Rating: 5 out of 5
"Better to have a boy, who would never be someone's victim."
"I would save that boy, even if I lost everything else."
Olivia knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life - married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon and raising their son Asher- was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she'd end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in her childhood home and taking over her father's beekeeping business. Lily is familiar with do-overs too. When she and her mom relocate to New Hampshire for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start. For a short while these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily by the need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for Lily, who can't help but fall for him too. With Asher, she feels happy but wonders if she can trust him completely... Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant her son is innocent... But would she be lying if she didn't acknowledge the flashes of his father's temper in Asher, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he's hidden more than he's shared with her.
So the book is described as being about what we choose to keep from our past and what we choose to leave behind as well as an unforgettable love story and an examination of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to be ourselves. I would say that the book lives up to these promises tenfold. The novel was everything I expected from a Jodi Picoult novel with a moving backstory for characters, with an obvious plot point which is shredded by the giant secret reveal she always manages, and an engaging and engrossing story which makes you think. I haven't ever read anything by Jennifer Finney Boylan, but if this novel is any indication, I will be adding her to my list.
Naturally the book covers some very heavy issues and I am going to be vague so that I don't ruin anything for those who haven't read it, but I think the book was an excellent examination of what it means to be a woman. The book has a love story between Asher and Lily, but for me that wasn't the unforgettable love story. It was the love that a mother can have for her child. Olivia loves Asher with every piece of herself, and will do anything to protect him. Ava, Lily's mom, loves her daughter with a fierceness that can't be ignored. So for me this was also a book about a mother's love. If you want to feel every emotion possible while reading one book, you should read this one immediately. I promise you will be thinking about it for a while after.
"He taught me that if a body is easily crushed, it develops a weapon to prevent that from happening."
"Imagine a sorrow so deep that it batters the hatches of sleep; imagine drowning before you even realize you've gone under."