Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day and a Book Review: Before I Say Goodbye

I hope you are having a wonderful Valentines Day with your valentine. Or, at least with a book and something yummy to eat. That would be my perfect day.

Happy Valentines Day!

The book I want to review today, Before I Say Goodbye, isn't a romance, but it is still all about love--family love, friendship love, and the relationships that mean the most to us. I have to warn you, though, it's a tear-jerker. It's been years since I cried over a book and I pretty much cried non-stop through the last two chapters of this book.

The author, Rachel Nunes, introduces us to Rikki, who has sworn she'd never move back to her hometown in Utah. She had a horrible childhood and got away as soon as she could. She's come home after two divorces with her two children in tow, and she has a plan for looking up her old friend Dante.

She doesn't realize that Dante is now bishop of his Utah ward and has a wife and four kids. Dante is surprised to see Rikki show up in his ward and wonders what she's doing back here. They hadn't parted on the best of terms and it seems odd that Rikki would show up after twenty years.

Rikki's troubled daughter Kyle is befriended by Dante's daughter and Dante's wife, Becca, tries to clamp down on her jealousy by trying to help Rikki settle in. She becomes attached to Rikki's small son (whose real name is Dante but they call him by his middle name James.) Becca is struggling with some issues of her own---her husband being gone a lot, her unfulfilled dreams, trying to be a good mother. And she adds Rikki to her list of concerns.

I think what I loved most about this book was how real it is. The author doesn't sugar-coat anything. She presents a realistic picture of a ward family, warts and all, and how past relationships can affect one's future.

I think this book for me will become sort of like my Beaches video. When I need a good cry and a good message about the bonds of friendship, I will get this book out. I highly recommend it, but only if have a BOX of Kleenex nearby.

Here's the back copy:

After a twenty-year absence, Rikki Crockett has come home. When she left, she was young, hurt, and angry—betrayed by her parents and abandoned by her best friend, Dante Rushton. She vowed never to return, but when life takes a sudden and unexpected turn, home may be the only place to find a future for her two children.

Dante Rushton also endured a difficult childhood. Yet he found a safe-haven in his LDS ward who surrounded him with love and helped him grow to be a man of faith. Now a happily married father of four, he serves as bishop to the people who once shaped his future.

The old-timers in the ward are thrilled to welcome Rikki home, but Dante’s wife, Becca, is torn between wanting to befriend Rikki and wanting her and her rebellious teenage daughter as far away from her family as possible. Why has Rikki returned now, and what does she want from Becca and Dante?

Before I Say Goodbye is the compelling story of two families helping each other face an uncertain future, and of a woman who makes peace with her past to discover the last and greatest love of all.


Debra Erfert said...

Sounds like a good book. But I'm not sure how wild I am about reading a story where I'll be crying so much. I'm a little put out right now, so I'd rather laugh! Thanks for the review. You always do such a great job.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thanks, Debra. It's just so heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time. A really great book though. :)

Rachel Ann Nunes said...

Thanks so much for your review, Julie! It is interesting to me to see how one choice can lead to another and another until there are so few left. With Before I Say Goodbye, I just had to get my character Rikki to a place where she could be hopeful. Glad you enjoyed the book!