Monday, April 3, 2017

Faithful - Alice Hoffman

Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.

(Summary and pic from

My Review: This is one of those books that I read because I LOVED something the author had previously written. (If you have not read The Dovekeepers I highly recommend it). Anyway, I picked up this book with great hope because I was just really impressed with Hoffman's other work. Also, the cover was fun. Yes, I judge books by their covers. We've gone over this. I haven't changed.

This book just wasn't as good as The Dovekeepers. It was proficiently written, as Hoffman is obviously a proficient writer, but it didn't have that same magic and beautiful storytelling that I was hoping for. Instead of having writing that just really made the story, this just made a book that was middle to average for the genre. I've read other books like this many times. I found it to be pretty forgettable. Actually, it hasn't even been that long since I read it and now that I'm writing the review I'm having  a hard time recalling really specific details. Nothing really stuck with me. It wasn't like there was some shocking thing that I keep thinking back to, and there certainly wasn't any magical realism that I was kind of hoping for from the description. Instead, it was full of damaged characters that are somewhat tragic. I'm not against tragic characters, mind you, but this one just didn't work for me.

Now. The characters. I know the summary really plays that as a strength, but I just didn't love the character. She was believable, I guess, but I just had a hard time buying the path her life took. I found the whole situation a little confusing, actually. It jumps around and I'm not really sure why she blames herself for all that happened. I don't want to go into too much detail here because if you like Hoffman you might really like this book. The characters just weren't what I was hoping. I certainly didn't fall in love with her like the summary promised I would.

I think the thing about this book is just that it was really forgettable. It wasn't horribly written, the story was decent, it was just...just. I read it in fairly short order but I didn't find myself slacking off on normal tasks to get a few paragraphs in here and there. That's the sign of a really good book, as you know. This wasn't that for me.

My Rating: 3 stars

For the sensitive reader: There is some language and sex scenes, but I would say it's standard for the adult fic genre. 

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