When Meg Kavanagh finds herself in the unthinkable role of grieving sister, she discovers some harsh truths—parents aren’t perfect, life’s not always sweet, and the dead don’t write back. Worried she might have caused Wyatt’s death, Meg folds her heart into a box. Her famous mom grieves by slowly disappearing, and her dad copes by moving them to a small town in Wyoming.
What she finds in Wyoming blindsides her.
His name is Henry, and he’s a rancher’s son who pulls Meg into his larger-than-life world and shows her that being sensitive is not an excuse to sit this one out. Meg wants to be brave like Henry because the best things in life—like falling in love and finding mercy—require uncommon courage. And Henry has a secret that changes everything.
Well. I'm not even sure where to begin. But in a good way! Because this was a lovely story. Truly lovely. It's quiet and gentle, no major drama or hijinks here. Just a girl and her family grieving and trying to learn how to live again after the death of a beloved brother and son. Meg is a wonderful character. Trying to cope with a life without her big brother is difficult for her. But added to her burden is her own mother who is slowly coming apart inside. So Meg feels she has to hold things together and act like everything's okay, when she's barely holding herself together and everything is clearly not okay! The move to Wyoming feels like a clean slate, so she starts life there by allowing everyone to believe she's an only child. With no tragedy in her background, everyone treats her normal. But when you're hardly holding it together, secrets don't last too long. And with big secrets like a mother who is no longer herself and a dead brother, coupled with feeling immensely breakable, Meg is in desperate need for support.
Which she gets from a boy named Henry. And what a boy he is! Oh my. Henry is nice, and sweet, and kind, just an all around great guy. He can see Meg is hiding something, but he patiently waits until she is able to talk about it. He is adorable! Seriously. Where was my "Henry" when I was in high school anyway? ;) He's a rancher's son who is as comfortable on the back of a horse as he is driving a car. And he gives Meg time, care, love, and gentleness. He is just so good to her and for her. With his help, she begins to "climb her mountain" as he describes it. And he is right there beside her all the way to the top. Henry is awesome!
All the characters have more than one side to them, as people do in real life. So my first impressions would change unexpectedly. But one unchanging person was Thanet. He was such a great addition to the story. He has Cerebral Paulsy, yet he doesn't let it stop him from living as normal a life as he can. He's a great source of encouragement for Meg. And Tennyson ended up surprising me a lot! I wasn't too thrilled with her in the beginning, but she grew on me and ended up being a wonderful friend.
This isn't a perfectly written story. There are some parts where the pacing feels a little off and things don't flow as smooth. But what Ms. Kurk does so incredibly well is sprinkle little nuggets of thoughtfulness here and there. I was highlighting so many passages on my Kindle! Her writing is simple, yet profound and sincere. Things would be moving along quietly when suddenly a sentence or a whole paragraph would leap out at me and make me stop and think. Her descriptions draw you into the story with just a few words and relies on your imagination to fill in the rest. Which it does easily! :) I could readily picture the rolling terrain that Meg and Henry were riding over, the little bookstore where Meg works, and her family's tiny house with so much unspoken emotion filling it. The story winds around your heart so subtly, until the moment you realize exactly how much of your heart it has grabbed hold of!
If you haven't figured out already, I loved this story a lot! Comforting and warm, it will grab your emotions and have you invested in Meg and her journey to realizing how strong she actually is. Read it! :)
"When you're alone and afraid, the simple sound of the steady in and out of air being drawn by another person is good medicine."
"You know, your grandfather used to say that we were never promised an easy time on this earth. Life's about how we react to the hard stuff."
"I grew up in the same house my dad grew up in. He had a thousand stories for every room. He said that our stories just made his easier to understand."
"They'd made the kind of judgments people make when they are too far removed to understand complicated things."
"But grief and mourning are part of life and sometimes they have nothing at all to do with death. We can grieve the loss of anything and it's during those times we need each other the most."
"Even when we're going through our darkest winter, spring is waiting to appear."