What if you woke up in a hospital room. The last you remember, you were leaving college for the day. But the grizzly man across the room claims to be your husband. He says you have two boys, the youngest getting ready to graduate high school. And then the nurse makes you look in the mirror.
Such was the world of Noelle Hueston, the result of a convenience store hold-up, where the robber had murdered the clerk. Noelle had managed to escape that deadly situation, but had slipped on ice, and hit her head. Now she had lost twenty-five years of her life.
Noelle ultimately decides to let her "husband", Eli, take her home. She slowly begins to piece together the missing years of her life. She had been an art student in college. Did she still paint? Her two sons, strangers. Could she learn to love them? Why was there an empty bedroom in their house? What had she been doing, returning from a city hours away during a snow storm? And why had Eli known nothing about her trip that day?
And what about Eli? He is patient with her but she senses their lives had drifted apart.
Eli finally decides to tell her about their daughter, Kelsey, murdered by by a young man in a robbery. Noelle, of course, has no emotional tie to the daughter but Eli is wracked with guilt. Eli had been the sheriff at the time. The killer was a man he had stopped but had let go on because he knew the kid, and trusted him. If Eli had checked in with the department, he would have found out that the kid was wanted.
Noelle and Eli had dealt with their pain within themselves, in their own ways, and they had drifted apart. Noelle, unknown to Eli, had rented an artist studio. Eli had frequently secluded himself in his ice house, fishing.
Noelle is now determined to make a new commitment to this man, to make this marriage work. Then the revelation that Eli has been spending way too much time at a widow's house hits her like a brick and she flees. She can't make this marriage work! She'll make a new life of her own, as an artist.
Eli and deputy son Kyle realize that Noelle saw the murdering robber and he could be after her. They've got to find her before he does.
Warren says in an afterward note that she had had dreams _ and then married, had four children, then began writing books. What if you could reset your life? What if you could keep parts of your life and cut out others? What would you do?
Having read an article about a man who had fallen and lost memory of twenty-five years of his life, she began to explore the idea of starting over. Can broken relationships be healed over? Could a painful past now be worked through? Can love win out?
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is very thought provoking. The plot has a great combination of attempts at restoring romance and relationship, and a little suspense. The reader shares in the struggles of several people trying to deal with Kelsey's murder (including her friend who had actually been the one scheduled to work that day).
There is a discussion guide which would make this a great choice for reading groups.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
After twenty-five years of marriage, Noelle and Eli Hueston are ready to end their marriage. When an accident destroys part of Noelle's memory, she's stuck in years that happened during college. She can't remember her husband, her children, or even the tragedy that ripped her family apart. As she tries to regain her memory, she discovers more about the life she built in this tiny town of Deep Haven, and the man she built it with. Can she fall in love again with a man she can't even remember? Or will the secrets that she discovers destroy that possibility? Or is it possible, that erasing the past has given them a second chance at their marriage?
The Shadow of Your Smile is a heart-warming story that is sure to tug at your heart and force you to re-evaluate what you find most important in life.
Susan May Warren is well known for penning stories that are brimming with unique characters and vibrant plots. Somehow, this story is very different than her previous novels. Yes, it contains her trademark unique and spunky characters, but this plot's vibrancy is colored in such emotional colors that it's not her typical kind of story.
This story is hidden in layers as Susan May Warren maintains an excellent balance of moving the story forward while constantly exposing the past.The way she exposes the past is done in such as skillful manner that readers never feel bogged down with back-story--simply because it is essential to the entire story.
Despite the brokenness and mistakes this couple has made, readers can feel themselves rooting for this them, grinning as they find their way back, and standing in awe of a God who makes all things new.
In the past, Susan May Warren's characters have always been younger than the couple now in the spotlight of this novel. For her younger readers, who may find this to be a bit of a turn-off, she includes a younger couple in this novel as well. Their story and struggles are just as engaging as the main couple of this story.
I do have to say that I felt the romance between the younger couple happened a bit too soon (like way too soon). But I don't believe that will stop anyone from wanting them together.
The Shadow of Your Smile helps readers understand that true love is not something that just happens, but rather something that we must fight for and make happen. I also appreciate how she shows readers how deadly emotional attachments can be in destroying marriages as well.
If you enjoyed Gina Holmes' novel Dry As Rain, then you will definitely want to check this story out. I highly recommend The Shadow of Your Smile!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for Tyndale Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Noelle and Eli have been married for twenty five years, but that marriage is falling apart. What caused them to drift apart? Much of their trouble goes back to the death of a child and the horrors that brings. But, are they really ready for separation and divorce? Noelle is very unsure of what the future holds for her and her family, so she takes a trip to the city. Maybe a change of scene will help. But she is involved in an accident that leaves her with minor physical injuries, but no memory of her family. How will Eli react to this information? Could this be the chance for them to learn to love again? Can this marriage be saved and the memories be erased or dealt with so that they can move on?
As their story unfolds, Noelle and Eli have to deal with subjects like the death of a child and the grief it brings, the failure of a marriage and finding the will to start again, and how to learn to trust again. It is a compelling story that will have you rooting for the family. It is a story filled with pain and healing, distrust and anger, hope and forgiveness. You may also wonder what it would be like to lose your memory and have to build your life over again. I found the story and its characters very compelling and recommend it to readers who love a thought-provoking story. Reading groups will find a great deal to discuss within these pages. I am happy to be part of the book blog tour for this book.
The marriage of Eli and Noelle Hueston has been going steadily downhill since the death of their teenage daughter in a store shooting. Eli blames himself for her death, and has since retired from his job as Sheriff, and spends his time either fishing or helping out Lee Nelson, who lost her husband in the same shooting. Noelle is barely surviving, and spends her time volunteering, but has made the decision that she is going to live again. A twist of fate finds her caught up in another shore shooting, but while she does not die, she loses all memory of the last 25 years. As Noelle starts to get to know her husband and two sons again, Eli realises that he has to get to know Noelle again.
I really enjoyed this book, more so than I expected based on the plot summary. As well as the main plot, there is a very sweet romantic sub-plot involving Eli and Noelle's oldest son, Kyle, now a deputy in Deep Haven. As always, Susan May Warren has delivered a book that satisfies on many levels, with likeable characters, a nice romance, a bit of suspense, and some thought-provoking plot lines.
While the Deep Haven novels are all happy-ever-after romances (well, what do you expect from a series where the first book is titled â€˜Happily Ever After'?), above all, each book is a story of the power of God to heal our pain. The Shadow of Your Smile is no exception. This is the fifth Deep Haven book, and hopefully won't be the last. It features cameo appearances from many characters in the earlier books, including Liza Beaumont, the local potter. I'm still anxiously waiting for Susan May Warren to tell us Liza's story. Perhaps she will meet a good-looking Nashville music producer?
Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Wow this book was great, have a box of tissues handy because you are likely to shed a few tears. Tragedies can either tear a family apart or bring them closer. Trusting God after a tradegy is the key to how you handle it and how life turns out afterwards. Noelle, Eli and the family are put to the test when she loses her memory and Eli must help her remember her life before, but does he want her to remember everything. Could the very reason she was leaving him in the first place be the reason she leaves again....
Great book and I enjoyed laughing, crying and finding out what happens to Noelle and family.