By Maggi Myers
Publisher: Amazon and Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 6/24/14
My Rating: 4 Stars
Caroline used to have it all: she was madly in love with her husband, Peter, and they worshiped their beautiful baby girl. But as Lily grows into a toddler, Caroline notices that her daughter seems to live and act with a disconnect, and soon the perfect future Caroline had envisioned, along with her marriage, begin to crumble.
Now she and Peter are no longer lovers, they’re plaintiffs in the throes of divorce while still struggling to care for Lily. After years of blame and overwhelming despair, Caroline’s chance encounter with a stranger at University Hospital opens her eyes to the prospect of accepting new support, new loves, and new dreams.
From the acclaimed author of The Final Piece comes a story of a family broken and unable to cope with a daughter’s disability. And a mother who finds that letting go of the life she imagined may be the only way to get to the life she was meant for.
A special thank you to Lake Union/Amazon Publishing,and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Maggi Myers's LILY LOVE, is a poignant story of losing something, in order to realize how mysteriously beautiful life can be! A powerful novel about the power of love. When you are at the end of your rope, sometimes God brings a ray of hope in our lives, which makes life worth living! A fast-paced, poignant novel of loss, love, hope and self-discovery. Set in North Carolina, LILY LOVE begins with Caroline, at Duke Hospital, a woman who has desperately waited, her entire life to be a mother. Caroline has a mini stroke while delivering (predclampsia). Now she will be unable to have any more children, and has weakness in one hand/arm due to the stroke. Later, at eighteen months, she and husband, Peter receive the painful news, their beautiful daughter Lily, has a development disability. After so many years of struggling with infertility, they have finally gotten their happy ending – or have they?
Quote: “We’ve been conditioned to believe that things always have a way of working themselves out and that happily ever after is within our reach, if we just work hard enough. The truth is that none of us are immune to tragedy. No matter how hard you work, no matter how good you are, life isn’t obligated to give you a fairy-tale ending.”
Through countless doctors, tests, demands, struggling, hospitals, and ongoing stress, Peter and Carolina grow further apart—bitter and cynical. As with any disabled child, the mother becomes overwhelmed with the demands, and care to the point of obsession and fear. Somewhere along the line, she and Peter could not make their way back to one another and they get a divorce.
When Caroline is at her lowest, she relies on her friend Max, a guy she meets at the hospital and her funny, bohemian sister, Paige. Caroline cannot even imagine how she will share custody of their daughter, and how her husband will cope and manage with Lily, as sometimes she can be violent and out of control. She begins to wonder if her life will ever be normal again. Then one day, she meets a guy, a stranger, Tate in the hospital cafeteria and her world changes.
This new found time she has alone, her secret moon garden to meditate, and time to write her thoughts for a book she has thought about for years— as Peter shares in the custody and caring for Lily. This time has offers her new strength and courage to face what lies ahead. She is able to balance her life for the first time and finds comfort in the growing relationship with Tate.
Quote: A doctor is describing his special needs child to Caroline: “I used to tell myself that if we could just get through this one rough patch, then everything would be better. I learned quickly that was the fast lane to frustration, because there is no finish line. There will never be a point in his life he will not be dependent on my wife and me in some way. His candid words seep through my skin, into the center of my chest, and take root. He doesn’t regale me with a story of hope and wonderment. His honest is breathtakingly beautiful, in all of its sadness. His acceptance of his son’s condition isn’t decorated with rainbows or unicorns. It is what it is, and that’s okay.”
A very special and unique novel which dives into the painful struggles and raw emotions of a mother, a marriage, and an adorable special-needs child, melting your heart; yet inspiring and uplifting. I enjoyed the part about starting over, dating, and finding love as a single mom with a special-needs child, as well her journey to self-discovery, as Caroline begins to view her life in a different more positive way. Myers writes with humor and sensitivity with warm-hearted and realistic characters— fans of Lisa Genova “Love Anthony”, and Jodi Picoult will enjoy LILY LOVE. I was delighted to learn the author is from South Florida, where I currently reside, and she now resides in Greensboro, NC (as I am a native of the Triad area, with sons in Winston-Salem, NC). Wow, cannot wait to tell all my NC friends about this thought-provoking novel. Maggi Myers, a talented author and one to follow. Looking forward to her many future bestsellers!