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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Never Say Goodbye

ISBN: 034554949X

Publisher: Random/Ballantiine

Publication Date: 4/8/2014

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars

For readers of Jodi Picoult, Heather Gudenkauf, and Elizabeth Flock comes a deeply moving novel of finding friendship and love in the most unexpected of places. Josie Clarke, a loving wife and mother, struggles to make ends meet by cleaning homes and working at a diner while her husband drives a taxi. Josie’s joy is her two children, just entering adulthood. But with her son recently imprisoned for a crime she is certain he didn’t commit, and her daughter marrying too young, Josie now worries about the future—and wonders if she’ll ever be able to ensure their safety and happiness. Across town, in a gorgeous house by the sea, successful property developer Bel Monkton lives in comparative luxury. But she has struggles of her own. Since the death of her twin sister more than a year ago, Bel has been unable to rebuild her shattered world, and the troubled past she thought was behind her haunts her ever more. Faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, Josie and Bel find each other and a surprising friendship that will change their lives. Praise for Susan Lewis “A master storyteller.”—Diana Chamberlain

My Review

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Ballantine for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. First and foremost, when I search for a new book to read (especially by an author I have not read previously), there are a few key critical factors (1) Does the front cover draw me in and is it a high resolution image? (2) The synopsis of the book. Does it appeal to me? (3) Praise by another author I have read or follow? (4) Other reviews which is sometimes difficult, if a pre-release. Yes, Yes, and YES . . to all of the above, NEVER SAY GOOD-BYE is brilliantly written- Bittersweet! Having read all of Diane Chamberlain's books (one of my favorite authors), to see her quote on the front cover – sealed the deal, even before I began reading. And oh, the stunning cover. I loved everything about this poignant story- did not disappoint! Was so impressed with Susan Lewis; I will most definitely be reading more from this talented storyteller. The characters are real, and flawed; each of them experience growth from the time the story begins until ending--excited to share in their journey. The ending was perfect, and you come away with a sense of peace and reflection. Readers will fall in love with each of the characters, and a thought-provoking takeaway, lingering long after the book ends. The altruistic Josie, loving wife and mother who puts her family first; Jeff the hard nose husband and father which turned out to be a lovable humble puppy; Ryan and Lilly, her children she always protects; and Bella, which I loved from the beginning to the end – an angel and a best friend we all want to have in our back pocket. Her past, present and future were also an integral part of the book. This novel is more than differences between poor and rich, and cancer - it is about friendship, love, family bonds, even romance; how circumstances and obstacles make us stronger, and how people or angels are sent to us at just the right time when we need them the most (sometimes a family member will just not do). On a personal note, this book has special meaning to me. My mom had just received the news she has colon cancer, metastasized to the liver. She worked out six days a week (age 81) and very healthy and fit, with no history of cancer in the family. My dad had just received the diagnosis of leukemia (stage one) a few months prior. Everyone was shocked. (she starts chemo in April). During the week she was in the hospital, I started this book as perfect timing. Never Say Goodbye really demonstrated to me how a cancer victim worries about family members, more than themselves and how faith, determination, and the support of close friends can heal their souls and bodies. (this is so true). I so enjoyed this quote, “The cancer and treatment are only the staples holding things together; the pages are for the story of my life and I intend to keep filling them.” Resilience and courage are the key points of this powerful yet compelling story, told with sensitivity and compassion. I highly recommend the book and this newfound author! 12/2015:"Hi everyone, Update: Mom is 83 now; cancer is still lingering; however, she has finished chemo 6 mos ago, and all the doctors are stunned. She is doing great, looks and feels like a new woman- we forget she even has cancer. Much better than last Xmas..the chemo took a tole on her. Dad is doing great too!"

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