Friday, March 14, 2014

Alice's Review: Safe With Me

Author: Amy Hatvany
Series: None
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 352
Obtained: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Rating: 5
Bottom Line: A wonderfully moving story about unexpected bonds.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab it
Summary:  The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. A year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose fifteen-year-old daughter, Maddie, survived only because Hannah’s daughter had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.  The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Once on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him in the wake of the transplant that saved their daughter’s life. Meanwhile, Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: the Internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to return to school, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape. ~

Review:  The first few pages of this novel left me with an oddly familiar feeling like I read this before or saw a movie just like this on the Lifetime Channel. Immediately I felt a bit disappointed in the unoriginality. After all, I just loved Heart Like Mine and was expecting the same love for Safe With Me. Thankfully I threw those early judgement aside and kept reading because what I discovered was a deeply moving story about grief, forgiveness and the power of friendship.

This novel has so many hidden gems. It’s not just about coping with the loss of a child or receiving a donor’s organ or finding a way to survive an abusive marriage, it’s so much more. It’s about two women and a teenager on the cusp of finding her true identity. It’s about leaning on others when you can’t stand on your own. It’s about coping with something so heartbreaking, it robs of you all you know. I am so in love with this novel I just want to start reading it again. I don’t want to let these characters go.

Safe With Me is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Olivia, Maddie and Hannah. I just love that Ms. Hatvany does that. As a reader, it’s a great way to really get to know the inner working of each character. And I simply adored the three of them.

As the victim of domestic abuse, Olivia didn’t come across as someone who was weak or needy. I felt sorrow for her circumstances, oddly proud of what she endured to protect her daughter. With Maddie, I understood her awkwardness and need to find out who she is as a person. I loved watching her take those baby steps into the world, finding her place among a sea of new faces. And Hannah. The thing with grief is everyone does it differently. There is no correct way to grieve. With Hannah, I understood her need for isolation and simplicity.

Ms. Hatvany is so gifted, so wonderful. She took two subjects that were so horrible and wretched and told a story with such compassion I was repeatedly moved to tears. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors ever. If you have not read her before, this is a great time to start. Safe With Me is a must read. Make sure you have a box of hankies nearby. You’ll need them.



Beth Hoffman March 15, 2014 at 11:35 AM  

Wonderful review, Alice! I have Amy's new book queued up on my iPad and hope to read it soon.

thecuecard March 15, 2014 at 10:32 PM  

This one sounds loaded. thanks for the review.

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