Published: August 14, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
You might enjoy this book if you like: Stories about siblings, multi-narrator novels
Lydia, Dean, and Robyn don’t know one another. Yet. Each is facing difficult challenges. Lydia is still wearing the scars from her traumatic childhood. Wealthy and successful, she leads a lonely and disjointed existence. Dean is a young, unemployed, single dad whose life is going nowhere. Robyn is eighteen. Gorgeous, popular, and intelligent, she entered her first year of college confident of her dream to become a pediatrician. Now she’s failing her classes. Now she’s falling in love for the first time.
Lydia, Dean, and Robyn live very different lives, but each of them, independently, has always felt that something was missing. What they don’t know is that a letter is about to arrive that will turn their lives upside down. It is a letter containing a secret—one that will bind them together and show them what love and family and friendship really mean.
Lisa Jewell is an author that started reading a couple of years ago. I enjoyed her latest 2 books and felt it was time to dive into her back list. I'm not exactly sure where this falls in the order of her books, but I do think that Jewell is an author who improves with each books.
Which, I guess is a nice way of saying that this isn't her best work. There is much I like about it, but I can't say it was a wholly successful book.
There was much I liked about it. It was the premise that drew me into this book--a group of people who are brought together because their biological fathers were all the same sperm donor. For some reason, the maternal tie always seem to be celebrated in books (and movies...and TV...) while the paternal one is sometimes forgotten. Plus, the idea of a sperm donor seems so much less personal than, say, a mother who gave up her children for adoption or a woman who donated her eggs. I applaud Jewell for taking the road less traveled, so to say, on this topic.
One thing that has always impressed me about Jewell is her ability to create characters. Lydia is especially fascinating, probably because we get the most backstory for her. I also found the convention of telling Daniel's story--Daniel is the father--through the eyes of another person. I think that was an important facet of this story and added a necessary wall between the siblings and the parent.
Now, here is the flaw that kept me from thoroughly enjoying this book. I'll admit that this is something that might not bother other readers, but was an obstacle that I could not overcome. This story seemed very unbalanced. Much time was spent on Lydia and almost as much on Dean, but significantly less was spent on Robyn. In fact, there were times that I forgot she was even part of the story. There is also a 4th sibling who is dealt with a bit too casually for my taste and, as much as I enjoyed Daniel's story through Maggie's eyes, I felt Maggie's arc was wrapped up too easily.
While this wasn't Lisa Jewell's best book in my opinion, it did keep my interest enough that I would still read more of her back list, as well as her new books as they are released. I would still recommend this book and I'm sure that what I found lacking would not bother many other readers.
I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.