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Review by Suze
Phoebe, Julia and Helen have been friends for a very long time. Phoebe and Helen are the same age and Julia is a little older, so she is the one who's taking care of everyone. Helen is a single mother and Phoebe is still living with their grandmother. Julia is married to Paul, who is a little younger than she is, and they're trying to conceive, but nothing has happened so far. Julia is at the end of her thirties, so they're worried it's too late for them to have children. Fortunately she has her friends to support her. Or has she? Secrets and lies have been existing between the friends for years. The truth can't remain hidden forever, it's bound to come out and when it does it will change the lives of the three friends and Paul forever.
Lucy is waiting for a donor heart. She finally wants to start living. The bad side of getting someone else's heart is that this person needs to die. Lucy knows that a tragedy has to happen before she has a chance to survive. After a horrible accident there might be a heart for Lucy, but whose will it be?
The Goodbye Gift is a beautiful emotional story. I shed quite a few tears while I was reading this book. Amanda Brooke writes about difficult topics with compassion. She knows what she's dealing with and that makes her story feel very real. It's incredibly moving in many different ways. One of the main topics of this book is having children versus not being able to conceive them. Amanda Brooke describes this in a strong and sensitive way, while perfectly capturing the multitude of feelings that are involved, which is quite an achievement.
The friendship between Phoebe, Julia and Helen seems ideal at first. What's more wonderful than having two best friends who will always be there for you? Unfortunately the foundation of their friendship isn't as solid as it might seem. Past decisions are slowly destroying it. It was interesting to see what would happen, but it was also heartbreaking to watch the situation evolve. I kept wishing I could intervene, which kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading.
The Goodbye Gift is thought-provoking. There are several dilemmas and there's room for the reader to decide how to feel about certain issues and decisions. Is there a right or wrong or are there shades of grey that make certain actions forgivable? Who needs to forgive and who needs to be forgiven? Amanda Brooke has written a fantastic multilayered story. It starts with something sad and it ends in the same way, while hope was my main motivator to keep reading as fast as I could. I flew through the pages, because I wanted to get the exact details of what happened before, during and after the accident. I loved that the reader roughly knows what the ending is going to be, but isn't getting the exact details. Everything about The Goodbye Gift impressed me, it's a brilliant gripping story that will stay with me for a long time.