The Way We Were

She’s done what was right for her children. But now she faces an impossible choice…
When Alice’s husband Ben dies whilst working abroad, her world falls apart. They shared twenty years and two daughters. Life without him is unimaginable.

Alice lost her own parents at a young age so she understands her girls’ pain. Yet nothing can prepare her for her grieving children. Teenager Jools has put a huge wall up, the kind only Ben would have been able to break down. And eleven-year-old Holly is desperately searching for the answer to everything in books but won’t speak.

Desperate to keep her shattered family together, Alice must find a strength she never knew she had. And, as she slowly comes through the darkest of days, she unexpectedly finds herself falling in love with lovely, kind Dan.

But just as she starts to think about rebuilding her life, Alice receives a phone call that turns her world upside down again. Ben has been found alive. And he’s on his way home.

The girls assume they will go back to being a family again. Alice isn’t so sure. Once more she has to find the strength to be the mother her daughters need her to be. But can they really carry on the way they were?

A deeply moving novel that will have you completely gripped to the very last page, The Way We Were is perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jojo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks.

Sinéad Moriarty was described to me once as the Irish female version of Nicholas Sparks and I’d have to say that seems fairly accurate as she has this ability to write novels centered on love, family and relationships that pull at the heartstrings.

This one was broken up into multiple parts with chapters from different characters point of views and although that sounds as if it could be confusing and take away from the story how she handled it actually made the story very easy to follow.

Moriarty definitely knows how to write the emotional spectrum of issues and for the most part accurately portray what someone would go through along with realistic behavior as a result of these intense situations.

As a parent of daughters it was hard at times reading anything to do with the Jools character because she was such a brat who came off abusive towards her sister and mother while worshipping her father as someone who could do no wrong. I often had to remind myself she was a teenager and that can be par for the course as we all know how selfish and self-centered teens can be but still at times I couldn’t help thinking that some stronger parenting might curb her thinking talking to her mother and sister the way she does is not appropriate.

The scene that was most cringe worthy for me was the first time Alice and her husband had sex when he returned. The way she described it, how Alice felt, was almost like she was being raped. I know that is incredibly strong but here’s Alice essentially being forced to have sex that she didn’t seem to want but felt forced to have simply because it was her husband. I get why she would have her do it because if your husband has been gone for 2 years and misses having sex with his wife it’s only natural he’d want to and if the situation with Alice was different and she had been pining for him those 2 years I’m sure how she would’ve reacted would’ve been different. BUT in this scene, how it was set up and where these 2 characters were in this particular moment of their lives – it was tough and that theme kept get portrayed for quite some time. I’m not saying the author did anything wrong, on the contrary I believe in a real situation this very well could be accurate. It’s a testament to her writing that she could create such a strong emotional reaction to one of her scenes.

My only true negative that I felt needed to be rethought in how it was written was the handling of Jools mental health issues was handled as I felt it was too quickly mentioned and blown off what she was doing to herself. This is a huge issue particularly in current society and I felt the way it was written made it seem like just because she allegedly stopped meant what she had been doing was no big deal now. Both parents seemed overly wrapped up in their own issues which is why they didn’t pursue this and they had long established giving into her rather than use stricter parenting methods. Something like this can appear to stop but once someone uses this as a coping mechanism the odds they will return to it without proper therapy is extremely high.

This was my first book to read by her even though she’s now written more than 10 but it was good enough I’m curious to see how her others one are so I’m adding her to my list of authors to check out.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for allowing me to review this!

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*synopsis and pic from Netgalley

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