Monday, November 14, 2016

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Publish Date: November 1, 2016

What They Say.....From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.

What I Say....Alice Hoffman.  She is hands down one of my all time favorite authors. But I didn't love The Dovekeepers (my mom loved it) and The Museum of Extraordinary Things and I was really worried.  I liked the books, but I didn't LOVE the books.  So I skipped The Marriage of Opposites because I didn't want to find out that my love affair with all things Hoffman was over.

When I got a copy of Faithful, the description intrigued me, because it didn't look like it was historical like the two I was indifferent towards.  I decided to give it a try,

I was absolutely mesmerized.  I couldn't put it down and I finished it in under two days - and these were work days.

Shelby is a typical teen until the night that changed her life.  Now trying to live with the guilt of being the driver in a car accident that has left her best friend in a vegetative state, Shelby is living with a guilt too great to move forward.  But Shelby finds out, as we all do, that no matter how sad you are, no matter how empty you are, life moves forward and you get pulled along.

I think one of the things I love about Hoffman's characters is that there is never some giant epiphany where things suddenly get better.  It's more about tiny seismic shifts from the everyday situations that we all face.  It's the choices you make in facing them that define who you are.

This story reminded me of another Hoffman favorite, The Third Angel.  If you haven't read that one, put it on your list.  Add Here on Earth.  One of the trademarks of Hoffman's writing is that at the end, the story all comes together and you are left deeply satisfied, because you always care way too much about the characters in an Alice Hoffman novel.   

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