Lucy never confessed her love to her best friend Harlan before he passed away. Two months after his funeral, she is haunted by the power of things left unsaid. But then she receives the first of his e-mails arranged to be sent after his death. So begins the year that everything changes - Lucy's watershed year. In an e-mail, Harlan says something that consumes her: He's certain Lucy is destined for motherhood. In her grief, she suddenly rediscovers hope, journeying to Russia to adopt a four-year-old boy. Just as they're learning to trust each other, they must face a threat that might shatter their fragile little family forever.
Susan Schoenberger's breathtaking and powerful story of love, loss, redemption and what it means to be a mother will leave you in awe as Lucy, in the depths of her despair, somehow finds joy and embraces the beauty of second chances.
©2011 Susan Schoenberger (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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"Russian Adoption, Love and Family"
This is a great listen, a human story of facing cancer and the death of a loved one and the aftermath of picking up the pieces of life and the emptiness that comes after loss. This book about Lucy, a college professor, who teaches religion and has an odd interest in all the Catholic saints is funny, quirky, and deeply emotional. She nurses her best friend until he dies of cancer. Then grief stricken, she goes to Russia to adopt a little boy. The circumstances of adopting from a Russian orphanage are strange and scary . . . and I can truly relate to them, as adoption in Romania was the same . . . greasing the palms of the officials, and not knowing one day to the next if you would ever get out of the country with your child. You will grow to love Lucy, her parents and friends . . . and most of all little Matt. It is a clean story, full of heart.
"Ugh, chick-lit again, and a bad case of the blahs!"
This book was so utterly disappointing for me. So many words, such minutiae and so much triviality. It seemed like such a promising story line. International adoption is a real interest of mine. I felt like this book never took off, that was stuck on the tarmac for hours and hours. I didn't see much character development and thus, I didn't feel for any of the characters, at all. The endless nonsense about the saints--ugh, what type of plot gimmick is that? It wasn't educational or informative or even interesting, just quirky filler to me.
Add Lucy and Harlan's friendship and her year of endless grieving for what never ever was, for what she was actually afraid to even acknowledge. And how far-fetched was what Lucy learned about Harlen at the end? Really? (I am not going to say more as I don't want to spoil it for anyone.)
As for the narrator, I have mixed feelings. She did the foreign voices well but she got very shrill whenever there was any emotional dialogue. In addition, I really didn't enjoy the way she portrayed Lucy. Too much emphasis in her voice. It made Lucy seem downright annoying to me most of the time.
And yet, I plodded on and on even though I knew how it would end beforehand. There was something that kept me going. Therefore, I am giving it three stars across the board. And yet, I will not seek this author out again.
Not only did I enjoy the story, the narrator being amazing just enhanced the whole experience. She could very distinctly give male characters their voice, plus she had three Russian characters who spoke accented English, AND a young boy with a Russian accent learning English. Very impressive and very well done.
I habitually devour books, which is why I often review books as if they were food. Some books (Gone With the Wind, for example) are fulfilling meals, leaving you satisfied, and perhaps over-stuffed. Some meals are desserts, quick, fun, but not necessarily improving your mind. Some are like over-cooked canned vegetables; halfway through, you just can't bring yourself to stomach any more.
I'd say this book reminds me of a healthy snack. It was relatively short, and I feel that I've come away from it with some thought-provoking ideas.
I'll warn potential readers, if you are looking for a pick-me-up, this probably isn't the book for you. The main character is dealing with her best friend's cancer diagnosis, and his isn't the only funeral in the story. I found myself wiping away tears several times (a testament to the book being well-written).
It ends happily, and the book is sprinkled with comedic and sweet moments. Overall, I enjoyed it.
"Exquisite story; fantastic narration."
by Andrea Renee Cox
Exquisite tale of heart-wrenching grief and the joy that blossoms from the deepest pain. Unique author's voice: perspective, fresh analogies, and tug on emotions.
Narrator Amy McFadden inflected perfect amount of emotion into her reading. Very skilled at accents, including Chinese and Russian.
Only reasons I am not giving five stars: many mentions of beer/alcohol and heavy attention to praying to saints (instead of directing prayers to God).
Overall, great story with memorable characters and plenty of surprises. Will be looking for more from author Susan Schoenberger in the near future.
Amazing story! love ❤ wins! Family is not always blood, but choice! Life is precious
"Different type of romance fiction"
I loved that Lucy dealt with the lost of her friend Harlan by embracing life!
One of the best moments was when Matt calls Lucy mama for the first time. It brought tears to my eyes.
Harlan because his heart was so full of love for others.
Good book for escape. Well developed characters and not as predictable as some books.
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