An ocean of sadness with a tiny speck of hope is the best way I could describe this book, if forced to do so in one sentence. That glimmer makes me long for a sequel, but it could be there just to remind us that even in the darkness there is a little bit of light.

About the Book

Nearly a year after the sudden death of her 21-year-old daughter, Mary leaves New York City to spend the summer alone on Kilkare Island while her neurosurgeon husband travels to Europe for work.

When Mary encounters a young woman the same age as her dead daughter, Mary connects with her, only to discover that the young woman’s father is Antonio, Mary’s first love. Mary finds herself questioning the sacrifices she made to live a life she thought she should, and the difficult choice she made as a teenager that changed her life’s course.

My Thoughts

Sometimes, you read a book and at the end, you’re left feeling like “What did I just read?” This was one of those books for me. I understood it. It’s not like it was a wildly complex plot or a scifi/fantasy book with complicated concepts that were difficult to grasp. It’s just that in my mind, it was clearly headed in a direction that it veered away from in the 11th hour. I see what the author was trying to accomplish, I agree with her moral lesson and sentiments, but within the story – because it was already such an emotionally difficult and trying story – it wasn’t my favorite authorial choice. And that is fine, it is the author’s book.

C.H. Lazarovich’s writing is lyrical poetry on the page, weaving a gorgeous, harrowing story. Sometimes I go chapters without highlighting a quote I like, and sometimes, like in this book, I end up feeling like it’s easier to quote what I didn’t highlight. Just reading the writing itself was as enjoyable as the story, which was a great story, however sad and surprising it was. I needed to know how it ended, regardless of whether I enjoyed the ending or not.

However, I do think many people will like it. It will be like the great “How I Met Your Mother Debate,” where plenty of people enjoyed the ending and some people were passionately against it. So the only way to find out is to read it for yourself.

The author built real, human characters who were all trying to do their best, something I could relate with on a real spiritual level. The quiet panic where it seemed like no one quite knew what they were doing made me feel so much better about myself as a person. I’ve heard before that you never really grow up, you just grow older. This book really seemed to encompass that philosophy. Even the oldest people didn’t seem to have their lives together that much. And, since having to take care of my parents, I can absolutely tell you that’s a fact.

I am so grateful to the author and @LoveBooksTours for including me on this tour. It has been a very emotional read, and I have enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Question of the Day

How do you deal when the ending is vastly different than anything you were expecting?

Who’s It For?

If you enjoy emotional reads that explore difficult human experiences and emotions, this is a good read for you. This is a good book for when you need a good cry and a bookd to destroy you. If you’re a parent, it is a little hard to read, but it’s also cathartic.

Content Warning: Child Loss, Pregnancy, Infidelity, Allusions to Pregnancy Loss, Dog Abandonment, Divorce, Cancer

About the Author

I’m the author of Another Side of the Heart. My debut novel sparked excitement with early readers: The story “is so much about marriage, motherhood, abortion, resurrecting an old love, decisions a woman makes about childbearing, youth choices … ” and “The novel owes more to literary fiction with its beautifully nuanced and multi-layered narrative … “

I live in southern New Jersey, and was a freelance journalist under my real name Catherine Laughlin for magazines and newspapers. I also teach writing at Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication. I often gravitate to stories that chronicle the experiences of midlife women, and that there’s a complexity to the lives of older women that’s often underplayed in the arts. I hope that Another Side of the Heart fulfills some of that void.

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