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.
This is the story of a woman who has had her happily ever after ripped away from her. Grady, her husband, the love of her life and the father of her four children, died from cancer, and now Liz is left alone to pick up the pieces of her heart and life.
With four little children relying on her, she's been trying, but is mostly just going through the motions. Getting out of bed, getting the kids out of bed and to school, cleaning up, make dinner etc. It's considered a good day if Liz only breaks down twice to cry. On some level she realizes things can not keep going like this, but lost in grief she doesn't really care.
We follow closely how Liz goes through the five stages of grief, and slowly gets her life back together, and maybe even opens up for love again. I find her an amazing and realistic character. While I wouldn't consider this a happy story, it does have that undercurrent of hope that keeps you through. It's no fun to read about someone grieving, and crying a lot, but it is real and that's what I like about it.
I do feel that Ben, her neighbour, is a certain catalyst for Liz to finally start her grieving process, he's certainly not the motivator for her to keep going. It's all her own doing, and her kids are also a big part of this. Ben is a sweetheart though. Moving in next door, he never expected that crazy bunch, but fell for all of them. I love his interactions with the kids, and the patience and understanding he shows towards Liz.
While this book certainly is about grieve and romance, to me it was mostly a story about hope and never giving up on life and love. Wonderful characters, and a realistic take on the whole situation, overall a nice little gem.