Faithful by Alice Hoffman

imageFrom the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

At the start of the book Shelby is a shell of a girl.  She doesn’t talk, she doesn’t eat, she self harms, shaves her head and just wants to hide from the world.  She can’t seem to live because of what happened to her best friend Helene.While Helene becomes a thing of worship, a living ghost that draws people towards her, Shelby is shunned and talked about. She was uninjured physically, mentally she is destroyed.  Guilt is sinking her into a black hole that she can’t or won’t get out of.

Shelby lashes out and hurts those around her because she feels that she is a nothing and doesn’t deserve anything.  She hooks up with Ben.  Ben likes Shelby and eventually they get together.  As he falls in love with her she hurts him at every turn feeling unworthy of love and things don’t go well for them.

Since the accident she has been receiving postcards in the mail with things like ‘ See something’, Save something’ written on them.  they come at odd intervals and they are the only thing that seems to keep her going.  As the story progresses life changes for Shelby but can she forgiver herself for what happened to Helene?  She rescues a rag tag group of dogs and is roped into a single mothers family of twin boys and a daughter who is hell bent on making her mothers life hell.  Shelby bucks what is going on around her but how long will it be before she gives in and learns to be loved?

At the start of this Shelby is a bitch, a heartless individual you don’t  feel much for but a mixture of pity and spite.  As time goes on she blossoms like a flower after a long hard winter, and what a joy it is to watch unfold!

I have never read anything by Ms. Hoffman and I feel that I found a real gem of a book!  The way she writes the characters and how they slowly unfold and grow and sink into your skin. It was a fast read for me, once I started I just wanted to keep going.   A coming of age book with characters who are broken, beaten down by life but never give up. A must read!

ARC received by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4.5 stars

Crash

Buy: Amazon

Buy:Amazon UK

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