My first thought even as I read the book and finished it is - It is so aptly named!! More than a romance or tragic love story or forbidden attraction- this is a story about GUILT - Vivianne's guilt to be particular(at least for the most part of it). This story was a definitely a breath of fresh air - something very different, unique and unconventional. I really didn't expect for it to progress or END that way BUT the author never promised anything or deceived us into believing it would turn out to be in a way in what we probably presumed at the beginning. I really have mixed feelings about this one and considering that it's the debut book by the author, it totally deserves 5 stars. Not that it doens't come with its own set of flaws ( or that it is perfect), but it's such a bold story so beautifully told that, even if I didn't good happy and good vibes/feelings about how the story ended ( since I am not used to such kind of stories of endings), I can't blame the author or the characters for their actions and somehow can forgiven them all and wish for their best.
No book ( in a very long time) has made me feel so conflicting and confused on how to react and feel but this is a good thing, right? The characters, story and the book overall kept me on my toes and put me in such deep thoughts about life, love and guilt in general!! It's very deep in that sense and totally refreshing and matured.
This is story about Vivienne and how she copes with her sadness post the sudden death of her husband Abbott. She has great support system in the form of Cassie- her best friend. She also has her 4 year daughter Tillie to take care of but she isn't really over the death of her husband who has been her first true love.But then she meets her niece - Reid (who's 18) when he comes to their lake house to help with summer camp. He reminds her a lot of Abbott especially in looks and she receives herself to believe that he is actually Abbott (at times) - especially with her depression and the pills that she takes, it becomes a lot easy. I won't say more than this as it will become a spoiler. But that's when guilt comes into the picture - her physical attraction towards Reid puts her in a REALLY deep well of guilt and everytime she finds joy in smallest things of life she feels guilty of it because as per her - without Abbot she has no right enjoying such moments. Again, not something I agree with but for Vivienne it's like her ultimate reality and there is no running from it. The point is -this whole story is setup in the theme of guilt and the author has brought out that element very beautifully. Initially I felt there were a lot of quite unnecessary flashbacks of her time with Abbott - But after I reached a certain stage in the book, I completely understood why and then it made complete sense. Abbott seemed like a really really great guy. I wish he hasn't died:( Some scenes kind of dragged and we're very sad ( especially the monologues) but then again given the position Vivienne was in, it was necessary. Did I like Vivienne? Not actually. I understood why she did whatever she did, buying couldn't bring myself to like her. She was so much in grief that I didn't see the other face of her at all. I loved Cassie though. She is amazing character and an even amazing friend!!! Vivienne is truly lucky to have her as a friend. I loved Tillie. She is so sweet!! I also like Ried. As a 18 year old, his character was written well and feelings he started to develop for Vivienne also made sense -sort of
The last 20% was a CRAZY ride?! Expect the unexpected. IT will totally blown you away. But after finishing the book, it's better to give few minutes to let the ending sink and then draw the complete picture. It seems unfair and too tragic, but in its own it makes sense too. Not every story has hea and not everyone can find love again and getting over death and moving on might be impossible for some. This story is the best example for that. For its concept and bold attempt- 5 stars.
5 unconventional stars .