You may be excused for thinking that this is the book of the same title written by Jojo Moyes, as it is such a popular book. This is, however, a very different book.
I have to say, I had to think carefully how to approach this review, as the previous, very memorable 3 -book series about Auschwitz is incredibly meaty and emotionally jolting. Even though I found this current book tugging at my heartstrings, I am not sure that I will remember the characters and story for the rest of my life as I will with the Auschwitz series. But here goes…
When the home of your best friend from childhood is struck by tragedy, what do you do? You leave your own life in the USA and make the trip to England to help your goddaughter, who witnessed the brutal killing of her mother and completely stopped talking. Ellie did just that, trying to help Lucy’s husband and daughter as much as she could from her limited understanding of how to deal with this kind of loss, and quickly learnt that nothing is ever what it seems. Maybe she didn’t know her friend as well as she thought. After all, what goes on behind the doors of others is only known to them, as they will only share what they want you to know.
During this trying time, Ellie tried to connect with and bring Sophie out of her self- imposed silence by turning to what would become their joint favourite book, The Secret Garden. The lessons in the book are magical and give both Ellie and Sophie hope, but will it be sustainable?
While on this selfless quest, Ellie’s life back at home begins to fall apart in more ways than one, and she has no idea how to try to fix any of it. And there are very few people to ask advice from. After all, her friend she always confided in was gone!
Before I give away too much, let me end by saying that this book deals with the grief of losing a spouse (in more ways than one), losing a child, battling to find hope in the darkest of times and once you get what you hoped for, you have to wonder, is it too late? If you need a good, easy read with just enough drama to keep you turning the pages, I suggest you grab a copy of this book. I will definitely be reading more of Julie Buxbaum’s books. It was a great holiday read.