Contemporary, Women's Ficiton

The Road She Left Behind – Christine Nolfi

“Love isn’t something you parcel out to just some people. You spread it around. The more people you love, the more people you’re capable of loving.”

Christine nolfi – the road she left behind

Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Pages: 316
Dates Read: June 4-6, 2019
Format: Paperback

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS
📖”Crushed by guilt over the car accident that killed her father and sister, and torn apart by her mother’s resentment, Darcy Goodridge fled her family estate eight years ago and hasn’t looked back. Now an unexpected phone call threatens to upend what little serenity she’s found. Her nephew, Emerson, who was just a baby when his mother died, has gone missing. Darcy must return home and face her past in order to save him.

Once back in Ohio, Darcy realizes there’s more to Emerson’s disappearance—and to the sudden retirement of her mother, Rosalind—than meets the eye. As she works to make inroads with Rosalind, Darcy begins to unravel a decades-old secret that devastated her family and forced a wedge between her and Michael Varano, the man she left heartbroken when she vanished after the funeral. After carrying the scars of that fateful night for almost a decade, Darcy is determined to find closure, healing, and maybe even love where she lost them all in the first place—right back home where she belongs.” 📖

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
4.5 STARS

This novel was a truly wonderful read. Christine Nolfi wove a wonderfully compelling story of family drama, loss, the rediscovery of love and forgiveness.

This is the story of Darcy, a woman who has been running from the tragedy of losing her father and sister in an accident 8 years ago. When her nephew Emerson disappears, she comes home to face her past and help find him. Once she is back in Ohio, Darcy proves over and over again that she won’t run away from the troubles that plague her anymore. She is consistently opening up, moving forward and facing the realities of the situations she is put in head first. Darcy is truly a compassionate and beautifully written character.

All of the secondary characters were well thought out, and I truly enjoyed them.

First is Samson, Darcy’s closest friend who tags along for the journey with her and sticks by her side no matter what. He is quick-witted, and I enjoyed his dialogue immensely.

We also have Emerson, Darcy’s 8-year old nephew, who is extremely intelligent for a young child. He is such a sweet and vital addition to the story. I truly enjoyed how bright yet still naive his character was, and you could tell how he truly longs for a mother’s love.

I of course loved the romance aspect of this story. I felt that it was such a moving part of the story. Darcy and Michael are truly soul mates ripped apart as children by circumstances out of their control and again later in life by tragedy, they have both felt the loss of the other immensely in their separate lives. Now reunited, they could forge that path of rediscovery and forgiveness. It was truly a beautiful piece of this story.

Darcy’s mother, Rosalind came off as a “villian” for a good chunk of the book, but as we get to know her and gain understanding about the life she has lived, and the hand she has been dealt in her life, we come to understand her, and I at least could better sympathize with her. While the decisions she made obviously weren’t the best, in the end she realized the flaws of her logic and made strides to be a better mother and friend.

There were also a few lesser talked about characters, but they were vital to the story. Latrice, the housekeeper, and basically a second mother to Darcy, and Nella, Michaels mother and Rosalind’s ex best friend. They were both strong, fierce and beautifully written women in this story.

The plot, for the most part, rolled along smoothly and quickly. I had originally picked up this novel expecting a suspense to be honest, so I can truly say I was genuinely surprised by the novel. It was definitely more of a contemporary women’s fiction/drama.

Also along these lines, there were a few parts that seemed to move a little bit slow, and I attribute this to a lack of action or arc for the first 80% of the novel. It seemed that the arc of the storyline and action all came in at the end. While I did enjoy the novel, I truly wish there had been more suspense or action in there, or maybe the arc to have come in the middle of the novel instead of shoving all the action down our throats at the end. That being said though, I still don’t feel it was TOO slow, or that I didn’t enjoy it. I felt that Christine Nolfi’s writing had a way of keeping me engaged even when the pace felt slightly slow.

I also felt that the secrets were not earth-shattering, and were slightly predictable for me. I did feel however that the overall message of the novel was wonderful. It delved into the concept that secrets and past mistakes can build up walls that keep you from the deep root and truth of the matter. It also proved that you really shouldn’t hide the things you “think” you believe because they may not be the truth.

Overall I felt this was a strong novel filled with beautiful examples of strong and courageous women. It was refreshing to read about real and flawed people. It was engaging and thought-provoking. While the pacing wasn’t quite my speed, I still quite enjoyed it, It just didn’t quite hit the 5 STAR mark for me, but was awfully close. A great story of love and hope that I highly recommend.

Special thanks to BookSparks, Lake Union Publishing and Christine Nolfi for the gifted novel in exchange for my honest review.

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