DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
PUBLICATION: Doubleday Books, Nan A. Talese, June 21st, 2016
Isabelle is a senior in college and an aspiring writer so when an opportunity to be personally mentored by published author Daniel Jablonski opens up, she jumps on it. Rumored to be crass, distancing, and withdrawn, Isabelle is initially hesitant about their meetings but soon the two warm up to each other once Daniel realizes Isabelle has quite the gift. He helps her pen the first three chapters in her novel but graduation comes around and she moves away and he is laid off from his position at the college. Over time, her life takes many twists and turns, and he bounces from college to college across the country with his son, Stefan, until he ends up in New Hampshire and her in Oakland. They continue to communicate via e-mail over the years but things aren't the same due to time and distance.
If the premise seems rather anticlimactic, trust me, its not. This book is more of a fictional biography than it is about a singular event in someone's life. Beautifully written with patience and urgency, this novel took me completely off guard (which is pretty ironic given the title of the book). Even though this is Goldstone's first novel, she seems like she is in control the entire time.
There wasn't anything about this book that jumped out, no huge twists or turns, but the characters were so likable and believable, that I couldn't put it down. There were a few moments throughout the book where I wanted to reach through the pages and grab Isabelle and ask what in the world is she thinking?!?, but I realized that some of the choices she makes have been made by myself in similar situations. I think that's why this book emanated with me so well is because the characters are simply so believable. Once I finished it, I thought to myself, "Wow, I can't believe I'm done already". And that's the beauty of a good book, to be so enraptured by a tale that outside life has no relevance. Goldstone did just exactly that.
I really enjoyed everything about this book from the opening sequence of her meeting Daniel for the first time all the way to the conclusion. I won't spoil it for you, but the ending was very nicely done. Goldstone provided perfect closure to this part of Isabelle's life. Even the minor characters had a sense of finale to them.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.