Sunday, July 12, 2015

It's You by Jane Porter

3.5 Star

In the wake of a tragedy that tore her life down to the foundations, Dr. Alison McAdams has lost her way. So when she’s summoned to Napa to care for her ailing father, she’s not sure she has anything to offer him—or anyone else.

What Ali finds in Northern California wine country is a gift—an opportunity to rest, and distance from her painful memories. Most unexpectedly, she finds people who aren’t afraid of her grief or desperate for her to hurry up and move on.

As Ali becomes part of her father’s community, makes new friends of her own, and hears the stories of a generation who survived the Second World War, she begins to find hope again. In a quest to discover the truth about another woman’s lost love, she sets off on a journey across oceans and deep into history. And in making sense of that long-ago tragedy, Ali is able to put together the broken pieces of her heart and make new choices that are right for her.

Kathryn- 3.5 Star

The story in It’s You revolves initially around Ali who is struggling to push through her grief and unanswered questions about her husband’s suicide.  There’s nothing about his death that is explained to her or us and it was really difficult to read her thoughts. I can’t imagine such a tragedy not affecting you for the rest of your life and I was immediately drawn to her unease. It was poignant that she was trying to connect with her father, especially as her mother had also recently passed, and I was initially frustrated with her father’s lack of warmth.  In his own way though, there was reason for his attempt at being distant. The gentle pushing away was trying to push Ali towards a life of living rather than a life of the past.

I was initially surprised by Edie’s diary section because it was unexpected, intense and emotional. There was so much information and history packed into those little diary snippets of the woman’s life.  I found the first connections between Edie and Ali a bit stilted and honestly left me a bit confused but I did come to realise that Edie was there to help Ali move into the present, to look at life worth living and to come out of her grief, slowly and with purpose. 

One thing that struck me as odd during the reading of It’s You was Ali’s lack of friends. While we are aware that she has no girlfriends we are not given any reason why there was a lack of relationships for her to draw on. It is implied that due to the years of study to become a dentist she grew close to only her husband but it would have added more depth of Ali’s character for me if we had been given some more characters in the story for her to relate to.  She seemed so alone and it didn’t quite work for me whereas I felt a big connection to Edie because of the relationships outlined in her segments.

I enjoyed this novel by Jane Porter and if I’d had a little more padding around Ali’s personality it would have been even more impactful.

Thank you to NAL/Berkley for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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