Sometimes a book grabs you by the throat and won’t let go. This one grabs your heart and leaves you breathless. I’ve been flailing about this book for two days; I managed to garble out two separate nonsensical reviews of love-vomit that said absolutely nothing. Let me explain:
Imagine if Nicholas Sparks were an intelligent woman, writing a love story where the shocking twist is known from the start, and the angst wraps you in sniffly sweetness rather than a sledgehammer to the gut. Then add a sense of humor and a bit of sexy. Cyndy Aleo would still be better.
Her book flies in short chapters, with alternating points of view between a young couple learning that ’til death do us part might actually last a bit longer; on the third day (and yes, there is cheeky reference to The Story) Adrienne comes back from the dead, and she and dreamy husband Cam must figure out how to deal with a modern second coming.
(Did I mention he is dreamy? The author actually gives us very little idea what Cameron Tattersall looks like, but we know he’s gorgeous, because anyone so in love with his wife has to be good looking.)
While they sort through the repercussions of a miracle, and learn to trust each other again, we also watch Adge’s battle with breast cancer through a backward mirror, and the devastation it causes to the loved ones around her.
This is where the story becomes personal for me.
The pink ribbon runs its poison through my genes. I know when an author gets it wrong. Doesn’t do their research. Glosses over the wrong details. Or deliberately presses the toxic buttons, and relies on the same painful cliches.
But Cyndy Aleo captures this tough subject with enough sensitivity and distance to buffer the reader from the horrors of the disease. She blurs details and avoids the procedural jargon (that can “date” a story within months, due to medical advances), instead showing the effects the tragedy has on the couple, and how their love carries them through. This book isn’t about the viciousness of cancer, it’s about love and laughter, and leaps of faith.
There were times I looked for an M. Knight Shamalamadingdong twist–that ‘and then he wakes up moment’–a few loose ends leave the reader wondering what might be a clue, a hint of–oh, so that’s what really is going on–but nothing so crude mars the trust that the author builds through to the very end.
Irreverent, charming, and so sweet.
Go read it!