Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review of Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff - 5 stars!

Happy Wednesday!

Author: Lee Woodruff

Title: Those We Love Most
Release date: 11th of September 2012
Published by: Hyperion
Reading level: FICTION – Adult: Literary Fiction, Psychological
Pages: 320 pages in Paperback ARC
Source: Received from the author at author signing at BEA2012


In her fiction debut, beloved writer and speaker Lee Woodruff offers an intimate and moving novel that explores the ways in which four lives are broken and made whole again after a shattering tragedy.

On a warm June day, Maura Corrigan is walking with her nine-year-old son, James, as he rides his bike to school. The unthinkable happens: he darts onto the street and is hit by Alex, a 17-year-old neighbor. As if James's death isn't tragic enough for the Corrigan family, in its wake an intricate web of relationships, secrets, and betrayals begins to unravel.

Told through the perspective of four family members, Those We Love Most chronicles how this sudden twist of fate forces each of them to confront their choices, examine their mistakes, and fight for their most valuable relationships. It asks the age-old question: Why do we hurt the ones we love most? Then it shows us how we can, in the most difficult of times, forgive ourselves and others for our transgressions.

At once thoughtful, penetrating, and engrossing, this debut is a family saga that will satisfy readers of The Summer We Fell Apart, The Deep End of the Ocean, and The Secret Between Us.

My review:

I met Lee Woodruff on the BEA2012 author signing and I really had high expectations to Those We Love Most. Somehow I had an idea that it is an enjoyable read. Those We Love Most is a book about marriage, loss of your child, survival and last but not least about family values.


Meet Maura, a wife and a mother who walks on the street on a wonderful June day. She is walking her son to school and for one moment where she is not paying attention, car hits her son James so unfortunately, that after few days in the hospital James dies.

James’ death changes everything for the family. It breaks the family apart and brings it together again.

Maura’s life shatters, nothing and nobody matters to her anymore, not even her other kids. Maura is wrapping herself into blame, anger, pain and loss. Margaret, Maura’s mother is the person who keeps the family together, she takes care of Maura’s children, cleans the house, cooks for the family – she is keeping both of her legs down on earth and is a key person of giving Maura the time needed to grieve. Maura’s father, Roger is finding strength to use James’ death to leave his mistress and he takes first steps to come back closer to his wife Margaret.

There are so many deep and dark secrets hidden behind the façade which start to crackle after James’ death and main characters need to face the results of their own actions. It is said, that life is actually easy, but people tend to live their lives complicatedly. That is also the main theme of the book. Maura needs to face her affair, Roger needs to face a stroke and Margaret needs to face the truth. At the very end, we need to understand, that what comes around, goes around.

The author asks very simple questions which are difficult to answer: Why do we hurt people we love? Why is it that we admire and love our spouses and yet try to find some excitement, some happiness from outside of marriage? Why do we forgive? Why do we let go? Why do we survive the most difficult things in our lives? Where do we find the strength to continue?

What I liked is, that the author does not give simple answers, but shows through the development of the characters, that we humans are stronger than we think and I loved that.

The story is told by several points of views: Maura, her mother Margaret and her father Roger all have very significant voices and you can easily recognize whose thoughts you are reading.

Those We Love Most is a book about everyday life, about challenges people meet and how people overcome them or give up. Accidents, cheating, betrayals, love can happen to anyone and that is what makes this book so relatable and easy to understand.


Lee Woodruff made an excellent work with all the characters. They were so down to earth, so real, and so human – it was easy to understand them and their flaws. There were no single character where I could say or point out, that I disliked him or her, because the author managed to mirror them like we all are – there are parts of a person that you like, admire, love and then there are parts which you do not approve, but which were still understandable. The characters we real people without any exaggerated characteristics and this made Those We Love Most a very good novel.

I liked Maura with all her flaws. I felt her pain when she lost her son. I understood her actions when not wanting to meet Alex – a guy who drove the car and caused the death of James. I raised an eyebrow when Maura decided to meet up with her lover again. I felt for her when these disillusions were eliminated. I felt hope when Maura started to heal. I was heartbroken when she finally gave in for grief.

I guess what I am trying to say here is, that Maura was humanly so likable and relatable, that you can easily understand her. She makes sense and that means for me that the author has really put her heart and efforts to the character.

I admired Margaret for her strength. After she found out, that Roger was having an affair, she was angry, disappointed, and heartbroken and she acted like an “old-school” woman would – she did not say a word, just kept doing whatever she was good at. She kept the façade just like it is expected from women from her generation. I loved the scenes when she faced her husband’s lover in the hospital telling her never to come back. She was very brave. I also enjoyed her love to Roger after his stroke, not all women would do that, they would not be able to handle taking over the patriarch’s role in the family and accepting, that nothing will ever be the same again.


Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff is a book which is intense, emotional and sharp. It looks deep into issues which many people are familiar with and tells a story you will keep thinking about long after you have turned the last page. I highly recommend Those We Love Most!

5 Flowers!

5 stars.

Buy links:

amazon UK
Barnes and Noble

Author Bio:

Lee Woodruff is the coauthor with her husband, Bob Woodruff, of the number one New York Times bestseller In an Instant, and the author of the essay collection Perfectly Imperfect. She is a contributing editor to CBS This Morning and has written numerous articles on family and parenting for Parade, Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook, Country Living, and Family Fun. She and Bob founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation to assist wounded service members and their families. Woodruff has four children and lives in Westchester County, New York.

Happy reading!


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