Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.
Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady's prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?
Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.
When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn't just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she's capable of ever giving again.
As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there's more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there's more to life than death.
So, even though this book has been released for nearly a year I've only just read it. When it first came out, everybody raved about it and I can see why, but at that time I just was not in the mood for it and did not think I'd really like the book. And after reading it, I can say I liked it, but I still don't think this is my kind of book, and I know why. It's not the book, or the characters (much), it's me. I'm a young adult who is after fluffy or passionate romances - and at this point in my life I have not really experienced loss and I've never been in love, thus I couldn't really relate. That's not to say the book is bad, because it isn't. I loved it. I teared up so many times (which is an accomplishment, trust me - the only other books I cried at were Harry Potter when my fave characters died)!
This book begins with a little sweet last moment between Grady and Lizzie, and from there it was tears-and-tissues-ahoy! I lost count of the many times I nearly cried at this book. At the grieving kids, the grieving family, the grieving lover. I was confronted with all these different types of grief that I have not experienced in my life yet, and it absolutely gutted me.
This book is so incredibly special. It's about life after death. It's about family. Love.
I was with Lizzie all the way - at points she slightly annoyed me, but again that's most likely because I couldn't really relate to her at all times. I loved how she tried to cope and keep her family going during the difficult time. How they learnt to accept Ben as the new man in their life. How during all this devastation and grief, the family was still the core of the story, with their humorous shenanigans.
Ben was a darling in this book. He was so sweet and understanding. He didn't try to replace Grady as he knew that was impossible; he just tried to coexist beside him. I fell in love with Ben in this book right along side Lizzie, but I also fell in love with Grady, who we didn't get to know, through his creation of his wife's dream house, his children, the knick knacks of his that were given to the kids.
This book was remarkable. They are no words for it. Even writing this review I'm tearing up.