It is the winter of 1990 and Helen Hansen has a secret. It is one that rips her apart from the inside out to keep… but along with her husband Elliott, they decide at least for now… this is the way it will be.
Within a year the Hansens’s are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary, and they do so a luxury hotel in New Hampshire, going all out by inviting friends and neighbors who have been there along the way. Meanwhile, 18-year-old daughter Abby has also been kept in the dark. Little does she know , she is not the only one. Abbie knows something is up and is resentful that she has not been in the know. Seeking solace, she finds it in a cute waiter named Alex, and the rest of the summer staff .
While the champagne flows, guests dance around the elephant in the room…
Whoa. *Deep breath here*
Emily Chenoweth comes out of the shoot with this debut novel with a whirlwind of activity, at times heart wrenching, at times sweet, but always breath-taking.
The topic of this book is a hard one. We are dealing with a family and an illness. And at times, you can even wonder if the family itself is part of the illness by not necessarily making healthy decisions. At the same time, you come to realize that the decisions that are made, are made out of love – and that really becomes the heartbeat of the book.
If I seem like I am talking in code here… I am. This is a book that is easy to give away key plots in the excitement of the review and I am walking a fine line trying not to do that, instead leaving the beauty and the mystery of this book unravel itself to each reader.
Abbie really captivates me as you can imagine how an 18-year-old girl would struggle with what is going on with her family, as well as where she stands in the midst of life. When the storyline shifts her way, I could almost feel that struggle, even in the story shift.
While this book could easily have tipped the scale by being considered heavy – it never does. Handled with a well written prose, instead it is graceful, and real… as you watch a family enjoy the last dances of life together.
I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour