THE ONES WHO MATTER MOST
By: Rachael Herron
Published: April 5, 2016
This is my second Rachael Herron book and I’m becoming quite the fan. The first book of Herron’s I read, SPLINTERS OF LIGHT, was one I really enjoyed, covering the delicate topic of Early Onset Alzheimers. See my review, HERE.
THE ONES WHO MATTER MOST will likely be a favorite of 2016 for me. Herron takes a story with an interesting plot and engages the reader from nearly the first page. This tale of friendship didn’t happen easily but the end result will have you grabbing a Kleenex and wishing you could have friends like Abby and Fern.
After her doctor lets it slip that her husband got a vasectomy behind her back, Abby decides it is time to get a divorce. Abby feels betrayed after months of trying to have a baby with no results. When Scott returns home from work, Abby tells him their marriage is over. He seems to be unaffected and goes upstairs to get ready for bed. What Abby finds instead, is her husband lying dead on the floor. In the ensuing days and weeks, Abby tries to understand her grief and despair over a husband she no longer wanted. She tries to grasp the idea of a lonely life ahead for her. With both her parents gone and a sister who died before she was even born, she truly has no family. Even though she has plenty of friends and her mom’s best friend, Kathleen, as an amazing mother figure, she feels alone. While going through her deceased husband’s desk, she finds a box full of photos of a woman and child she does not know. Her search reveals something so shocking about her husband that she must find the woman and child to know the whole truth.
Fern has been doing everything she can to get by while raising her son, Matty, and taking care of Elva and her father-in-law, Wyatt. Her salary as a city bus driver barely covers their expenses and she is one disaster away from losing everything she has worked so hard to establish. Then Abby shows up on her doorstep and Fern’s life is turned upside down. Fern is a stubborn, independent, Hispanic single mother who isn’t about to let a rich, skinny, white girl into her family’s life. Herron creates conversations and characters so vividly that you can picture them in your mind while reading. There is a vast difference in the community that Fern lives in and Abby’s much more posh lifestyle. Their complete separation of class and culture makes it nearly impossible for them to see each other as anything but the enemy. But, as fate intervenes and walls crumble, Fern sees that keeping Abby out of their life isn’t in any of their best interests. Forces beyond her control show her that the definition of family isn’t as narrow as she originally thought.
I haven’t read a story where I felt this engaged and invested in some time. I found myself truly frustrated over the character’s choices and emotional over others. I was a little put off by Herron’s racy details and felt they were unnecessary, but it seems that the explicit descriptions are the trend for today’s readers.
As you can imagine, Herron creates multi-dimensional characters that struggle, have fears, make bad decisions, have regrets, and forgive. They love hard and are hard to love. Both Abby and Fern are successful, strong, and independent in many ways, while weak and needy in others. Their friendship builds and crashes and rebuilds over the chapters and what develops is truly something I didn’t predict. Even the secondary characters of Matty, Wyatt, and Fern’s brother, Diego, give depth to the story with compelling and honest reactions to Abby and Fern’s choices. Herron’s novel cultivates a friendship between two very unlikely sources. It’s messy and awkward and scary, but it will change your view of what it truly means to be part of a family.
“It ached so much, opening like this.
Her chest creaked with it, and it was hard to remember the combination
to open the locks she’d put around her heart.”
Rachael Herron is the internationally bestselling author of the novel PACK UP THE MOON, the five book Cypress Hollow romance series, and the memoir, A LIFE IN STITCHES. She received her MFA in writing from Mills College, and when she’s not busy writing, she’s a 911 fire/medical dispatcher for a Bay Area fire department. She lives with her wife, Lala, in Oakland, California, where they have more animals and instruments than are probably advisable. Rachael is struggling to learn the accordion and can probably play along with you on the ukulele. She’s a New Zealander as well as an American. She’s been known to knit. For more on Rachael Herron, check out her website, HERE
. You can also find her on Facebook, HERE
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Thanks to the publisher for sending an eBook copy of the book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated in any way for this review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.