I Couldn't Love You More is author Jillian Medoff's latest novel, but the first for this reader.
I had no idea what to expect, but a cover blurb from Jodi Picoult hinted at a thoughtful, thought-provoking novel. And it was.
Thirty eight year old Eliot Gordon lives with her partner Grant and their three children. One daughter, Hilary, is Eliot and Grant's child. The other two daughters, Gail and Charlotte, are from Grant's marriage. Yes, a blended family with all it's ups - and downs.
I was drawn to Eliot from the first page. She's a warm, caring, loving mother to all three girls, treating them all equally. Charlotte at fourteen makes it very difficult to love her, but Eliot perseveres. The girls' biological mother is a bit of a flake and Eliot is a calming, steady rock in their lives. Grant too is a rock - a man steadfastly devoted to his partner and family.
Eliot is one of three girls herself and is also from a broken home. She's had no contact with her own father for many, many years. This has only strengthened her resolve to provide a stable home for the girls. Eliot's sisters are both quite the characters. I was a bit turned off by Sylvia at first. She's loud, brash and over the top. As the novel progressed, I have to admit that she became my favourite character, ahead of Eliot.
For midway in the novel comes a turning point. Although she is happy, there are ups and downs in Eliot's life. When Finn, an old flame from university appears, Eliot reconnects with him. This reconnection has an unforeseeable, unforgettable, unimaginable impact on Eliot, Grant and their daughters. The second half of the novel deals with the fallout from this pivotal point onwards.
Medoff touches on many subjects in I Couldn't Love You More. Sibling rivalry, step parenting, parenting, familial relationships of all types, love, loss, regrets and remorse, grief and guilt. And Medoff does it all with a keen, knowing eye and probing prose.
The second half of the book had me torn. Without giving too much of the plot away - I became very angry with Eliot - her choices, her decisions and the aftermath. But, this is the hallmark of a good storyteller. Medoff definitely arouses emotion with this poignant tale. This would be an excellent choice for a book club.....and engender lots of discussion.
You can find Jillian Medoff on Twitter and on Facebook. Like the sound of this book? Get a sneak peek - read an excerpt of I Couldn't Love You More.
simply leave a comment to be entered in my giveaway! Three copies up for grabs - open to US/Canada, no PO boxes. Ends July 14. Thanks to Five Spot Publishing.