A bright June day. A split-second distraction. A family forever changed.
Life is good for Maura Corrigan. Married to her college sweetheart, Pete, raising three young kids with her parents nearby in her peaceful Chicago suburb, her world is secure. Then one day, in a single turn of fate, that entire world comes crashing down and everything that she thought she knew changes.
Maura must learn to move forward with the weight of grief and the crushing guilt of an unforgivable secret. Pete senses a gap growing between him and his wife but finds it easier to escape to the bar with his friends than face the flaws in his marriage.
Meanwhile, Maura's parents are dealing with the fault lines in their own marriage. Charismatic Roger, who at 65, is still chasing the next business deal and Margaret, a pragmatic and proud homemaker, have been married for four decades, seemingly happily. But the truth is more complicated. Like Maura, Roger has secrets of his own and when his deceptions and weaknesses are exposed, Margaret's love and loyalty face the ultimate test.
Those We Love Most chronicles how these unforgettable characters confront their choices, examine their mistakes, fight for their most valuable relationships, and ultimately find their way back to each other. It takes us deep into the heart of what makes families and marriages tick and explores a fundamental question: when the ties that bind us to those we love are strained or broken, how do we pick up the pieces?
Deeply penetrating and brimming with emotional insight, this engrossing family drama heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
©2012 B&L Woodruff, LLC (P)2012 Hyperion
"Lee Woodruff knows how to get to the heart of the matter on every occasion." (Alice Hoffman)
"Lee Woodruff has written a beautiful, humorous, poignant page-turner about the complexities of love and marriage, tricky family dynamics, and the power of the human heart. Everything you want in a great read is here, including wonderful storytelling that builds to a satisfying ending. Loved it." (Adriana Trigiani)
"Those We Love Most is an engrossing story about family fragility, rupture, and redemption. Woodruff's beautiful and unflinching portrayal of the grief, betrayal, guilt, tenacity, and love that engulf this family in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy will keep you turning pages till the end." (Sue Monk Kidd)
I am giving this a "5" overall, in spite of:
1) the reader's slow pace - her voice is pleasantly, soothingly neutral, but lingers too much over the details.
2) The book is overdescribed: example: we only need a general, few sentence description of a holiday dinner, just enough to set the scene and create the ambience, not a half-hour dinner-thon! This might be just one of my quirks as a reader - I really don't like long descriptions of parties and gatherings unless there is key conversation involved that can advance the plot. I'm not interested in gossip, out-downs, what people are wearing and how their looks compare.
3) Dream sequence: unnecessary and too "aerie-faerie" for my tastes.
Totally good and on-target: a "perfect" life is never that. The protagonists go through a series of highly jarring events (giving specifics would be spoiling), and create learnings out of their experiences.
On a personal level, I have had a trifecta or even quadri-fecta of miseries during the past year, and can intimately relate to this novel. I'm glad to say I am still here, still reading and reviewing, and have learned much.
It seemed to me that one plot line was not quite resolved, and one transgression into the dark side was left to the past and never dealt with on an honest level.
This is a difficult book to review without giving spoilers, and so my talking points are correspondingly general.
Still a solid "5" in my book.
So all I have to say is got within 1-1/2 hours of finishing this book and stopped. I really didn't care how it ended because I feel like I spent the whole book waiting for it to start. It has some interesting aspects about marriage, infidelity, loss of a child etc however I didn't feel like I was getting any new insights from these characters experiences. I listen to a lot of books where these sorts of life-topics come up and I listen to them because I feel they can give me insight into other points of view of life problems. As I said above this one did not offer me anything new and so for me not worth the credit.
The authenticity of the emotions and the universal relevance found in this book made me want to keep listening. The insurmountable became surmountable. The growth of and repair of the many damaged emotions and relationships was a triumph that was reassuring. The notion that all is not lost even if we make serious mistakes in judgement as the characters in this book did was comforting.
Karen did a masterful job with the many voices in this story and gave them personalities! That's what I love about audio books.
Yes, it was.
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