Author: Abby Fabiaschi Series: Standalone Genre: Fiction Release Date: January 31, 2017 Book Length: 272 pages Publisher: St. Martin's Press Review: 5/5
Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch…until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.
Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge…but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?
Maddy is the epitome of a true matriarch—she’s a stay at home mom to her teenage daughter Eve, wife to Brady, handler of finances, go-to advice giver, and glue of the family. After reading the synopsis, I thought this was going to centre a lot more on Rory and how Maddy tries from beyond the grave to bring her to her grieving family. I couldn’t be happier that I was wrong. Although Rory is part of the central plot, her involvement doesn’t overpower everything else. The story is told in 3 narratives: Maddy’s, Eve’s, and Brady’s. I used to think I hated switching narratives but this book made me change my mind; it was amazingly done. Usually I prefer one perspective over the others’, but here I was genuinely excited every time it switched. You needed to experience the grieving process with Eve and Brady without Rory being the central focus, so I’m very pleased with how it was structured.
I also love the role that energy plays in this book. From ‘purgatory’, Maddy sends Brady, Eve, and Rory signals in the form of mental cues and little bursts of spiritual energy to sway them to take certain actions. As her family begins to heal, her energy is sent from further “up”, which I can only take to mean that she gets closer to a heaven or final resting place of sorts. I have always liked to believe that people who are no longer with us give us signals sometimes when we feel troubled or lost, and it was oddly comforting to live out these signals through the characters.
For 95% of the book, my rating was a 4, teetering on 5 but not quite there yet. The remaining pages were so moving and surprising that I decided to up it to 5. This book made me appreciate my life more, and I don’t say that lightly. It made me want to hug my mom (and dad, and siblings, and friends and everybody) and tell them how much they mean to me. Being that raw and honest comes with the sacrifice of vulnerability, but it’s so worth it when you think about how precious our time is here on earth. I know I will think about this story and how it made me feel for a very long time and I would recommend it to anybody.