Those We Love Most

Those We Love Most

3.7 21
by Lee Woodruff
     
 

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"Lee Woodruff knows how to get to the heart of the matter on every occasion."
--Alice Hoffman

A bright June day. A split-second distraction. A family forever changed.

Life is good for Maura Corrigan. Married to her college sweetheart, Pete, raising three young kids with her parents nearby in her peaceful Chicago suburb, her world is secure. Then one

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Overview

"Lee Woodruff knows how to get to the heart of the matter on every occasion."
--Alice Hoffman

A bright June day. A split-second distraction. A family forever changed.

Life is good for Maura Corrigan. Married to her college sweetheart, Pete, raising three young kids with her parents nearby in her peaceful Chicago suburb, her world is secure. Then one day, in a single turn of fate, that entire world comes crashing down and everything that she thought she knew changes.

Maura must learn to move forward with the weight of grief and the crushing guilt of an unforgivable secret. Pete senses a gap growing between him and his wife but finds it easier to escape to the bar with his friends than face the flaws in his marriage.

Meanwhile, Maura's parents are dealing with the fault lines in their own marriage. Charismatic Roger, who at sixty-five, is still chasing the next business deal and Margaret, a pragmatic and proud homemaker, have been married for four decades, seemingly happily. But the truth is more complicated. Like Maura, Roger has secrets of his own and when his deceptions and weaknesses are exposed, Margaret's love and loyalty face the ultimate test.

Those We Love Most chronicles how these unforgettable characters confront their choices, examine their mistakes, fight for their most valuable relationships, and ultimately find their way back to each other. It takes us deep into the heart of what makes families and marriages tick and explores a fundamental question: when the ties that bind us to those we love are strained or broken, how do we pick up the pieces?

Deeply penetrating and brimming with emotional insight, this engrossing family drama heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

Praise for Those We Love Most:

"Lee Woodruff has written a beautiful, humorous, poignant page-turner about the complexities of love and marriage, tricky family dynamics, and the power of the human heart. Everything you want in a great read is here, including wonderful storytelling that builds to a satisfying ending. Loved it."
--Adriana Trigiani

"Those We Love Most is an engrossing story about family fragility, rupture, and redemption. Woodruff's beautiful and unflinching portrayal of the grief, betrayal, guilt, tenacity, and love that engulf this family in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy will keep you turning pages till the end."
--Sue Monk Kidd

"Flawless, breathtaking, and oh-so-real, Those We Love Most is a beautifully written book about family, love, betrayal, forgiveness, and how we pick up the pieces in the wake of unthinkable tragedy. When I turned the last page, I found myself missing the characters already. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. "
--Harlan Coben

"Those We Love Most is a poignant, heartwarming story that follows you beyond its pages. Woodruff skillfully makes the Corrigan family real--fallible and vulnerable, ultimately strengthened by the undeniable power of love. I grieved and cheered for them all, and finished the book with a big smile on my face."
--Catherine Coulter

"I opened Those We Love Most when my plane took off from Boston, and didn't look up again until I landed in Miami. In between, I cried and smiled and nodded, and turned pages faster and faster. It's one of those novels."
--Ann Hood

