* I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review. All expressed opinions are strictly my own. *
Carly's Gift is the first book by Georgia Bockoven that I've read. I'm not sure why that is, because once I skimmed through the info on her other books, almost all of them looked familiar. I think I've just added them to my to-read list and never got around to them. Which would figure, because if you saw my to-read shelves you'd get it. I promise.
The book was a really enjoyable read. There was so much weight within the relationships that I found myself moved throughout.
Our story is about Carly - obviously - she is a mom of three with a husband she's seemingly tolerating these days. We meet Carly and find ourselves tossed back into her past as her first love shows up in town. His father has passed away and the proximity returning home brings leaves him (David) with no choice but to go with his gut. He needs to see her.
But wait. We actually meet David first. Interesting, isn't it? It's an interesting way to open a story that's so visibly titled after one of the characters - with a completely different character.
No worries, though, and it's not a spoiler to let you know that Carly and David connect really quickly. We start off with them, their intensity, chemistry, emotion or lack of it. We watch their history unravel in the few short moments they see one another.
And we follow them. We meet Ethan, Carly's husband. And her daughter, Andrea (nice name, isn't it?). And her two sons. And her mom, Barbara. So much happens within this seemingly small family and their world changes in a matter of moments. Pages.
There is a major secret that entwines so many lives. Those that don't know about the secret are affected. Some are impacted by a secret that covers up the bigger secret. It's hard to tell all of that from the blurb on the back cover of the book. A friend actually mentioned seeing the book and not "getting it" from the back, and so she didn't buy a copy. I get that. I need to understand and feel drawn in to actually make the purchase. Books are like friends. Sometimes we don't want to let them in if we fear straight away that they're going to quickly disappoint us.
As for me and this book? I'll admit (sorry) that I figured out what the real secret was way before it was revealed. I don't know if Bockoven was trying to help the reader figure it out with some pretty powerful clues, or if they were just subtle enough for someone like me to pick up on, but I knew. That didn't take anything away from the book. And to be even more honest? There was yet ANOTHER secret behind the one I thought I knew. So it was still a worthwhile read.
For a while, and even after I read the book, I wondered where Carly's "gift" was. I mean, I got it, but I sometimes find myself reading and waiting for the big reveal that gives us the birth of the title. And I sometimes wonder, is a title born from a book, or a book born from a title? But that could be a whole other post and more ...
So after reading and thinking about the powerful story, Carly's gift became clear. It might be easy for you to tell what it means right away, but my mind just wasn't there. Maybe I was too many steps ahead to catch what it was truly representing until I walked away. Maybe I missed what was blatantly obvious and right in front of my eyes. I don't know. The book was so much more than the title represents, that to me I am okay with that.
Carly's Gift is a great fall read, I think. It's the time of year when we're looking for something to help us escape the mundane of the every day, but not too long in that we'd find ourselves wanting out before it was over. If you pick up a copy be sure and let me know what you think!