Written by: Amy Hatvany
Published by: Washington Square Press March 19, 2013
Length: 384 pages
Source: E-galley from Publisher via Edelweiss
Grace and Victor have been dating exclusively for a while, a chance meeting when she had a particularly awful blind date in his restaurant and Victor saved the day for her. When Victor proposes Grace says yes and she is also happy that Victor has two children from a previous marriage. Parenting full time has never been a dream of hers. When just days after they are engaged Victor’s ex-wife Kelli dies mysteriously the shock and eminent change rocks Grace’s world. Also in shock and denial are 13 year old Ava and her little brother Max. The journey to becoming a new family and learning about the secrets that have kept them all in the dark will be bumpy, but it’s the only way to find love.
The story is told in the alternating voices of Grace and Ava, and in flashbacks by Kelli and her life. The immediate crisis of Kelli’s death sets all their lives into a tail spin. Victor feels guilty as he knew Kelli has many emotional problems but he was unable to help her married let alone divorced. Young Ava was her mom’s rock, no one knew that Ava was really keeping her small family unit of mom, brother and her afloat. Ava knew Kelli wasn’t doing well the day she left for school and Kelli subsequently died, so she too is filled with guilt. No one knows how to pick up the pieces and begin again, Victor absorbed in his restaurant, Grace thrust into motherhood she never wanted, and two children without their mother. Both Grace and Ava find clues to Kelli’s past in her home, and at the same time both are keeping things from Victor and each other. Ava is a typical teenager in that she finds sneaking around the only way to get the truth, feeling as if confiding in her father won’t help.
What Ava and Grace find is so very sad and devastating, and while my views of Kelli began as unlikable, they changed, softened, her past caused me to have empathy for her struggles. It seemed as though Victor was a bit too distant in most of the story, but he does love Grace and his children, I just believe he wasn’t sure how to show it.
Amy Hatvany has yet again written a book of broken people who yearn for love just like all of us. Many parts of this book were difficult to read, some characters childhoods were less than ideal, forced to grow up, doubting their parents love, and seeing how this all impacted their adult lives. I’ve given this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I would highly recommend this book. You can learn more about Amy on her website, her books are beautiful and deal with people facing real crisis in a compassionate and tender tone.