Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Literary Fiction
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.
Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.
What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.
Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.
Alice Hoffman’s “trademark alchemy” (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the “delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary” (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.
Alice Hoffman has been on my hit list for a long time and with her impressive bibliography, picking what book to read first to sample her writing became challenging.
Then came FAITHFUL and everything about it called to me like a siren from the whimsical cover art to the already heart tugging blurb. Shelby Richmond is an unforgettable character and her journey towards self forgiveness and genuine happiness is affecting in its rawness, her resilience inspiring, and her introspective narration of events touched me in a powerful yet somber manner.
The themes and topics depicted in FAITHFUL are dark and heavy: mental breakdowns, animal cruelty, and drug addiction, to name a few. However the novel remained light hearted and hopeful even. Shelby struggled for sure and made more mistakes to which she punished herself intently, but she was never a defeatist. Even on those moments where Shelby was on her knees from self loathing she still managed to have a (dry) sense of humor about things.
FAITHFUL is such a beautiful story and every bit relatable. It's one of those poignant tales that will stay with you for a while making this latest AHoffman release worth checking out.
P.S. There's a magic realism tag to the title in Goodreads but there's none of that, there was a very light slant in the beginning but AHoffman didn't develop the angle just in case you're curious.