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Summary: As lyrical as a sonata, Ayelet Waldman’s follow-up novel to Love and Other Impossible Pursuits explores the aftermath of a family tragedy.

Set on the coast of Maine over the course of four summers, Red Hook Road tells the story of two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, and of the ways in which their lives are unraveled and stitched together by misfortune, by good intentions and failure, and by love and calamity.

A marriage collapses under the strain of a daughter’s death; two bereaved siblings find comfort in one another; and an adopted young girl breathes new life into her family with her prodigious talent for the violin. As she writes with obvious affection for these unforgettable characters, Ayelet Waldman skillfully interweaves life’s finer pleasures—music and literature—with the more mundane joys of living. Within these resonant pages, a vase filled with wildflowers or a cold beer on a hot summer day serve as constant reminders that it’s often the little things that make life so precious.  – Random House

The devastating premise of this book intrigued me. What happens to families when the young bride and groom are killed on their wedding day? How are you related when you’ve been in-laws for an hour? The story deals with the aftermath of a horrible car accident and how each family member comes to terms with their loss.

I’ve read all of Aleyet Waldman’s Mommy Track mysteries and I really enjoyed them. I went into this book wanting to love and sadly I just didn’t. I liked it well enough but it just didn’t catch me. I felt like I was missing something. I’m sure there are going to be plenty of people who love this book unfortunately I found myself pushing to finish it and find out what happened, which I did want.

Jane and Iris, the mothers-in-law were well written but I felt there was something missing about them for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It drives me crazy when I can’t explain why I didn’t like a book better. I’m not sure what wasn’t there for me or what I needed to like it better. Ugh, it’s just so frustrating.

I did like the way Iris and Daniel’s (parents of the bride) marriage was handled. It seemed a realistic reaction to the death of a child. And though I didn’t always like Iris, I could understand some of the things she did and felt. I thought Jane (mother of the groom), a seemingly cold person was fleshed out a little better.

The secondary story of the flower girl finding her talent for music with the world-famous violinist grandfather of the bride was a bit of a miss for me. Again, I don’t know why it didn’t work for me, maybe it was just a little contrived.

This is a hard one for me because I really wanted to love this book and I did like it. Maybe my expectations were too high and I was expecting something else. I have a feeling more people are going to love it and wondering what the heck is wrong with me.

Update: It just dawned on me, I had a head cold this weekend which I’m sure played a part in my feelings about this book. I’m still trying to get over it which is why I’m sure I didn’t pick up on it’s effect on my reaction to this book. Yikes, I may have to do a reread sometime soon.


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