Taylor Jenkins Reid
Washington Square Press
July 9, 2013
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". . .equal parts of sentiment and reality."
Twenty-somethings Elsie Porter and Ben Cross meet at a pizza place, fall in love, and get married in Las Vegas within a few weeks. Events happen so quickly between them, they forget to tell their parents about the nuptials. Ben takes his bike on a late night errand and is struck and killed. After rushing to the hospital, Elsie is confronted by Susan, Ben’s mother. She insists Elsie leave and let her deal with the details. Elsie hasn’t received her marriage certificate yet and has no proof, except the matching gold bands on hers and Ben’s fingers. Slowly, Susan acknowledges Elsie’s place in Ben’s life. She is also a widow, still dealing with Ben’s father’s death. They start by planning Ben’s funeral and gradually meet for lunch. Elsie finds herself welcoming Susan’s suggestions and help. The relationship with her own parents soured years ago. Both women offer glimpses of Ben: Susan the holder of his past and Elsie the keeper of his present. They offer each other comfort and a way back to normalcy. Elsie’s friend, Ana, and a kind older man, a patron at the library where Elsie works, push her back to her future. Life goes on, even though she wills it to stop. Ben and Elsie were definitely meant for each other. His passing brings real grief. In coping with her loss, Elsie bears the scars and moves on.
The heartfelt story is told From Elsie’s point of view with flashbacks based on the month. As her relationship with Susan evolves, Elsie reflects back on her time with Ben. A widow’s sorrow permeates through her bittersweet memories. A sad story well told with equal parts of sentiment and reality.
Reviewer: K. T. Sullivan
Categorised in: Book Reviews
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