows Kate’s journey of self-discovery. It opens with her life being completely derailed when her husband informs her that he wants a divorce as he has fallen in love with his secretary. This comes as a complete shock to Kate, as life with Trevor is all she has ever known. But soon Kate starts to realise just how much of herself she has lost due to Trevor being a control freak. In this moment, everything Kate knew about her life had changed, and she soon realises that she has been living in denial. Mary E. Coen brilliantly connects the reader with Kate’s journey as the reader is by Kate’s side as she starts to learn about herself and realise how much control Trevor had over her. Trevor was very controlling, arrogant and dismissive towards Kate.

Everyone in Kate’s life seems to know what’s best for her. I really felt for Kate when her family were against her, suggesting she was responsible for ruining her relationship with Trevor and that she should be fighting to get him back. Mary E. Coen portrays this sad truth very well, as there are always those who force their opinion on others without knowing the details, and they are simply conforming to what’s deemed as acceptable.

Kate’s friend Ella’s suggests that she tries Internet dating to brush up on her dating skills. This opens a whole new world to Kate and she almost finds herself obsessing over the potential bachelors. Mary E. Coen introduces Kate, and the reader, to some really interesting characters, many of whom leave you cringing and desperate to phone Kate with the ‘there’s an emergency, hurry’ get-out-of-jail-free card to help her escape some of the hideous men. Through these encounters Mary E. Coen brings humour to the novel, with some laugh out loud and cringe-worthy scenes. Her characterisation of the different men Kate meets is excellent as she depicts how easy it is to misread people. Although it is uncertain whether Kate will find any success from Internet dating, it helps her to gain self-confidence and she begins to stand up for herself. As the reader, it is really encouraging to see Kate grow as a character.

When Kate suffers a serious health scare, she re-evaluates the way she is living her life, and thus embarks on her true journey of self-discovery and healing with her travels to Brazil and Peru. Just as Trevor rejected Kate, she had begun to reject herself too. But on this journey she soon realises that she needs to learn to accept herself and her emotions in order to find true peace and happiness, and so we follow her as she works on her self-awareness.

Throughout the novel Kate meets some interesting characters, although the story continues to focus on Kate and her journey - although some may argue this to be a negative point I believe that this works beautifully to highlight the importance of the individual and personal journey that Kate is embarking on. The story touches on some very emotional subjects with regards to manipulative men, a desire for acceptance and approval, heartache from the loss of a loved one and a serious health scare. I really loved Kate’s character – watching her build her strength through the novel, and the way she opened herself up to new experiences showed great determination and courage through a time when most people would find it difficult to even think of getting out of bed!

Mary E. Coen’s style of writing is very easy to read, and although it broaches some sensitive subjects, she does it in such a gentle way that the reader is not left feeling uncomfortable. I think this is a very powerful story, and believe that there are a lot of women out there who could learn something from reading this story and applying some of the values of self-awareness and acceptance to their own lives.

My only criticism for this novel would be the number of spelling/grammar/typing errors I found which could be avoided with some strong proofreading, and I believe this is an area that needs to always be paid close attention to, especially when self-publishing. I’m a bit of a stickler for this so it distracts me when I notice the errors, but I can honestly say that it didn’t detract from the strength and impact of the story.

Love & the Goddess is a powerful and emotionally insightful story, with dashes of humour and a dollop of cringe!

really loved this book and would definitely recommend it!

Scroll down to enter the rafflecopter giveaway - 3 signed copies of Love & the Goddess up for grabs!

About the Author

Living in Ireland, Mary Elizabeth Coen is a former Home Economics teacher and lifestyle journalist.

Though she always dreamed of being a writer, Mary Elizabeth took a rather circuitous route getting there. You could say she has had several incarnations in this lifetime from Home Economics teacher to Fashion Editor of a magazine, along with being mother to three wonderful children, Mark, Janet and Emily. Due to demand from clients she opened her own PR consultancy firm specializing in fashion; - the dream job for a fashionista, availing of great discounts on wonderful shoes and vintage clothing.

Unfortunately the five inch stilettos had to go when Mary’s health deteriorated and she received a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Work too, had to take a back seat as Mary sought to maintain optimum health and became interested in holistic medicine and personal development. In the process, she developed a passion for mythology, philosophy and the study of ancient spiritual traditions. As a spiritual seeker, she travelled to Mayan sites in Mexico, visited a famous healer’s ashram in Brazil and undertook a shamanic journey through Peru. Mary’s book Love & the Goddess is based on her travels.

Mary is now in robust good health, working as a full-time author and stress management lecturer, while also running a website called Goddess MECA. The acronym is for Mary Elizabeth Coen Assists the Goddess in everywoman through sharing her love of cookery fashion and mythology. Mary brings her experience from teaching, using tools that are practical and easily integrated into every day busy lives. Her clients range from private individuals, to SMEs, to large organisations and bodies.

Author & Book Links

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Excerpt from Love & the Goddess

The final email was from “the diver”, another businessman. He didn’t have a photograph but his message captured my interest and aroused my curiosity.
Hi Persephone, Toot… toot! Hoot… hoot! What a foxy red head you are and you sound like a gal who knows what she wants out a life! Fair play, I’m all for a gal who knows her mind and seduces me with her brain as well as… oh you know! Why call yourself Persephone, when you’ve got the body and tresses of Botticelli’s Venus lol? With your Taekwondo, scuba diving and interest in Incan and Mayan civilizations, I can picture you as a female Indiana Jones. Better than tomb raider any day, I say! Definitely with that red hair, you’d put me in my place… quaking in my boots while hot under the collar lol! No seriously… you demand respect, even from a messer like me! If you want to get in touch send me your phone number and we can arrange to chat. Steve
I wrote back to Steve asking him had he a photograph. I was more interested in
“Elmtree” aka Ray, yet decided not to invest too much hope in him after my previous two experiences. If everything worked out, I could meet him the coming Friday. Meanwhile I was in a mood for experimenting, so two days later I agreed to meet “the diver”, Steve. We had spoken on the phone and he told me he was a representative for a company fitting aluminium windows. I asked for a photograph, and he sent one right back. He was rugged looking with heavy facial furniture, a rather large nose, heavy jowls and a thin line for a mouth. Not exactly my type, but I was sure a lot of women would find him attractive. I found his humour hilarious, even if his hooting and tooting sounded more like a siren call for Jessica Rabbit. No matter, I needed a good laugh. Emails went to and fro and I agreed to a lunch date rather than risk another evening fiasco.

I was beginning to see this as Ella had suggested, “an exercise in dusting off my disused dating skills.” Smirking to myself, I decided to call her and fill her in on my progress.

“Same as you, lovey. I’m in need of a laugh and an ego boost so I’ve two dates arranged for today. First a lunch date and then meeting another guy for coffee at four.” We agreed to keep in touch throughout the day and meet up later to discuss the dates. I felt like a woman on a mission, preparing to take note of all the details to report back to HQ afterwards. It added to the excitement, that feeling of being an intrepid reporter working undercover.

In the Meyrick Hotel foyer, at a table to the right of the central table, which was adorned with a huge floral arrangement, Steve sat folding papers into a briefcase. I recognised him immediately. Hmm, not bad looking, although a little older than his photograph (I was beginning to think that was par for the course) and somewhat untidy, with shirt buttons straining over his mid-section.

He looked up. “Kate?” His eyes took me in. “Hey, you look great! Know something? I’m not very hungry. How about you?”

“I could eat the legs from under the table. I’ll get weak if I don’t eat something soon.” The aroma of garlic, tomatoes and peanut soy sauce wafted past him and my stomach grumbled.

“Yeah?” He looked disappointed. “I suppose you can get some bar food.” He ushered me towards the bar, where the barman came over and handed each of us a menu. I searched for the choice most resembling the aroma that had greeted me.

“Just a glass of wine, please,” Steve said to the barman.

“I’ll have the chicken satay and a bottle of still water, please.”

When the barman left, Steve turned to me asking: “Is there a problem with the drinking water in Galway at the moment?”

“No. Why do you ask?”

“I always drink tap water.” His face changed from concerned to animated as he launched into the conversation with: “Well, Kate, we’ve certainly had great chemistry with the banter in our emails! It’s been fun! You have to have a sense of humour otherwise life could really get you down!”

“Yes, you’re very humorous…”

“Now, I want to be open and honest with you from the start, so I need to tell you a few things. How are you with that?”

“Absolutely. I agree one hundred per cent. Honesty all the way.” I put on a chirpy voice to deflect from my sudden sinking feeling.

“First, I have to tell you a bit about me. My wife and I didn’t have sex for the last eight years of our marriage. Now I’m not going to crib about her because she’s a lovely woman, but that’s very hard for any man to put up with. And I remained faithful to her while some of my buddies were off having affairs. But I respect women and I didn’t do that to her, even though she often came to bed with her hair in rollers and would turn her back on me for fear I’d suggest anything.” Too much information and this from the person I’d expected to entertain me with his mad-cap humour. I was embarrassed and confused. Nothing seemed to add up.

“I can understand that was difficult for you.” Was that what I was supposed to say?

The waiter arrived with drinks and lunch. The chicken satay came on four skewers and was served with french fries. I was ravenous. “Would you like some?” I pushed my plate towards Steve. Without any hesitation he helped himself to a skewer of chicken, continuing to talk as he did so.

“Now, I was good to my wife in every way and in fact I still do more than my share of parenting, though the kids are fairly independent at eighteen, nineteen and twenty one years old.” He fiddled with the skewer, his eyes transfixed on the remaining two cubes of chicken as though he were forensically examining them. Why was he prattling on in such a defensive manner, unable to make eye contact?

