Published by Harper on August 11th 2016
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Also by this author: The Affair: The shocking, gripping story of a schoolgirl and a scandal
Three best friends. One tragic accident.A heartbreaking novel about friendship, love and sacrifice from R&J bestseller, Amanda Brooke
Lucy has been desperate for a new heart for as long as she can remember. But getting the call to say a donor has been found will be a bittersweet relief: because for her to live, someone else must die.
Julia, Helen and Phoebe have been fast friends for all their lives, through Helen’s unplanned pregnancy, the sudden death of Phoebe’s mother, and Julia’s desperation to conceive with her much younger husband. Yet a deep friendship can hide many secrets, and as their relationship reaches crisis point, what has long been buried is going to come bubbling to the surface.
With one tragic accident, these four lives will converge and Lucy will get her new heart. But who has made the ultimate sacrifice?
The Goodbye Gift is one of those books you’ll remember long after you’ve finished reading it. It always surprises me how good Amanda Brooke is as a writer, every time I finish one of her books, and how she deserves to have all the recognition and readers in the world. I’ve actually only read two of her five books so far (with another already on the way in January – YES) but both of those have been emotional reads, that have left me in floods of tears.
I knew The Goodbye Gift was going to be a good read when I managed to fly through the first 200 pages a few hours before starting work. I literally did not want to go to work (but I did!) so I reluctantly had to put the book down, but I knew as soon as I picked it back up that I would have to finish it in that last go, and I did and it was immense. The way the action swings from prior to the accident, to the accident, and back again had me filled with all kinds of dread. Because I knew someone was going to die, I just didn’t know who (although I cruelly knew who I wanted it to be and I’m kind of not sorry for that) so I was very on edge, and each new snippet into the aftermath of the accident had me searching for clues as to who the victim would be.
Of course going on around all of that was the story leading up to the accident, between three friends, Phoebe, Julia and Helen, best friends who are there for everything, until little niggles start to worm their way in. Julia’s inability to have a baby with her husband, Paul. Phoebe’s inability to stand on her own two feet, ever. Helen’s relationship with her daughter, Milly. It was all swirling in the air, and while the facade might have made it seem like the perfect friendship there were secrets coming through that threatened everything. I would like nothing more than to talk about those secrets, and the way they made me feel, but I reckon they’d be spoilers, so I won’t, but I had very strong feelings about them, I’ll tell you that for nothing.
I really liked all the characters, although Phoebe genuinely drove me mad, because it was almost like she blamed everybody else for the way her life turned out, there was no owning up, and I just didn’t like that. There comes a time when you just have to take control of your own life and for me, that never came for Phoebe. Julia was probably my favourite character, the one I sympathised with the most. Which is strange, considering my own stance on kids, but there you go. I just wanted her to get everything she’d ever wanted in life, ya know? I liked Helen as the mediator, too. It was like she was always the one to bring order and peace into the friendship.
This was such a good read. I went through the whole range of emotions whilst reading. There were laughs, times that made me feel warm inside, but then there was the sadness, the anger, the way I could see bits of the plot going and I wanted it to stop, and then, of course, there was that ending. I didn’t see it coming until it was too late, and it worked, sure, but still wasn’t exactly my first choice of victim. Amanda Brooke is a superior writer, and I say again: everyone should read her books. I need to read the rest of her books, because I forget how good she is until I start reading and then I’m always lost in her stories. I can’t wait for her next book and to catch up on the ones I’ve missed, and The Goodbye Gift is Amanda at her very, very best.