Kristin Harmel is a bestselling author but not one I have come across before. Her previous book, The Sweetness of Forgetting, named one of the Best Books of Summer 2012 by Marie Claire magazine so I thought I would give it a chance. The book is very American and set in New York but this doesn’t detract from the basic theme of loss and memories.
After her husband’s sudden death twelve years ago, Kate Waithman tried to move on and agrees to marry again. Her fiancé is pleasant and caring but obvious to the reader, not good enough, although Kate is not aware of this fact. Despite the novel being written in the first person it seems we know more above her than she does.
As her marriage draws closer Kate starts to dream of, her late husband and lives in a parallel life where Patrick is still alive and they have a daughter. I found this narrative hard to accept but the author somehow made it plausible and by the end of the book it was almost an adequate reason for the process.
Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.
There is much emphasis on the learning of sign language and the need for understanding of children who are hard to hearing. Kate’s occupation of music therapist is quite interesting and I came to the end of the story fairly satisfied that I had gained something from the book.
It is a heartwarming story if a little mawkish, and I can recommend it to you if you like triumph over adversity and interesting twists to the tale, and of course a happy ending.
Published by Gallery Books on 30 December 2014
Charlotte Courthold – MT book reviewer
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