“How long are you divorced?”

He launched back into chewing the chicken from the skewer. “Just separated six months.” His mouth was full as he spoke. “Now the point is, I’m very attracted to you but I could never enter into another relationship like the one with my wife. Do you understand?” He grabbed a handful of French fries and tossed them in his open mouth. What a barbarian! What had happened to his inimitable sense of humour? I was beginning to find him common and coarse. Was he unaware he was wolfing down my lunch? The lunch he didn’t want? I was annoyed that he presumed I would consider a relationship with him. His other hand sneaked towards a second skewer of chicken. I moved my plate away from him.

“It’s seems a bit early to be thinking about you and I starting a relationship – you live quite a distance away and we’ve only just met.”

“Yeah…” He stuffed down another handful of my French fries. “But I would need to know right from the beginning that the relationship would include sex. Do you understand?”

“Yes, I understand – but it’s a bit early. We don’t know if we even like each other yet.” I signalled to the waiter. “Could you please bring me another portion of chicken satay?”

“Certainly, madam. Will there be anything else?”

“Not just now, thank you…”

“Do you eat this much all the time?” Steve asked. Before I could answer, his phone rang. He pulled it out of his shirt pocket and looked at the screen. “Excuse me. I need to answer this.” He got up to walk out of the bar.

While he was gone, I checked my phone. A message from Ella read: “Just met Mr Loves Himself.”

“Eejit here just ate my lunch,” I texted back.

“Make him pay. This guy runs 5 miles & cycles 8 miles a day!”

I acknowledged the waiter as he delivered a second plate of satay, then resumed texting: “Forget him. No time for a woman!”

“Yep. haf 2 go.”

Steve arrived back and slid in beside me, nonchalantly helping himself to another full skewer. “Kate. Of course we’d get on great,” he said, again with his mouth full. “I just have to have this issue out in the open before I get involved with you. I’m a very giving person and I wouldn’t like to be taken for a fool.”

I looked at him, stuck for words. Then cleared my throat. “To be honest, I find this line of conversation a bit over the top. You have no guarantees with any relationship that you will get every aspect right. I’m sure some women have similar complaints about men.”

“Exactly my point.” Glancing at his mobile phone, Steve assumed a harried expression: “I need to leave for a meeting. Phone me when you’ve thought all this through. Maybe next time we could meet in the evening?”

Stealing the final skewer of chicken, he vanished before I had a chance to comment. Flabbergasted, I sank back into my seat, feeling the wind had been knocked right out of me. Calling over the waiter I asked for the bill along with a stiff brandy. I felt I needed it.

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  1. Hi Jess. Thank you so much for hosting me today and reviewing my book Love & the Goddess.

    I am so glad you enjoyed the story.
    I need to address your comment about spelling/grammar/typing errors here.
    I hired a proof reader and found several mistakes afterwards
    Following that, the self publishing company I used to format my book said they would proof it. I paid handsomely for this service.
    It seems that new errors were added. When I questioned this after publication, I did not get a satisfactory answer. It is formatted in a way that makes it impossible for me to personally change it. Further to that, I cannot open the mobi file they gave me.

    It is true that you can find mistakes in a lot of books published by traditional publishing houses. I have seen several in digital books by world famous authors.
    That is not an excuse and it does not sit well with me as I worked hard on my novel.
    After your comments however I will certainly endeavour to correct these as soon as I can afford to do so.

    Thanks again,

    Mary E. Coen

  2. It was my pleasure Mary, and thank you for the opportunity to read your novel. You should definitely be incredibly proud of it, I truly loved reading it and following Kate on her journey.

    I can understand how frustrating it must be when you have paid so much money for a proof reading service which has not delivered for you. And I do completely appreciate that once you've trusted a company to assist with publishing your work, the control you have in editing can become difficult.

    I get so frustrated with companies that charge authors a fortune and then don't provide a satisfactory level of service. And especially when the companies end up producing errors in your work that weren't there before.

    The important thing to know is that it doesn't take anything away from how beautiful the story is, and definitely doesn't affect how much the reader can enjoy your book as your writing is so strong in itself.

    I did make a note of the errors I spotted which I could email over to you if this would help at all?

    Thank you again for the opportunity to read your novel and for the beautiful signed paperback copy. It will have a treasured place on my book shelf! xx

  3. What a lovely give-away.....nothing more special than a signed book. Thank you for the chance of winning. Xxxx

  4. Thank you for your lovely comments Jess.
    I am delighted you treasure your copy of Love & the Goddess so much. You have made such beautiful comments here.
    Of course, I would be delighted to receive a copy of the notes you made.
    Best wishes,
    Mary x

  5. Hi Sheerie - good luck with the giveaway! Thanks for visiting my blog too, I hope you enjoy it! xx

  6. Fabulous review Jess :) I know you said you could have written more - your review is perfect!

    Thank you for taking part in Mary's tour.


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