Sunday, September 18, 2016

Faithful - Alice Hoffman (Review)

29430788Faithful by Alice Hoffman
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Publication date:
November 1st 2016

Publisher: Simon & Schuster  
Format: ebook, 272 pages
How I got it: NetGalley for an honest review
Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble
My rating: 4/5

From 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.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.

My thoughts:

I have never read anything by Alice Hoffman, but after finishing Faithful I will now be picking up another Alice Hoffman book ASAP! 

The book follows Shelby, a girl who had a terrible accident in high school where she survived and her best friend Helene was left destroyed.  Shelby doesn't really know how to go on with her life after the accident, she thinks she shouldn't have survived so she is very depressed.   Shelby stills feels bad about herself, but starts a sort of relationship with Ben who eventually moves her to the city.  I feel this is where Shelby's life really begins to change and as a reader we get to see more of her emotions.

I did fall in love with Shelby as a character, although it did take some time because at first I kind of wanted her to get over herself and realize she was wasting her life, but these big life events take time to overcome and I feel like you need the right people in your life to overcome these events.   The author did a great job with keeping the story moving along and captivating while Shelby develops into a new person. I loved all the side characters that we got to meet in the book especially Maravelle and her family.  I feel like Maravelle really helps to pull Shelby out of her rut and show her that life is worth living.   Maravelle shows Shelby trust right off the bat and that is what she needs to get her life back on a track.

I found this book to be a very emotional read for me.  There were so many up's and downs's throughout the book I got completely sucked in and needed to know what would happen to Shelby in the end. I felt like once Shelby tried to fix her life she just couldn't catch a break and some of the events that happened to her in the book where difficult events to cope with while reading.

The author did an amazing job of emerging the reader into Shelby's life and showing us all the emotions that where going on in her head.   The entire story is told from Shelby's perspective and we went on the roller coaster ride of emotions with her.   The author took the a very serious topic of forgiving oneself and had the reader take the journey of being able to move on with your life.  

I suggest this as a weekend read it is a book that you will want to dedicate a lot of time to reading.  The story just keeps unfolding and you want to know what is going to happen to Shelby in the end. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About the Author

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

Hoffman’s first novel, PROPERTY OF, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become PROPERTY OF, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff’s magazine, American Review.

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published over thirty novels, including two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, HERE ON EARTH, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights. PRACTICAL MAGIC was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, AT RISK, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Hoffman’s advance from LOCAL GIRLS, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman Breast Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. BLACKBIRD HOUSE is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman's other books include AQUARMARINE and INDIGO, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers THE RIVER KING, BLUE DIARY, THE PROBABLE FUTURE, and THE ICE QUEEN. GREEN ANGEL, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and THE FORETELLING, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. Little Brown also published the teen novel INCANTATION, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, SKYLIGHT CONFESSIONS, a novel about one family’s secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Hoffman’s first novel.


Her next novel, FAITHFUL, will be released November 1, 2016.

Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay “Independence Day,” a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Weist. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel AQUAMARINE was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

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