Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman

Happy book birthday to Lori Nelson Spielman whose latest, Sweet Forgiveness, releases today!

Hannah Farr is thinking about the future - she wants to settle down and start a family with her mayor boyfriend and his grumpy teenage daughter. But she knows he'll never leave New Orleans. So when a potential job opportunity pops up in Chicago, Hannah is ready to say no. Until said boyfriend pitches it as a potential great idea, one that could lead to even more opportunities down the line and alongside his own ambitions for bigger things. But Hannah has to pitch a great idea in order to get an interview and this is where the trouble begins. 

Fiona Knowles's book on forgiveness and the accompanying stones have become a huge trend. And Hannah was one of the first recipients, a secret she's held close for almost two years. An interview with Fiona as one of the first thirty-plus to receive the Forgiveness Stones would do well on its own, but Hannah feels she'd need to continue the circle. Which means repairing her relationship with her mother. It's just a concept, though, surely something that will never air...

Well now. I'd never read Lori Nelson Spielman but the premise for Sweet Forgiveness did sound interesting to me. And it has popped up on a few summer read lists as well. No doubt this is why I expected something a bit lighter and sappier than what I got. Sweet Forgiveness was a surprise in that sense, still an emotional read but not exactly light and definitely not sappy!

Oh, I had so many feelings about this book! First, the stones. This seems like a good idea in one sense but I can't help thinking that what happens to Hannah is just one of the downsides to the idea. First, yes, the public apologies. But also dredging up past heartache that might be better left in the past! I don't think I'd feel the same way Dorothy does, for example.

Then there's Hannah's secret. Which I think is handled as best as it can be given that it's such a monstrously difficult topic. Hannah does deal with it beautifully, though, and her commitment to taking responsibility and to moving on is admirable to the nth degree.

I love, love, loved the love triangle! Loved it. It doesn't exactly play out as a typical triangle/conundrum at all. And I loved it for this. Plus, well, every reader is going to want Hannah to want the guy I wanted her to want. Every reader.

Overall, her arc is one that truly enjoyed. It's really the characters that can take all of the credit for this (and the author for creating them). Hannah, of course, is fabulous. I never had anything but love for her throughout the entire story. Her friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and loved ones - the good and the bad - all flesh out the tale beautifully. I'm a bit worried that detailing what I liked about them might give away some of the story, something I definitely want to avoid, but I can say that they are very well rounded characters as a whole.

One of the things I think I liked best about the book - and makes it a bit of a stand out - is the open endedness of various plot details. Again this is part of Hannah's determination to move on, so it is key to the story. There is a part of me that WANTS TO KNOW but the rest of me is fine with the unanswered questions and imagining where Hannah's life will go next.

Sweet Forgiveness is most definitely a wonderful read and since it's releasing now, at the onset of summer, it's a perfect summer read. Just don't expect a fluffy mindless book that you can abandon on a whim. I can guarantee you'll experience the same range of emotions I did (ALL of the emotions, in other words) and that once you start you'll want to see Hannah's story through straight to the end.

Rating: 4.5/5


cpr040304 said...

I was luck enough to get an advanced ebook copy of this book. I loved it! I couldn't put it down. Every chapter left you wanting to continue reading. I was cheering for Hannah all the way!

Unknown said...

Hi - I liked your review of Sweet Forgiveness. It sounds interesting. However, I wouldn't have given it a 2nd thought without your review. The cover is just not that appealing.
@dino0726 from 
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