Published: September 3, 2002
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Ten years ago, Nicole Hunter left her troubled home behind her, unable to cope with the demands of a life with her disabled sister, Jenny. But when a shattering event turns her world upside down, she finds herself back in her hometown, caring for her pregnant sister and trying to heal her embattled relationship with her mother. And when she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life, Nicole rediscovers the beauty of sisterhood-and receives a special gift that will change her life forever...
I have to be honest, I almost put this book aside. It was not due to any fault of the book, it was just that the subject matter was incredibly distressing to me. I guess it is a credit to Hatvany that she could write about the situation so well that it left me physically shaken.
So, yes, let's just say this is not a "fun" read. Trust me, it's far more intense than the summary would lead you to believe. It's pretty raw and heartbreaking--but I soon went from wanting to stop to not being able to put it down. Hatvany does well with highly emotional material and this is no exception.
I felt for Nicole--she had it coming from both sides. Not only did she have to take over the care of her sister, but she also had a bevy of unresolved issues with her mother. Her childhood friend comes back into the picture, who becomes a lifesaver to Nova (and she's kind of a kick--right when the reader needs something a little lighter going on in the story!). Hatvany said in the afterward that she has a sister with the same disability as Jenny, so I'm pretty sure that much of this came from the heart with her...and you can tell.
There is a bit of romance in the novel, but not so much that it overwhelms the plot. I think the story could have stood on its own legs without the romance, but its presence didn't really distract me. I think the more important aspect was the relationships Nicole had before she returned to Seattle.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone looking for something "light" to read. However, this is something I would heartily recommend it to someone looking for something that will hit their emotions with both barrels.
I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.