The Good Goodbye
By: Carla Buckley
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1/12/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
The author of The Deepest Secret returns with another spellbinding domestic thriller about an estranged family forced together in an ER as disturbing truths come to light. Crackling with moral ambiguity and alive with family tension, this is a poignant and unforgettable novel of the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the truths we hide even from ourselves.
Two cousins, Rory and Arden, lie unconscious in a hospital burn unit. The fire, which broke out in their shared college dorm room, killed another student, and the police want answers. Tension between Rory and Arden’s parents was already at an all-time high before the fire, owing to a recent financial crisis and the decline of the family business. As the parents huddle anxiously in the waiting room, carefully avoiding the subject of their own unraveling relationships, disturbing truths come to light. This is the deeply moving story of a family’s struggle to hold together while their secrets threaten to tear them apart.
A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Talented storyteller, Carla Buckley returns following The Deepest Secret, Top 30 Books of 2014, with THE GOOD GOODBYE, another complex exploration of a family in crisis. A spark ignites a full-fledged blaze --a dark web of deceit, lies, and secrets. Two families. They are close. Cousins, like sisters. Arden and Rory Falcone. Two brothers . Vince and Gabrielle (Rory’s parents). Vince’s brother Theo and Natalie (Arden’s parents). Vince and Natalie are partners in a restaurant experiencing financial turmoil. As a result, the girls are unable to attend the college of their choice as planned. They attend a different college and are roommates. Not what they had in mind. “The first thing you should know is that everyone lies. The second thing is that it matters.” Not long after starting college, Arden’s mother Natalie receives the news of a fire in the girl’s dorm room. Rory’s boyfriend, Hunter is dead. The girls are in critical condition. What in the heck happened? Why did they jump from the window? Were they pushed? Was the fire accidental or arson? The two girls have distinct personalities. Even though they look alike, they are different. Rory is confident, self-centered, the leader, spoiled; whereas Arden is quiet, a follower, and artistic. Art is the one area where Arden could truly shine, where Rory couldn’t go. Tensions are high. Lives are hanging by a thread. A slow unraveling of a mystery. A tragic emotional tale from three POVs: Natalie, Arden, and Rory. A family bond—torn apart by disaster and betrayal. A complex friendship, a love triangle, and a girl struggling, hiding a secret. Nothing is as it seems. Who is guilty or innocent? An investigation. Blame. Criticism. Warning signs? How are the parent’s involved? What happened the tragic night of the fire, and the years leading up to the night? Painful truths are exposed. As always, Buckley is a pro at psychological domestic storytelling; strong character development, and the dissecting of the family unit with the sharpest of instruments. She delves into the emotional lives, the past, and the present. Keeping the reader in suspense, while revisiting earlier times to reveal pieces of the puzzle. Absorbing, and engaging--drawing you into the heart-breaking saga of two families. Having read all the author’s previous books, you know they will be "compulsively readable". She takes you on a deeply moving journey of family dysfunction- we hear from all sides: teens and parents, appealing strongly to the younger adult crowd. Intriguing and intense; a thought-provoking book to read in one sitting—very difficult to put down. An ideal for book clubs and further discussions. Fans of Jodi Picoult, T. Greenwood, Chris Bohjalian, and Diane Chamberlain will appreciate the complexity and the novelist’s highly readable style.
About the Author
Carla Buckley was born in Washington, D.C. She has worked as an assistant press secretary for a U.S. senator, an analyst with the Smithsonian Institution, and a technical writer for a defense contractor. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, an environmental scientist, and their three children. She is the author of The Deepest Secret, Invisible, and The Things That Keep Us Here, which was nominated for a Thriller Award as a Best First novel and the Ohioana Book Award for fiction.