I have been a Jodi Picoult fan for as long as I can remember. As soon as I hear of a new Jodi Picoult book, it goes on pre-order. I had never heard of Jennifer Finney Boylan prior to this book, but there is now a new author on my radar.
I am however, usually skeptical when an author co-writes with another. I start to wonder why they do that when as an individual, they are so good anyway. But this one feels doesn’t disappoint. It feels like a well worn Picoult novel, with her fingerprints all over it, a very comforting thing.
To give a short plot, the book introduces Olivia McAfee. She is a single mother with a son, Asher. A survivor of domestic abuse. She is now living peacefully in her secluded life, having inherited her fathers beekeeping business. What we also find out, is that she is the sister of Jordan McAfee, a name instantly recognisable from other Picoult works.
This book gives us Lily Campanello. Eighteen years old, living with her mother Ava, who is trying to give her daughter the life that she dreams of. Lily and Asher meet, and as you can imagine, fall in love.
The book is an archetypal Picoult. Written beautifully, displaying all of the emotion that is needed for such a subject as domestic abuse,. You find yourself reading Olivia’s back story and wanting to yell at her “get out of there”. It’s almost as if you can see the signs before Olivia can.
Lilys past is a little more complex, and that hits about halfway through the novel. I have to say, it is something I didn’t anticipate at all. When Lilys past comes to light, it is handled well, considering the subject matter.
As with all of Ms Picoults books, the character development is near perfection! Life changing incidents for both main characters are focal points, and have clearly been very well researched.
The beekeeping information was good to read. It was something I had no clue about. I felt this didn’t detract from the story, it added to it, by demonstrating who Olivia was and how the beekeeping kept her relaxed and close to her father.
The murder/mystery element to the story allowed deep thought into the debate around violence, toxic relationships and potential secrets you keep for whatever the reason. This element seemed to focus on the mother/child relationship. How far you would go for your child? Do you believe your child?
This book gave us so many crucial elements. Every single one of them worked together, none detracted from the previous. These were:
– The fact that Olivia left her husband.
– Would Olivia`s son grow up to be like his father?
– Lily`s life with her mother.
– Why is Lily`s father not in the picture?
– How the relationship of Asher and Lily progresses.
The book is a beauty. Covering domestic violence, murder, depression, and more, it looks at relevant topics of todays world. It handles those topics with the tact and décorum that they deserve. This book allows choice. It demonstrates how sometimes choosing for yourself can send you on a path that leads you away from those nearest to you. It can send you against the wishes of those closest to you.
Beautifully characterised. Stunningly written. Evidenced and researched thoroughly. Jodi Picoult has dealt the world another ace with this book.