Elizabeth Noble has once again weaved a wonderful tale using the viewpoints of four sisters, their stepfather and excerpts from their late mother's journal. When I saw this book cover and was intrigued I had no idea that I had already read one of her novels, The Reading Group, before. (Another good read, if you were wondering.)
The book follows the girls and their stepfather in the year following their mothers death to the dreaded 'C' word. One would think that it would be messy and hard to follow the different viewpoints, but they just kept me more into the book and more wanting to find out more. I love how Noble is capable of letting out little nuggets of the story and for the little plot lines to develop in your head.
Barbara, their mother, knew death was coming and prepared by leaving a journal for her daughters to read and by leaving them all letters. Some of the contents were life shattering, and others the good ole advice you'd expect from a mum.
First there is Lisa, the oldest daughter who is the BIGGEST commitment phobe possible. Has the self-destructive behaviors down pat. Luckily for her, she has common sense and a wonderful "bloke." (God I love British slang!)
Jen, is the second oldest who has the vibe of a fridge wench. She is clearly unhappy and through the various nugget droppings you find out why. However, in the beginning it made me want to punch her husband, then her, and then I just wanted to hug her.
Amanda, is the third daughter and the free spirit. She is always off traveling and is not there when their mother passes. This causes her some pain but the chance meeting of Ed helps her adjust and find her real self.
Hannah, is the baby and the only child of Barb and Mark's marriage. The others all came from their mum's first marriage to Donald. Hannah is the typical teenage girl who is thrust into adulthood and loses her innocence all to young. She tests limits, she breaks rules, but deep down she loves her dad and misses her mum terribly.
Mark is the wonderful stepfather who took in Barbara's teenage daughters as if they were his own. He misses his wife terribly and tries to give the advice she would. He recalls all of the tidbits she shared through the years of how to deal with daughters and tries his hardest to be dad/mom/friend to all of them.
I really cannot do this book justice. It is soo good, and I don't want to reveal too much more because this is a book where the more you read, the more you discover and realize how little you knew and how badly you misjudged the information you had already. Or maybe that is just me.
Definitely recommend and if you've lost a mom or a close person, keep the Kleenex handy.