My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - less than 1 day
Blurb From Goodreads
Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.
Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.
The book starts off with a slow introduction to both Olivia, Anthony's mum and Beth and her family situation. After a small chance meeting at the beach that isn't revisited or the significance shown until later, the story begins at present day. Olivia has come to the island to pick her life up after losing her son and the breakdown of her marriage. Beth is just about to have her world and marriage turned upside down with the shock news of her husbands infidelity. Both women are struggling with their own demons and life changes, living close to each other but unaware of the other.
I was expecting this to be about friendship right from the start however the ladies don't actually properly cross paths until over half way through. Olivia visits the past through her journals and slowly we are introduced to her life with Anthony and her journey after his diagnosis and back to what she is doing now to get back to 'normal'. Beth's path is her journey trying to cope with everyday life after the revelations with her husband and picking up the pieces with her girls, rediscovering who she is. Both women are on journeys and eventually their paths cross and an unexpected link will bring them together.
I enjoyed this story so much that I stayed up until after 3am to finish it. I loved the glimpses of Anthony and think any story that will open peoples eyes and begin an understanding into autism is always a good thing. I liked and disliked Beth's story almost equally, it gives a fantastic insight into what it may be like for an autistic child through the childs's eyes. However the person in Beth's story is identical to someone she has never really met with no real explanation of why. This is just a small issue, the rest of the book I devoured and wanted to read faster than my eyes could manage. I do enjoyed Genova's writing style and her subjects always leave you thinking so 4/5 for me this time.