Fiction, Women's Fiction

Faithful, by Alice Hoffman

What a good book! This is the first time I’ve read something by Alice Hoffman, but it was engrossing and kept my attention from start to finish. It reminded me a lot of The People We Keep by Allison Larkin, a recent read, in that the main character is a traumatized young woman.

In Faithful it is Shelby Richmond, who is struggling with deep depression and survivor’s guilt after being in a car crash that incapacitated her best friend. Shelby changes her appearance, has extremely low self-esteem, and considers herself a nothing. But there is an anonymous person who reaches out, sending Shelby postcards for years with short, cryptic messages:
“Be something.”
“Feel something.”
“Do something.”
“Trust someone.”

Clearly this person feels that Shelby has untapped potential if she would only believe in herself.

It is fascinating to follow Shelby on her journey over the next few years. We find out who her secret pen pal is by the end of the story, but there are some wonderful supporting characters along the way. Alice Hoffman has done a terrific job keeping the personalities distinct and unique. The core group is a great example of the power of friendship, hope, and the rewards we reap when we put ourselves on the line for others.

My only real confusion is the title. I’m still trying to work that out in my mind. But the fact that it keeps me thinking about the story and the characters is a testament to the excellent writing and plot development. I have an idea what it means, but sharing my thoughts would be giving away something important. I certainly don’t want to do that to any potential readers. *wink*

9/10 Stars

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