Each and every story I’ve read from Lauren has touched me in a unique way. The way she mixes character development alongside setting and plot touches upon the cornerstones of what makes a technically good story. However, it’s that intangible entity, the thing we can’t put our finger on as readers that burrows deep inside and finds a protected part of our being. We connect with something bigger our a piece of ourselves that we didn’t even know was begging for our attention. Those are the types of stories that make a meaningful and lasting impact in our lives. That’s where fiction becomes an all-important avenue that leads us toward navigating through life instead of escaping from it through the words on a page.
Violet, Trudy, Maya, and Frank some most clearly and loudly to me through their thoughts, actions, and words. Two particular themes bubbled up from somewhere deep inside over the course of this novel. Small moments slowly transformed into bigger ones. And as they made their way to the surface, everything made sense in a euphoric way as they broke through everything holding it back.
Signs. Do they exist? Does the universe or some higher power provide us with subtle nudges about where we should go or what we should do next? Or is it just our minds, hearts, and souls finally becoming self-aware about what needs to be done to reach that peaceful place we’ve been searching for? I believe that every character in this book experiences moments such as these, where someone or something pushes them into action, and maybe in a direction that’s uncomfortable. And it’s so cliché, but also very true. It’s often those uncomfortable paths that lead us home. It’s not always easy, but gosh, experiencing all the change and turmoil for this cast of characters across so many different realms, it sure feels as though taking that leap of faith leads us to a healthier place, even if we don’t know where it leads. Sometimes it’s simply making the decision to do something different that’s more important than what whatever that thing is.
Confrontation. Things happen in our lives, and not all of them leave us feeling confident about how we should proceed. Such is the nature of life. It can be messy, chaotic, and utterly confusing at times. And sometimes, the only thing we can summon ourselves to do is retreat into the safety of silence. We bury our truest selves and hide what we’re feeling. Even when it fights like hell to make themselves known, those scary emotions we’re afraid to reveal, for whatever reason, stay tucked into what we perceive as a safe place.
And this is where I have found the most enlightening message inside this story through the lives of these characters. Hiding the truth is a disservice to ourselves and the people surrounding us. We might feel as though we’re avoiding hurt and pain and it’s the only way we can possibly move forward, by keeping those quiet thoughts and feelings on the inside. And maybe we are steering clear of those negative feelings. But we’re also not giving ourselves the chance to experience the truest version of ourselves.
And therein lies the truest definition of home… somewhere you can be yourself, a person who you can share your deepest dreams and fears with, where everything simply makes sense in a way that you no longer feel the need to search any longer. This story and these characters remind us of this truth with a healthy dose of serendipity, that trusting ourselves and having the courage to speak our mind and feel what’s inside our hearts, leads us toward a soft and safe place to land.
Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️☕️
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