THOSE WE LOVE MOST by Lee Woodruff
“Drawing on some of my personal experiences, THOSE WE LOVE MOST explores the ways in which a close-knit family is broken and made whole again after one pivotal moment results in the ultimate tragedy.
On a warm June day, Maura Corrigan is walking with her nine-year-old son, James, as he rides his bike to school when the unthinkable happens. He darts on to the street and is hit by Alex, a 17-year-old neighbor. What unfolds in the wake of the accident is an intricate web of relationships, secrets, and betrayals that ultimately create a story of resilience.
Told through the perspectives of two generations within the family, THOSE WE LOVE MOST chronicles how an unimaginable sudden twist of fate forces each family member to confront their choices, examine their mistakes, and fight for their most valuable relationships. It raises the age-old question: Why do we hurt the ones we love?”
From the review at Literate Housewife:
“For me Those We Love Most would have been hard to read in print. Being inside of this story was intense. Having Karen White sitting there with me as the story unfolded was a blessing. Her strong, soothing voice was like the calm during the storm. She brought empathy to each character’s voice and let the characters speak without at all betraying her own opinions. This was essential for a novel like Those We Love Most. As much as I enjoyed her work on the whimsical The Peach Keeper, I felt this particular title highlighted how well suited Karen White’s narration is to heavier subject matter. I wouldn’t have experienced this novel any other way.
Lee Woodruff has much to say about marriage, family life, and forgiveness in Those We Love Most. Although I felt that Maura’s story line was resolved incompletely and can only come back to haunt her and her family, this novel portrayed the realities of married life and dealing with personal tragedy sincerely and with honesty. The cost of love is so very precious. Redemption is a long time coming in this novel and Woodward respects her readers by not tying everything up into a neat bow. Be prepared for an emotionally challenging read when you pick up Those We Love Most. Reading it with a trusted friend is even better. With Karen White narrating the audiobook, you’re covered.”
My recording experience:
I have to admit that I have quite a few friends that wouldn’t make it past the inital event of this book because the accident that starts the plot in motion is just too realistic and too possible. Images from it have haunted me now since I first read it months ago, and every time I see a neighbor kid riding a bike to school as I troop along with my youngest, I check to make sure the helmet strap is securely fastened.
That said, if you can get past the personal nightmares that might be awakened by that first chapter, this book is so worth the read (and I hope the listen). It was an emotional rollercoaster to record, but its emotional journey is not at all manipulative. The book takes a good hard look at the challenges of marriage, of fidelity, of taking responsibility for one’s actions and choices. At the end of this tough journey that Woodruff lays out is hope. That through all of life’s challenges, searing and simple, family and connectedness are possible to maintain, and worth the effort.
Listen to sample here: