★ ★ ★ ★ ★
5 BEING FOUND AGAIN, STARS
“Not every story has a happy ending. Some only hold a happy beginning. This is my story.”
This book! This book had me a hot mess. The author had a tight grip on my emotions from the prologue and I didn’t stop crying until I finished the book. My emotions were all over the place, from understanding to feelings of despair, from sadness to happiness. I was on an emotional roller coaster. The writing in this book is phenomenal and took me by complete surprise to find this was the author’s debut adult novel.
This book was about Elizabeth Carlson trying to adjust to the overwhelming grief and gaping hole left in her heart by the death of her first and one true love and husband of 10 years, Grady. He died of cancer leaving her alone with 4 young children and alone to live the life they had planned to live with one another. These two had the kind of love that everyone dreams of, so when Grady died, Elizabeth fell apart.
“And right now I was more pissed off than I had ever been. I didn’t know if this anger would ever deplete. It consumed me. I sat there, still and unmoving, while it burned away at my insides and spilled acid eating at my soul, inch by slow inch.“
What the author does so brilliantly takes us through the five stages of grieving. As we read Elizabeth’s story about how she learns to cope with her situation, we see how she struggles, adapts and learns to move through each stage. Her pain was palpable and all-encompassing. It was brutal. It was fierce and mean and it was unforgiving. But Elizabeth wasn’t allowed to completely fall over the edge because she was now the sole provider, caretaker, and parent of their four children.
The most heart-wrenching, terrible pain I felt while reading this book was not her pain, but the pain of her children.
“This was our grief and pain at our deepest. This was our hearts and souls scraped raw. This was desperation so intense I felt it in my bones, in the broken places of my soul. And that my children shared this grief made it so much worse.”
The struggles of everyday living were so evident. Just the simple things that we all take for granted were so difficult for her, like remember the milk for the next day’s breakfast, getting her kids to school on time and even making sure the trash was at the curb for the trash men. Simple daily things became overwhelming to her. Some of them were things that her husband took care of, that were now her responsibility.
“Why are you so nice to me? You barely know me.”
A soft smile played on his lips, “But I like what I know so far. And I am excited for what else there is to find out.”
Ben, the neighbor who swooped in and rescued her was, by all accounts, a saint. He saw a neighbor in need and he helped where he could. He mowed her lawn, took out her trash, brought her milk. He saw a woman in distress and did what needed to be done. And a friendship built on respect and admiration began. His constant understanding and steel reserve were things she needed and she welcomed his help. A slow-building romance developed. It wasn’t something easy, it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t perfect. We experience her guilt and pain about liking the attentions of another man.
“But can there still be life in death? If I chain myself to my dead husband, will I ever truly live again?
This book isn’t a bed of roses. It doesn’t sugar coat the pain. Elizabeth doesn’t heal over night and becomes who she was before her life was turned upside down. You will feel the anguish. You will. But the journey of learning to live again the author takes you on is so well worth the pain. Because in the end, it is about the journey, it is about the healing, it is the process that gets us to the other side.
“Live in this moment with me and we’ll get to the next moment together. I’m not going to make you do this on your own.”
**ARC graciously provided by Mark My Words Book Publicity in exchange for honest review**
Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.
Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?
Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.
When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.
As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache and discovers there’s more to life than death.