Elizabeth Noble’s fourth novel dives into a world of grief, support, happiness, and everything in between. Barbara Forbes is the larger-than-life mother of four women and wife to Mark, her much younger and completely besotted second husband. When she loses her battle to cancer, she leaves behind her loved ones who find themselves even more off course than they were before her passing. Lisa, the oldest and closet to Barbara, has severe commitment issues, despite having the most wonderful boyfriend ever. Jennifer is the uptight sis who is in an unhappy marriage and can’t figure out how to fix it. Amanda is the family nomad, stopping in every now and then for a quick visit before jetting off to her next exotic locale. And Hannah, the baby, is just on the cusp of her teen years, leaving Mark to stumble through the jungle alone.
Things I Want My Daughters to Know spans the year after Barbara’s death, leaving the girls with only letters from their mother to figure out how to find their way back. This was one of the most beautiful novels I’ve read in a while. The problem is, I’m a crier. I cry at everything—movie trailers, getting flowers, when I was 8 and saw a homeless person for the first time. Whatever, I’m sensitive. Which was precisely the reason I was sorta apprehensive to read this in the beginning because it sounded a little morbid, but it’s just perfect. I cried happy tears, I cried sad tears, and I cried at the end because it was over. All while on the subway. So that was fun. AND it’s set in England, which I always adore because of the different phrases and language and places. One of my favorite passages was, “She put her cold feet up between his knees, and they lay wrapped together. They kissed lovely lazy kisses, both their faces on the pillow, but they were both tired, and anyway, just lying together was enough, tonight.”
Seriously, read it. I definitely need to check out Elizabeth Noble’s other books as well (The Friendship Test, The Reading Group, Alphabet Weekends, When You Were Mine). I’ve been waiting to start my next book until I wrote this post, partly so I could savor it and partly so I wouldn’t get it mixed up with the next. I have so many to choose from! So many books, so little time. :) I think I’m going to go with My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares. Have you read anything good lately?