Author: Rachel Higginson
Genre: Adult Romance
Publisher: Indie Book
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.
Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady's prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?
Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.
When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn't just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she's capable of ever giving again.
As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there's more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there's more to life than death.
The fact that I own this book is a true testament of the power of social media to convince us to purchase a book. This is one of those books that popped up in my news feed over and over again with people raving about it's greatness. I saw the cover enough that I became intrigued more and more, despite it's topic matter.
Here's the thing, people. I don't do a lot of "real life" in my books. Oh, I love books about love and life and I absolutely love a good "coming of age" teenage book where the protagonist must learn to live with the cards they are dealt. But I have very adamantly steered clear of The Fault in their Stars because John Green has ripped my heart out before. I won't read anything by Nicholas Sparks until I can get confirmation that the book isn't going to make me cry my eyes out. I have to deal with the tears of real life, so I don't really seek them out in book life.
I acknowledge that these are sometimes the most excellent of books usually. I mean, I innocently grabbed up a Jodi Picoult book a while back, and she is an extremely talented author. All the way up until she tore the skin from my body in grief. I just don't seek these books out on purpose.
What I Loved:
This is hard. Too hard. This book was very good of walking us through all of the stages of Liz's emotions, while at the same time I hated it. Rachel Higginson is an excellent writer. I swear to you, she has taken my relationship with my husband and almost our origins and put them on paper...then wrote the scenario I hope never, ever happens. Or at least waits until we are both 90 years old. Do you know how hard it was to read about Liz's adoration for Grady, how she has eyes only for him..the feel of his arms around her and the fact that she falls in love with him more every day, year - then her reality. This book made me cry.
But I love the healing, the hope of this book. I loved Liz's children, and seeing them all work through this grief process together. I LOVED Ben, and his patience. Gosh, Liz's interactions with her mother-in-law. It was all on point, true to what would it would probably it would look like for me, and made such a great story.
Not So Much:
I think I was too engrossed in the story to really come up with any constructive criticism. This is, again, another fairly linear book - no a lot of action, or no sharp climax. Just a pretty gradual line to reach the end of the book...however, in this kind of book I'm not sure I would like a lot of drama/action. I'm not sure I could make it.
I'll tell you the truth, if this book were to be a movie, I probably won't watch it. And I'm sorry to say this, Ms. Rachel Higginson, but I probably won't willingly re-read this book either. But don't let that be a hindrance to anyone. This book is excellently written, and worth the tears to get to the end. This book is an adult book and deals with adult situations. There is an emotionally based sex scene - no graphic details.