Ava's twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group's goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood--one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava's story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava's mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.
"*Starred Review* Her husband having recently left her for a yarn bomber and her adult children both being out of the country, Ava looks forward to joining the library's book club. Towards this year's theme, The Book That Matters Most, she suggests a long-forgotten book that helped her through a difficult childhood but now has her questioning the secrets surrounding the deaths of her sister and mother. Ava's path of self-discovery parallels her daughter's own. Maggie, whom Ava believes is in school in Italy, is kept by a married man in Paris and seeks actualization through drugs. Hood weaves together their individual searches for fulfillment toward a single resolution that satisfies their pursuit of self but also of family. The use of a book group and books that are meaningful to its members provides a foundation for Ava's exploration of what's truly important and is sure to make this a hit with book clubs. Those enjoying the recent trend of books about those who love to read as well as readers who enjoy the relationship novels of writers like Jacquelyn Mitchard and Luanne Rice won't want to miss this.--Babiasz, Tracy Copyright 2016 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Hood's (The Obituary Writer) latest novel is a moving, intricate story about loss, healing, and the value of critical thinking. A year after being left by her husband, Ava is still reeling from the grief of separation, which brought back the pain of losing her sister and mother early in life. In order to branch out and meet new people, Ava joins a book club where each member must choose a book that matters most to them for the group to discuss. Although the new activity keeps her engaged, Ava, who lives in Providence, R.I., still feels alone, with her son abroad in Africa and her daughter studying in Florence. What Ava doesn't know is that her daughter has recently quit school and is now living in Paris under increasingly dangerous circumstances. Ava doesn't immediately enjoy the book group (she watches a movie adaptation instead of reading the first book), but bit by bit, book by book, she rediscovers her love of reading, makes new friends, and begins to heal. As the narrative focus moves among different characters and back and forth in time, suspense builds about what happened to Ava's mother and sister and what might happen to her daughter. Meanwhile, the book club allows Ava to examine her grief and slowly learn how to move forward. This is a gripping, multifaceted novel about recovering from different kinds of loss and the healing that comes from a powerful story. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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