Sam and Hadley West are trying to deal with the death of their only child and son, Paul. Paul died in a plane crash in Alaska while on his way to teach in a remote Indian village. His death, instead of bringing Sam and Hadley closer, drove them apart to the point they are now looking to divorce. They have forgotten how to communicate.
Sam heads to Alaska to see where his son died. Hadley doesn’t support him in this though she wishes him well. Hadley leaves the family home to rent a run down cottage on a small island in Maine. There she starts to paint, something she hasn’t done in years.
Because Sam is in such a remote place, cell phones won’t work and there is no Internet. Still he feels the need to let Hadley know what he is doing and what is happening so he writes her a letter. This book is made up of letters that Sam wrote Hadley and her responses.
The death of a child has to be one of the hardest things a parent would have to face. All your hopes and dreams for that child are now gone and there is nothing to take their place. For even a strong couple, this kind of news would stress a relationship. Sam and Hadley’s letters take an honest and open look at what happened to their relationship without finger pointing or throwing guilt. They share memories of their lives together, with and without Paul. As they look towards the future, things aren’t as clear as they once were.
Because they are communicating by letter, there are no interruptions by the other person. Each is able to lay out their perspective in its whole. Each is also able to explain what is going on in their lives, what is important now and what they think they are accomplishing. In the return letter, the reaction to the initial letter is given, sometimes agreeing and sometimes not. They explore their coping mechanisms with each in ways they couldn’t when they were together. What they find is a closeness that they hadn’t had in years but is it enough to save their marriage or will it just give them closure?
I loved this book. I loved that the characters weren’t perfect. I loved that they made mistakes and that they recognized that. I loved that even though Olivia and Sam were in the middle of a divorce, they still had a connection.
This book is a true love story; the love of parents towards a child and the love of two people who have had a long term relationship. This is also a book of hope; the hope that something good will come out of something horrible and the hope that miracles happen. This book can be something to lots of people and yet, it’s just a story.
Is there any mystery greater than those we love the most?
In this remarkable collaboration, New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger combine their unique talents to create a powerfully moving novel of an estranged husband and wife through a series of searching, intimate letters. By way of a correspondence so achingly real you’ll forget it’s fiction, they trace the history of a love affair and of a family before, and after, the moment that changed the course of two people’s journey forever.
Sam and Hadley West are both trying in their own ways to survive after the unthinkable loss of their only son in Alaska. For Sam, a sports journalist, acceptance means an arduous trek by dogsled across the bleak and beautiful arctic wilderness to find the place where Paul died. For Hadley, it means renting a benignly haunted, salt-soaked cottage off the Maine coast where she begins to paint again.
Now, at opposite ends of the country, waiting for their divorce to be finalized, they begin to exchange letters by post, missives filled with longing and truths they’ve never before voiced, as they recall their marriage—its magic moments and its challenges—and begin to rediscover the reasons they fell in love in the first place.
As Sam risks his life to reach the remote crash site, Hadley begins an equally hazardous inner journey to a rendezvous with the mad grief of a mother’s heart. At the place where all else is lost, they will meet again….