Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Simon's Choice, by Charlotte Castle

Dr. Simon Bailey, his wife Melissa, and their daughter Sarah are so close a family unit, they call themselves "Team Bailey".  Nothing can stop them not even when little Sarah gets diagnosed with leukemia.  The family fights through, and Sarah goes into remission.  However, when the leukemia returns full force, Team Bailey is no match, and it becomes clear that Sarah will not make it.  Suddenly, everything falls apart, because Sarah is the glue holding it all together; when she weakens, so does that bond.  Before you know it, Simon and Melissa have a strained relationship, he is admitting to drinking far too much, and now, he is faced with making the decision no father should ever have to make, about a promise he makes to Sarah.

Very rarely do I have the opportunity to review a book before all the rest of the world is raving about it.  Once in a while I get lucky, but never so much as when I found Charlotte Castle.  This book is a rare find, a pure treasure, and when it inevitably becomes a best seller, I can say I knew it all along.

As soon as I started reading, I was immediately hooked.  The characters of Simon, Sarah, and Melissa pull you in from the very first page of the book, and you end up thinking of them as real people.  You love them, at times you hate them, you smile with them, you weep for them.  These are not mere characters to Charlotte Castle, you can tell she really loves them; it shows in the writing.

As the story unfolds, you are totally invested as a reader.  I literally heard the dialogue in my head, which was fun because I got to hear it in a lovely British accent.  And I swear at times, I could feel Porridge, the dog, snuggling at my feet.  The story wraps around you like a blanket on a rainy day.

Stories about illness, particularly in children, can be difficult, but not once was the story maudlin.  I love the paradox of the doctor unable to heal his own child, struggling with his faith all the while.  I think the grieving process is so accurately captured, but in such a touching, beautiful way.  We do not know, until the end, if Simon will decide to keep his promise, and I absolutely love the beauty in the closing scene.  I read it through a wash of tears.

I think that anyone who has children, or has a special child in their life, would love this book and relate to it.  Similarly, anyone who has lost a loved one to the ravages of terminal illness will find comfort and realism in the story.  Womens literature fans would love it, medical literature fans would love it.  And if you like Jodi Picoult, you will love Charlotte Castle.

The book released today, and since I can not yet find it listed on Amazon, I am including a link to where you can purchase it, because I know you are going to want to read it, why wouldn't you?  UPDATE: It is now available for purchase on Amazon, link is below!

And when you all do, and you all love it as I did, I will be quite happy to say I told you so.