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
One of the surprising things about Those We Love Most is that it tells such a difficult human story and is at the same time so entertaining. In just a few sentences, Woodruff can capture the smell and taste of anxiety and the thick listlessness of grief. Yet there are lovely touches of humor in unexpected places, too…
—Reeve Lindbergh
Publishers Weekly
Woodruff’s first novel (after the essay collection, Perfectly Imperfect) traces the repercussions—both destructive and redemptive—of a parent’s worst fear: the death of a child. Maura Corrigan’s ostensibly perfect life is shattered when her nine-year-old son James, riding his bicycle, is hit by a car in front of Maura while she responds to a text. Guilt, anger, depression, and pain sweep over Maura; her husband, Pete; and her parents, Margaret and Roger, as Alex, the teen behind the fatal wheel, seeks desperately to make amends. As the family struggles to cope, James’s death highlights the myriad problems in Maura and Pete’s marriage, as well as in Margaret and Roger’s relationship. Pete’s drinking intensifies, Maura careens toward an affair, and Roger’s long-term infidelity comes to a sudden end. Woodruff occasionally falls into the trap of too much telling and not enough showing (e.g., “a sense of giddiness lent her a visual hyperawareness”), and the emotional effect of James’s death on the Corrigans’ other two children could withstand further illumination. Nevertheless, Woodruff’s deft navigation of emotionally troubled territory makes this a riveting and heartfelt read. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In her debut novel, Woodruff (coauthor with her husband, ABC news anchor Bob Woodroff, of In an Instant) sheds light on the imperfections and vulnerabilities of shattered, stunned family members following a tragic loss. Adoring mother to three robust children, Maura Corrigan watches her life crumble in the aftermath of an accident involving her oldest son. The novel unfolds with several different viewpoints, but the author focuses on the undone Maura, who struggles to find joy and meaning in what remains of her life. VERDICT Maura's haunting Chagall-like dream is a wonderful touch, as is commentary on seasonal gifts of nature; surely some of this heartfelt, honest novel stems from the author's own real-life journey with her husband, who was severely injured while reporting on the war in Iraq. Overall, this is solid contemporary fiction, sure to please readers who enjoy Sue Monk Kidd and Anna Quindlen.—Andrea Tarr, Corona P.L., CA
Kirkus Reviews
A year in the life of a family that suffers a tragic loss. Margaret is gardening, while ruefully reflecting on the knowledge that her husband, commercial real estate exec Roger, has been having an affair. Indeed, at that moment, Roger is in Florida, in his mistress Julia's arms. Margaret and Roger's daughter, Maura, is walking her three children to school when she receives an intriguing text to which she must respond. In that instant, everything changes: Her oldest son, James, his bike zigzagging in and out of school traffic, is hit by a teenage driver, Alex. James lingers for a week and then dies. Roger, whose ardor for Julia has cooled as he faces retirement and old age, must now spend more time at home as Margaret assumes their devastated daughter's parenting and household duties. Maura's husband, Pete, who never outgrew his college drinking habits, is struggling to accept his son's death, but the crisis also brings home the increasing distance between him and Maura. As she gradually fights her way back from despair, Maura must cope with the guilt of knowing that at that crucial second she was distracted, taking her eye off James, she was texting another man. Exacerbating her anguish, Alex has been holding a silent nightly vigil outside her house. Told from Margaret's, Maura's and Roger's vantage points, an accretion of daily details depicts how a typical upper-middle-class family in the Chicago suburbs copes with a major trauma. Woodruff does not explore the edgier areas her subject matter suggests. For the most part, the main characters resist their baser impulses, and the novel is somewhat duller as a result. Earnest and life-affirming, but a bit too tame.
Adriana Trigiani
"Lee Woodruff has written a beautiful, humorous, poignant page-turner about the complexities of love and marriage, tricky family dynamics, and the power of the human heart. Everything you want in a great read is here, including wonderful storytelling that builds to a satisfying ending. Loved it."
Harlan Coben
"Flawless, breathtaking, and oh-so-real, Those We Love Most is a beautifully written book about family, love, betrayal, forgiveness, and how we pick up the pieces in the wake of unthinkable tragedy. When I turned the last page, I found myself missing the characters already. I can't recommend this book highly enough."
Catherine Coulter
"Those We Love Most is a poignant, heartwarming story that follows you beyond its pages. Woodruff skillfully makes the Corrigan family real--fallible and vulnerable, ultimately strengthened by the undeniable power of love. I grieved and cheered for them all, and finished the book with a big smile on my face."
Ann Hood
"I opened Those We Love Most when my plane took off from Boston, and didn't look up again until I landed in Miami. In between, I cried and smiled and nodded, and turned pages faster and faster. It's one of those novels."
Alice Hoffman
"Lee Woodruff knows how to get to the heart of the matter on every occasion."
Sue Monk Kidd
"Those We Love Most is an engrossing story about family fragility, rupture, and redemption. Woodruff's beautiful and unflinching portrayal of the grief, betrayal, guilt, tenacity, and love that engulf this family in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy will keep you turning pages till the end."
From the Publisher
"Lee Woodruff knows how to get to the heart of the matter on every occasion."—Alice Hoffman"

Lee Woodruff has written a beautiful, humorous, poignant page-turner about the complexities of love and marriage, tricky family dynamics, and the power of the human heart. Everything you want in a great read is here, including wonderful storytelling that builds to a satisfying ending. Loved it."—Adriana Trigiani"

Those We Love Most is an engrossing story about family fragility, rupture, and redemption. Woodruff's beautiful and unflinching portrayal of the grief, betrayal, guilt, tenacity, and love that engulf this family in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy will keep you turning pages till the end."—Sue Monk Kidd"

Flawless, breathtaking, and oh-so-real, Those We Love Most is a beautifully written book about family, love, betrayal, forgiveness, and how we pick up the pieces in the wake of unthinkable tragedy. When I turned the last page, I found myself missing the characters already. I can't recommend this book highly enough."—Harlan Coben"

Those We Love Most is a poignant, heartwarming story that follows you beyond its pages. Woodruff skillfully makes the Corrigan family real—fallible and vulnerable, ultimately strengthened by the undeniable power of love. I grieved and cheered for them all, and finished the book with a big smile on my face."—Catherine Coulter"

I opened Those We Love Most when my plane took off from Boston, and didn't look up again until I landed in Miami. In between, I cried and smiled and nodded, and turned pages faster and faster. It's one of those novels."—Ann Hood

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401341787
Publisher:
Hyperion
Publication date:
09/11/2012
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
577,823
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 - 12 Years

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