A Saturday, while reading this book, I had one of those never ending, frustrating days that parents of young children experience, possibly more often than we’d like. Walls had been written on, home work had been carelessly attempted, food had been spilled, toys broken, naps missed and tantrums on full display at church. I was irritated. Actually, I was pissed off. Even my, usually calm and reassuring, husband had reached beyond his limit. Later, as I lay next to my almost two-year-old, soothing him to sleep, and trying to collect myself, I read this:
“When we were girls, my dreams were happy, wonderful thoughts about the future. Since becoming a widow, my dreams are always of the past.”
I am neither a young girl nor an older widow, but this line still resonated with me. It reminded me to enjoy each day and not be overcome by the relatively minor frustrations. I still think about a future when my boys will be grown and I can bask in their accomplishments with them. I also know a day will come when my thoughts will mostly flow to the past and I’ll miss these days of runny noses, happy shouts and freely given hugs and kisses.
That’s the beauty of this story. James J. Cudney appeals to your emotions in this family drama. He appeals to you. At least one part of this story will relate to your own life, probably more than one part as so much happens.
After 40 years of marriage, Olivia Glass thought she could handle the unexpected death of her husband, but when Ben’s will reveals a long-held, life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience. Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers. While an attorney searches for the answers, Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change the dynamics of an already grief-stricken family. During the visits, Olivia learns that each of her sons has been harboring a painful secret, just like his father. Olivia challenges herself to re-assemble and save their relationships. But will the secrets destroy their family beyond repair?
Almost every chapter brings with it a secret, a revelation or a new conundrum. How many secrets can one family hide? The plot is well-developed as each character brings his or her own dilemma into the spotlight while finding their problems linked to another’s. The characters are beautifully sketched, making it easy to find the ones you love, hate or simply most identify with. Olivia, the family matriarch, is the common thread and is determined to bring all to light to rebuild her shattering family.
Olivia is also the character with whom I most identified; while Ethan and Caleb brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes.
Some things I liked:
• The wonderfully well-drawn characters.
• Multiple characters introduced but each is distinguishable.
• Genuine, believable character growth.
• Being shown and not told the key elements of the story.
• Well-orchestrated family dynamics.
• Excellent use of multiple perspectives.
• The chapters were named for the character at the focus of that chapter.
• The suspense of waiting to find out which son is it????!!!
Some things I did not like:
• If anything, I thought the dialogue in some instances was too formal and not natural enough. But this was fairly minor and did not detract from the story.
I’ve avoided books that make me cry for quite a while and this one ruined my streak. Get your tissues out and enjoy the ride. It’s marvelous.