This month my in-person book club has a theme of “Kim’s choice” (Kim a.k.a my friend and official photographer for the majority of my book event postings). She was responsible to pick the book that we will discuss tomorrow and chose Faithful by Alice Hoffman. This is my second novel by Hoffman and is not at all similar to The Dovekeepers which was the story of 4 resilient women, determined to protect their families during Roman domination over the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem. Faithful is written in the present time and is a story of Shelby who disappears within herself after being responsible for a car accident that left her friend, Helene, in a persistent vegetative state.
Life dramatically changed for both girls on the night of the accident. Shelby was pulled from the car by an “angel” in black and survived yet she stopped living her life. She had strong support from her mother and Helene’s family did not blame her yet she shaved her head, shunned university and was admitted to a psychiatric ward where she was further victimized. Helene was well cared for by her parents yet never awoke and became an object of devotion for people looking for miracles to happen.
Shelby moved to New York City and slowly found her life through dogs, books, men and a wonderful friendship. She received post cards intermittently, each with a couple of guiding words that caused her to reflect and nudged her towards recovery. She had rescued her dogs from unfortunate situations and this medley of misfits looked after each other.
This was a lighter read which I enjoyed. It flowed easily and was a believable story with well written characters. The reader feels optimistic that life will become easier for Shelby and that her plans will fall into place and lead towards happiness. Through day-to-day life, Shelby comes to terms with her past and begins living again, making a difference for those around her.