Title: The Other Life
Author: Ellen Meister
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “Happily married with a young son and another child on the way, Quinn Braverman has the perfect life. She also has an ominous secret. Every time she makes a major life decision, she knows an alternative reality exists in which she made the opposite choice-not only that, she knows how to cross over. But even in her darkest moments – like her mother’s suicide – Quinn hasn’t been tempted to visit . . . until she receives shattering news about the baby she’s carrying.
Desperate to escape her grief, Quinn slips through the portal that leads to her other life: the life in which she stayed with her exciting but neurotic ex- boyfriend, and is childless. The life in which – as she is amazed to discover – her mother is still very much alive.
Quinn is soon forced to make an impossible choice. Will she stay with the family she loves and face the painful challenges that lie ahead? Or will a more carefree life-and the primal lure of being with her mother-pull her into her other life for good?”
Thoughts: Everyone reaches at least one crossroad in his or her life that requires a person to make a life-altering decision. More importantly, everyone, at one point in time or another, will wonder how different his or her life would be had a different decision been made. It may be fun to play along in a game of “what-ifs” occasionally, but does one truly want to be confronted with the actuality of this alternative path?
This is the question Quinn must battle as she faces yet another crossroad in her life. She has the misfortune of knowing where the portals to these alternative paths lie and can cross over if she wants to do so. When faced with yet another gut-wrenching decision, her current path becomes too much to bear, and the road not taken becomes more than just a temptation. Yet, the decision to do so is not without its price, as she rips open old wounds while avoiding moving forward on her current path. The reader is swept up in Quinn’s story as she battles to decide where her true path lies.
If anything, this book is more than just about the ability to confront the “what-if” path directly. It is about the strength and power of a mother’s love. Quinn is vulnerable because of her mother’s suicide, and the news about her pregnancy is what puts her over the edge. Yet, it is the love for her six-year-old son which keeps her grounded on her current path. As she faces difficult decisions about her past, present and future, her choices all revolve around the love she has for her mother, for her son, and for her unborn daughter. If anything, The Other Life is a testament to the bond between mother and child and how that bond truly never fades.
The Other Life is beautifully written, presenting Quinn’s agony with care and accuracy. Ms. Meister does a great job of showcasing the difficulties surrounding pregnancy issues and the void left when a family member commits suicide. Quinn is a heroine with whom many women can sympathize, as she struggles to balance her best interests with those of her family. She quickly becomes a character a reader can get behind and root on through all her battles. Best of all, The Other Life is a great reminder to be thankful for what one has and not on what one could have had because in the end, that is what counts the most.
Thank you to TLC Book Tour for the opportunity to review this novel!
For other thoughts on Ms. Meister’s novel, please check out the other stops on the tour:
- Tuesday, February 15th: The Lost Entwife
- Wednesday, February 16th: Rundpinne
- Thursday, February 17th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
- Monday, February 21st: Sara’s Organized Chaos
- Friday, February 25th: Colloquium
- Monday, February 28th: In the Next Room
- Wednesday, March 2nd: Chefdruck Musings
- Thursday, March 3rd: Savvy Verse & Wit
- Friday, March 4th: Raging Bibliomania
- Monday, March 7th: Stephanie’s Written Word
- Wednesday, March 9th: Reviews from the Heart
- Thursday, March 10th: BookNAround
- Monday, March 14th: Teresa’s Reading Corner
- Tuesday, March 15th: Debbie’s Book Bag
- Tuesday, March 15th: Book Chatter
- Wednesday, March 16th: The Book Faery Reviews
- Thursday, March 17th: Peeking Between the Pages
- Friday, March 18th: Tina’s Book Reviews
It's quite an interesting scenario and makes you consider those forks in the road a bit more than you did. If I found out my life was drastically different and I was hitting a rough patch on my current path, I can see the lure of wanting to switch.
I really, really want to read this book…I quite often have those "what if" kinda moments. I always make the same choices 'cause I'm not willing to sacrifice anything I have for anything else I might want…but…you know….what if…..
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Thanks, Heather! It was an excellent novel. Like you, I think I would choose my current life but when things get tough, I can see how the idea of changing paths would be enticing.
Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by!
I am reading this book at the moment (almost done) and I just want to comment that your review is spot on and brilliant and I really enjoyed "sharing" your thoughts.