I recently read a new release by author Lisette Brodey, The Sum of our Sorrows. It was an incredible book in so many ways. As the title suggests, it was an emotional read.
Before I share my review for this story, here is the blurb:
In an idyllic suburb in Northern California, tragedy strikes the Sheppard family when Abby, the mother of three daughters and wife to Dalton, is killed in a car accident. Charlotte, the middle daughter, is in the car with her mother and survives without physical injury but remains scarred on the inside.
Dalton tells Lily, his eldest daughter, that she must sacrifice long-awaited college plans and put her life on hold to take care of her sisters. Lily is torn between her devotion to family and an increasing need to find her place in the world -- but how can she leave, knowing her family may crumble? Will her presence eventually cause more problems than it solves?
The Sum of our Sorrows reveals how the aftermath of a family tragedy can precipitate sorrows never imagined. It is a tale of grief, hope, healing, coming-of-age, friendship, and survival. It is also a love story of two broken souls living through pain in search of better days and the renewal of one's spirit.
Now for my review:
Grief is a powerful emotion that grips your heart and won't let go. When you add adult responsibility to a teenage girl that has just lost her mother, that's where Lily's story begins. With no time to process her pain, Lily is thrown into the role of 'mum' in all ways to her two younger siblings and she's expected to do all the cleaning, cooking, etc., plus console her sisters through 'their' pain. Lily takes charge, but she verbally and mentally fights the responsibility since she will soon graduate and had plans to attend fashion design school in L.A. Life is horrendous as she tries to move forward. Anything that could happen, did. Thank goodness for her mum's best friend, Kady who understands and listens to Lily. Tragedies continue to pile up though and Lily has had enough. That's where this story takes a sharp turn. Without giving too much away, something wonderful happens for Lily, yet it's not the end of her troubles. You'll have to read this amazing book to find out all that she has to face. The author put her characters through the emotional ringer; everything from mind-numbing loss to extreme joy - and everything in between. This story is so well-written that when Lily was torn between loyalty to her family and wanting to break out on her own, I felt those same emotions. I also experienced joy when it finally came. As the story evolved, all of the characters' strengths and flaws were revealed, not just Lily's. There are some recurring themes in this story, but one powerful one jumped out at me from the beginning - how life can change in a blink and the only thing you can do is follow your gut to survive. Sometimes you make the right decisions due to the change, but sometimes you don't. All you can do is try your best and hope it's enough.
** You can find The Sum of our Sorrows on Amazon. It's available in e-book and paperback, and can be read for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.
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