*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Something unexpected changes the course of Jillian’s life.
After witnessing her sister’s murder, she’s been tormented by survivor’s guilt. Her desperate longing for a child compounds her grief, while endless fertility treatments weigh down her soul.
Just when hope seems beyond her grasp, her dream of motherhood comes true. All Jillian’s pain is washed away and joy fills her heart.
But when someone shows up threatening to take it all away, Jillian must choose between holding on to her newfound happiness or giving it all up for the sake of someone she loves.
I just couldn’t stop reading this heartbreaking family drama! Every time I tried to put it down, I found myself pulled back into Jillian’s (and towards the latter part, Keeley’s) tragic story.
At times, it felt like no one could withstand the pain of everything that was happening. There is so much suffering here, from violent death to infertility, addiction to domestic abuse; children are lost, put in danger and abandoned. It should be a drowning torrent of grief and despair, yet somehow the author manages to thread the whole narrative with an everyday strength and faith that carries the characters and reader through. There is so much realism in the reliance on small graces – a shared joke with a family member; relationship advice for a friend – familiar to anyone who has struggled with a big trauma and needed to focus on one little step after another to get through each day.
Most of the characters here are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (with one glaring exception!), just normal people doing the best they can with what they know, and sometimes getting it wrong. Nor does the author shy away from the reality that you can do all the right things and still suffer for it – sometimes life is cruel and not everyone can win, even if they deserve to.
A central theme of the novel is motherhood, and we see all different aspects of it – absent mothers, guardian ‘mother’ roles, infertility, IVF, birth children, foster and adopted children, and mothers grieving the loss of a child. The story explores what being a mother means, and the truth that being a mother is not about conception, pregnancy or birth, so much as it is about the love you bear for a child and what you are willing to do in their best interests.
This book is ideal for book group discussions and for anyone looking for a family drama, full of tragedy and pain, but also full of love and strength, sacrifice and hope. Keep the tissues handy!
‘Jillian stared at the sleeping child, unable to look away. She didn’t even see Courtney come back to the patio and was startled when her sister-in-law spoke. “You two are looking cozy. She’s really comfortable with you.” This was another subtle hint, Jillian believed, Courtney’s way of telling her she should have one of her own.– Rebecca L. Marsh, Remember the Butterfly
“She’s a good baby,” Jillian said, keeping her eyes on the infant.
“She’s an angel until she’s crying at three in the morning and you can’t figure out why.”
Jillian didn’t respond. What she wouldn’t give to know how that felt. Even the parts of parenting everyone complained about were things she craved. Oh, she knew she’d complain too someday if she ever did find out what it was like. But now, she longed to know how it felt to stay up with a baby of her own.’
Rebecca L. Marsh is an award winning author of women’s fiction and a member of the Paulding County Writer’s Guild. She grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina and now lives in Dallas, Georgia with her husband and daughter.
When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family (cats and dog included), watching movies, and reading a good book. Rebecca occasionally makes home-made candy and works on her scrapbooks (she is woefully behind).
Rebecca is the author of four novels, When the Storm Ends, The Rift Between Us, Where Hope is Found, and Remember the Butterfly.
Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on this tour (see the poster below for details) for more great content and reviews, and check out my reviews of Where the Storm Ends and The Rift Between Us, by the same author.