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Book Cover Image: The Other Life by Ellen MeisterTitle: 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:

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