Barbara Conrey asks what happens when a doctor's devotion to finding a cure for cancer competes against the expectations of motherhood. The answer is a story I will never forget. Emotional, heartbreaking, and hopeful, Nowhere Near Goodbye is an exciting debut in women's fiction.
Jennifer Klepper, USA Today Bestseller author of Unbroken Threads
The past verses the present. The desperate needs of a family going against the desperate needs of work. And secrets that could derail everything. Conrey's beautifully written novel probes the choices we make--and the choices we regret, and she does it with grace and aplomb. Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling author of Pictures of You and With or Without You
Conrey's NOWHERE NEAR GOODBYE is a deeply moving novel about family, how the past shapes us, and, ultimately forgiveness. Told with powerful prose, the author brings us into the lives of the richly developed characters with tenderness while bringing us on a heart-filled journey of love, loss, and the choices we make. Fierce and poignant, readers who love women's fiction and true-to-life stories should not miss this stunning debut. Samantha Verant, Author of The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux
Emma Blake is a character not soon forgotten. NOWHERE NEAR GOODBYE is Emma's story, told with exceptional honesty and heart. Meticulously written, with powerful characters, this debut novel delves into friendship and family, deception and forgiveness, ultimately leading the reader to an emotional but satisfying conclusion. Rebecca Hodge, Author of Wild Land
Nowhere Near Goodbye examines the fraught balance of love and family versus drive and life purpose. Can women ever reconcile those choices and find peace in the necessary sacrifices, or forgive themselves for choosing, not putting family first?
Thoughtful women's fiction which poses those questions and will leave you pondering life's choices, in the best way. An emotional, thought-provoking, and poignant read. Lainey Cameron, Author of The Exit Strategy
In Conrey’s debut novel, a woman sacrifices her personal relationships in her quest to find a cure for glioblastoma.
Emma is a dedicated neuro-oncologist who has a promising career and a stable marriage to Tim. As the novel opens, they’ve just discovered that Emma is pregnant. He’s elated, but her excitement quickly dissipates as, she narrates, “I struggled between what I wanted and what my work demanded.” When she was a child, Emma lost her best friend, Kate, to glioblastoma—a form of cancer that occurs in the brain or spinal cord. Emma works relentlessly on a glioblastoma treatment, spurred on by the memory of Kate and the fact that she works for Kate’s father, Ned, at the hospital. After she gives birth to her daughter, Ali, her husband hopes that she’ll slow down and refocus her attention on her family. But postpartum depression (and a firm belief that “I had to put Kate first. I had to. I couldn’t give up”) lead Emma to push Tim and Ali away. Emma agrees to get counseling from Susan, a kind, unflappable therapist. However, despite Emma’s attempts to open up, the memory of Kate may prevent her from reconnecting with her own family. Overall, this novel offers a nuanced look at one woman’s complicated relationship with motherhood. For example, although Emma loves Ali, she’s unable to say reassuring things to her when she needs them, such as, “I’m your mother. I love you. I’m sorry.” There are moments when Emma’s empty promises start to feel repetitive, although they do allow readers to sympathize with Tim’s frustration as Emma pulls away from the family. Conrey also loads a fair amount of important exposition into Emma’s conversations with her therapist, but these sections help to explain the protagonist’s mindset and her relationship to Kate and Ned. Although Emma irrationally still wants to save her childhood friend, Conrey shows how Susan tries to help her patient help herself.
An often engrossing narrative about putting one’s vocation first, no matter the personal cost.