Published by Lake Union Publishing on March 21, 2017
Source: the publisher
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With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…
This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book was not like I thought it was going to be when I read the synopsis. In reading the synopsis, I thought this was supposed to be a book about a working woman trying to balance a work life with motherhood. But the first half of the book was pretty different from this. Well, the second half too, but there is far more emotion and there are far more issues in this book than I picked up on by reading the synopsis.
In the beginning of this story, Lucy meets Jonah at a baby dedication ceremony. Falling fast and hard for one another, they soon marry and find themselves expecting a child. Unfortunately, Lucy isn’t able to carry that child to term, and the couple goes on to experience hardship trying to grow their family. While this is going on, Jonah’s teenage daughter from a previous marriage comes to spend the summer, and there is a major shift in the house. Basically, everything changes for Lucy and she is forced to confront some issues from her past and face some difficulties for her future.
Honestly, I thought the book was just okay until Camille arrived. There was great emotional depth packed into the first part of the story, with Lucy’s pregnancy and loss issues and all of the other issues surrounding this. But for some reason, I just didn’t click with Lucy at this point. I almost hate admitting this, but because of my lack of emotional connection to Lucy, the first half of the book felt redundant in certain parts. No spoilers, but it was a really good thing for me when Camille entered the story. The addition of Camille to the story brought tension and drama (the good kind!) to the story in several different and interesting ways. Plus she gave Lucy a chance to confront her emotional upheaval, she gave Lucy a chance to bond with her in a mother-daughter way, and she encouraged Lucy to work out some things from her past, even though it was hard.
While I didn’t click with Lucy’s story initially, I absolutely loved the truth she shared — whether it was spoken to her husband or her friends, or whether it was something she was thinking. I feel like she said/thought things some people are afraid to say. I also loved that she was vulnerable and fearful, which are both very real things, and that ultimately she had to work through these hard emotions to come out very strong by the end of the book. It took Camille’s arrival to make that happen, but I appreciated her journey.
Ultimately, it wasn’t the main plot point that I loved the most — I cared mostly for the side plots. Lucy’s growing relationship with Camille was particularly engaging, and Lucy’s story with her mother and sister were endearing. I wish there would have been more of these scenes in the book, particularly more development of Lucy’s family, but I’m happy for what was available in the second half of the book because I think it made this book better. And for the record, Lucy’s husband Jonah was barely connected to much of anything throughout the entire book. I would have loved more development from him at all points in the story – from his dismissive attitude to Lucy’s pregnancy/loss concerns, to his nonchalance at everything related to Camille’s behaviors, to his odd reactions to the Big Major News that both Camille and Lucy share toward the end of the book. His character feels unevenly written, almost like a prop for the rest of the story. Okay, but I wish I could have had more than that from him – he had such promise in the first scene.