Author: Maggi Myers
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Genre: Women's Fiction
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Caroline used to have it all: she was madly in love with her husband, Peter, and they worshiped their beautiful baby girl. But as Lily grows into a toddler, Caroline notices that her daughter seems to live and act with a disconnect, and soon the perfect future Caroline had envisioned, along with her marriage, begin to crumble. Now she and Peter are no longer lovers, they're plaintiffs in the throes of divorce while still struggling to care for Lily. After years of blame and overwhelming despair, Caroline's chance encounter with a stranger at University Hospital opens her eyes to the prospect of accepting new support, new loves, and new dreams.
From the acclaimed author of "The Final Piece" comes a story of a family broken and unable to cope with a daughter's disability. And a mother who finds that letting go of the life she imagined may be the only way to get to the life she was meant for.
Let me start out by saying that this story was truly phenomenal. Not phenomenal in a way that left you on the edge of your seat, gasping for breath, wondering what would happen next. Not phenomenal in a way that had you swooning and claiming your next book boyfriend. No, this story was phenomenal in a way that touches your soul; in a way that days and months later has you questioning everything and looking within yourself. No drama. No over the top romance. Just life. And you know what? Sometimes life sucks. But on the flip side of that, life can also be kind of beautiful. You just have to look through the rain to see the sparkles of color in the puddles.
The truth is that none of us are immune to tragedy. No matter how hard you work, no matter how good you are, life isn’t obligated to give you a fairy-tale ending.
I knew from reading Maggi’s previous work that this book would be nothing short of amazing. What I didn’t expect, however, was how deeply it affected me. Dealing with a subject of which I have no firsthand knowledge didn’t lessen the impact or gravity of my empathy and ability to understand. Because when an author is a master at their skill, which she is, it doesn’t matter your walk in life; you become part of that world. Maggi is one of those rare authors that doesn’t pump out multiple books a year. They are becoming few and far between. What this says to me is that she carefully chooses each word that is put on paper; she puts her everything into her books and it shows. When an author does that, it bleeds through the pages. I was there with Caroline through every struggle, of which there were many, and I was also there for the joys, of which there were equally just as much. You just had to look a little harder to see them. Maggi creates characters that only one who has lived it can. I think this is one of the reasons why they are so relatable. They aren’t just created from thin air; she takes small pieces, molds them together, and asks what if? There’s a raw honesty in her voice and the truth she spills permeates into the pages.
Grief is a battle of endurance, and this kind of pain is as inescapable as Lily’s disability.
It was refreshing to read a character that wasn’t afraid to voice her shortcomings. Though mostly through inner musings, the emotional impact was devastatingly beautiful. Here was a woman struggling with a failed marriage and a child with special needs. Gone was her sense of self and she was merely surviving. Caroline put a face to fears that many parents face but almost never have the courage to voice. It was raw and gritty and left me simultaneously laughing and crying. Maggi doesn’t sugarcoat anything, taking the reader for one heck of a ride. This is not a breezy book and at times it is downright hard to read, but only because you will be faced with some hard truths. This is a thinking book, and in a world of fluff, it was immensely refreshing. When I finished reading, my soul felt lighter and full of hope.
In the stillness there is a quiet melancholy that hangs in the air, and I can’t remember the last time I was happy here.
In the midst of all this heavy stuff, enter the stranger. As her daughter has a seizure disorder, Caroline frequented the hospital. On a particularly low day they run into each other in the cafeteria and share a much needed silent conversation. Though there was romance, it wasn’t on the forefront, and for once I appreciated that. They both had more serious things occurring in their lives yet recognized the spark. There was no whirlwind romance folks; there was a gentle truth. The truth that only someone, though even just meeting you, understands. It was breathtakingly quiet and honest and utterly endearing. It was not overly fictionalized; it was real. Sometimes when we think it’s all over, life turns a new leaf. If we’re lucky, under that leaf is a ray of hope, and boy, did Maggi ever deliver that ray. This book will grip you from the first page through the last and you will find yourself experiencing a myriad of emotions. You will find yourself questioning everything and taking a really hard look at your life as only the best of books can.
In the sanctity of his embrace, I weep for the place in my soul that wanted to be enough for Peter to fight for.
There’s many other aspects of this book that I could discuss, but some things you just need to experience yourself with no expectations. Throughout the layers and layers of depth this book held, it couldn’t have been more perfect if she tried. Maggi delivers a masterpiece and one I highly recommend!
It took one to love me enough to leave so the other could come into my life.