How do you go on living when you have done the unforgivable? How do you love a mother you barely remember? John is an orphan who misses the mother he hardly knew. Robert is the drunk driver who killed her. As the story opens we meet 4-year-old John, who wonders why his mother had to die. Robert wakes up in lockup, expecting to sleep off a blackout and go home, until he learns of the accident he caused.
John grows up under the care of his devoted maternal grandmother, who grapples with guilt over her daughter’s past. Just as John is on the cusp of manhood, he must confront his mother’s death anew and question everything he has come to believe about himself and the people he loves.
Robert is sentenced to 4 years in state prison. His incarceration begins a journey that will have a profound effect on not only himself, but on the life of the boy he orphaned, and on the legacy of the young mother who died.
Do you have those moments when you really believe your life is an island? Nothing you do, no choice you make will affect anyone other than yourself? Well this book will show you just how wrong you are. This is a story of a family of three generations, all making choices they feel will make life better, but in the end it will only destroy the next group of people born into the family.
You will follow Robert and Barbara as they struggle in their marriage trying to raise their only daughter Mary. Robert is a drunk, abusive and never wanted a child. Barbara is the doting mother to her only child, trying to be the buffer between her husband’s abuse and her daughter’s safety. Never showing Mary how to stand up for herself, Barbara ended up showing Mary that everything was the woman’s fault and sometimes you just have accept the abuse to survive. Being happy wasn’t an option.
Mary left for college, so angry at her father she didn’t even bother to say goodbye to him. She finds a new life thousands of miles away from the abuse she grew up in and had dreams of how a relationship was meant to be. She toyed around with a few guys till she found the one she thought would make her dreams come true. That was until his controlling ways became abusive and she had to decide if it was time to leave him for good and start over again. Once free from him she continued her search for her Prince Charming and ended up pregnant. Now her priorities shifted and getting an education and taking care of her son was the only thing she focused on.
Barbara finally had enough and left Robert, but their connection didn’t stop there. Soon Robert would be in trouble with the law and find himself in jail for murder. It was either time for him to wake up and get help or live with the guilt that will eventually kill him.
After graduating and having her son, Mary moved back to her home town, she was excited to get her career going and take her son to the places she loved as a child. Thank goodness her childhood best friend’s family took her to the beach and other trips so she would be able to share the good memories with John. One day on the way to her destination, with excitement of showing baby John the beauty in the world, she was hit by a drunk driver and killed. John was now an orphan as he never would know what his father was, grandfather in prison and the only one to take him would be his Grandmother Barbara.
This story left me in an emotional mess. I wanted so much for John to have a happy life, but as we see him growing up, he is begging to know why other kids have two sets of grandparents, a mommy and daddy, all he had was a grandma. To see Barbara struggle with giving him answers but holding back the truth she knew would destroy him. She finally did invite Robert into John’s life, but in the end that came with a huge price for everyone.
You might be thinking I just gave you the whole story in my review, but you would be totally wrong. There are so many twists and turns in this story, what I gave you was just an outline. The author had me guessing during most of this book as to what would happen next. I couldn’t put it down and between being a mom and wife for my family the last 24 hours, I was a totally engrossed reader of this book. Even when I put it down those few times, my mind never left it. The author gave us a family that the reader could not only care about but see a part of them in at least one character. She created events that a reader would have to be heartless not to be affected by. While the ending left me still feeling emotionally raw, I found great hope in the book. To see the love the grandmother had for John, the battle of overcoming the anger and accepting her fate, she was able to give more to her grandson than she ever could give to
her daughter. It was like her own form of redemption to her daughter.
If you love a fictional story that just screams reality in life, this is your book. I don’t think I will soon forget this story or the family that was created. I think this author will soon become one of my favorites for the simple fact she makes me think and feel while reading her books.
Jennifer Lesher is an author, mountain biker, travel junkie, non-sufferer of fools, and graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. Recently Jennifer left her job in the high-tech industry to pursue certification as an airplane mechanic. She will complete her schooling in the spring of 2015 and, FAA willing, will be certified shortly thereafter. She lives in Seattle, Washington.