Over the last several books, Kerry Lonsdale has managed to tell amazing tales that always used some variant of the same basic idea. The books have been phenomenal, but it was getting to a point where one wondered how she would be able to continue in that vein.
So what does she do?
She tells a completely new story and writes the best book she’s written in her career – which is saying something, because her previous four books really were that awesome.
Here, she uses as one of her primary characters a young woman whose motivation is all too easy for me to understand, because we very nearly shared some version of it. Here, Joy lives with guilt from a car crash she survived… but her sister didn’t. In my own case, many years ago I was in a double T-bone car crash yards from my house with both of my younger brothers in the car. Long story short, my Toyota Corolla caught both a Ford Bronco and a Toyota Tacoma broadside, and had one of those two – I do not remember which – hit even a couple of inches further back in the car than it did, I would have shared Joy’s fate. Even as it was, thanks to incompetent personnel at my small town hospital my brother still came close to losing his life that day.
But shockingly, it wasn’t when we get the full reveal of all that happened that night that brought on the waterworks here. And the waterworks *will* come in this book. No, the events of that night had been well established if never explicitly shown by the time they are finally shown. But there is something else, much closer to the end of the book, that opened the faucets pretty damn wide. And it would have been the *perfect* ending – or so says the man that says that Smallville should have ended with the Season 7 finale, rather than continuing on for 3 more years as it did. (Even though even from the moment it aired, I’ve held that the finale we actually got on that show – particularly its last hour, the actual finale – is the singular best hour of television to ever air. So I’ve been known to be wrong, and your mileage may vary.)
What Lonsdale actually closes the book with satisfies a few things and adds quite a bit more depth to the overall tale, so to a point I get why she ended it the way she did. And it even makes the book somewhat reminiscent of a pair of my favorite movies from many years ago, but to list which two would be to get too close to spoiler territory for my comfort. But I still say it should have ended at the waterworks point, as that would have been even more courageous – but courageous doesn’t always sell. 😉
Ultimately a truly remarkable book, and a very refreshing departure for this particular author. Very much recommended.
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Refreshing Departure. This book evokes both Laurie Breton’s Coming Home and Emily Bleeker’s Wreckage, and at least to this reviewer those are high compliments indeed – those two books easily rank among the best I’ve ever read. Here, Lonsdale breaks quite a bit from the mold she’s created for herself over the last few years and indeed the one primary commonality across her last four books is not present here at all. Yet she shows her true abilities as a storyteller in still telling a phenomenal story even without that particular device, and truly masters the road trip style tale in the process.
The *one* criticism I have here is that to me, the book could have done without the final chapter and epilogue. To me, the book ends *perfectly* right before that point – but your mileage may vary in this regard, and indeed with the last chapter in particular, Lonsdale does something that would be a spoiler to reveal, but which adds extra depth to the book.
Still, truly a phenomenal work, a very refreshing new style from this author, and very much recommended.