Published by William Morrow on May 12th 2020
Genres: Women's Fiction
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Ginny Beale is eighteen, irreverent, funny, and brave, with a brother she adores and a circle of friends for whom she would do anything. Because of one terrible night, she loses them all—and her adventurous spirit—seemingly forever. While the town cheers on the high school football team, someone sets the school’s auditorium ablaze. Ginny’s best friend Gray Marsden’s father, a fire fighter, dies in the blaze.
While many in the town believe Daniel York, a notoriously troubled local teen, set the fire, Ginny makes a shattering discovery that casts blame on the person she trusts most in the world. Ginny tells no one, but the secret isolates her, looming between her and her friends and ruining their friendship.
Over the next two decades, Ginny puts aside her wanderlust and her dreams. Moving back to her hometown, she distances herself from the past and from nearly everyone in it. She marries a quiet man, raises their daughter, Avery, and cares for her tyrannical, ailing mother, Adela. But when Ginny’s husband, Harris, becomes embroiled in a scandal, Ginny’s carefully controlled life crumbles, and, just when she believes she is regaining her bearings, the secret she’s kept for twenty years emerges and threatens to destroy her hopes for the future.
With the help of fifteen-year-old Avery and of friends both old and new, Ginny must summon the courage to confront old lies and hard truths and to free herself and the people she loves from the mistakes and regrets that have burdened them for so long.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Love Walked In and Belong to Me comes a profound and heart-rending story about a horrific tragedy that marks one woman and her hometown and about the explosive secrets that come to light twenty years later.
In I’d Give Anything, Marisa de los Santos has written one the most nuanced and layered women’s fiction books I’ve ever read. The story is perfectly plotted and the execution of it was utterly flawless. It’s evocative and I was hooked within minutes. It’s the kind of book where upon finishing it, I found myself thinking about it for a long while after.
Part of it maybe that I love stories where the past unfolds through journals entries and the present through the eyes of out main character. In this case it’s Ginny. Ginny who has a very complex love/dislike relationship with her mother and her brother. Ginny with a husband that has made a few poor choices, who is staid and very disconnected. Ginny, with a best friend Kirsten, who will do anything to get back the passionate Ginny she knew as a teenager. And finally Ginny, the mother of one of my favorite characters ever, the brave and principled Avery.
Each and every character can be felt by their actions and/or words. Her writing is so descriptive and not a word is wasted. In this story, de los Santos manages to explore love, friendship, forgiveness, and grief, all while pulling the reader through a year or so in the life of the Beale family. My heart ached and sang for joy as Ginny and Avery reckon with their new future. How these two rise above as they struggle to find the truth about both the past and the present.
While this is part of a series, I read this as a stand alone as it’s my first by Marisa de los Santos. But, now that I understand the magic that is her storytelling, that I fully understand the praise for her writing, I will be blocking out time to read all that I can by her. I savored every minute reading this book. I’d Give Anything is by far one of my top reads of 2020 and a book I emphatically recommend. 5++ Stars!
~Review by Cyndi
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PRAISE FOR MARISA DE LOS SANTOS
“Written in gorgeous prose, I’d Give Anything is a novel about the mistakes we make, and how we can confront them and move forward.”
—PopSugar on I’D GIVE ANYTHING
“As fans know, de los Santos uses exquisitely luxurious, poetic writing to tell her characters’ stories. She knows exactly where she’s going and how and when to get there. The rhythm of the prose will more than please those who love the thoughtful, precise language of Anne Tyler and Joshilyn Jackson.”
—Booklist on I’D GIVE ANYTHING
“De los Santos’s heartfelt latest…illustrates how tragedy can be overcome by love, honesty, and forgiveness… Thoughtful musings, engaging dialogue, and ironic wit…add to the drama.”
—Publishers Weekly on I’D GIVE ANYTHING
“The novel reveals layers of rich patina—the story underneath is more complex, engaging, and surprisingly moving…de los Santos delivers an interconnected network of compelling little stories. Her writing is both vividly descriptive and surprisingly insightful.”
—Boston Globe on BELONG TO ME
“Prose that shines in moments of tenderness.”
—People Magazine on BELONG TO ME
“By the book’s end, humanity is discovered in the unlikeliest places, and Cornelia learns that tempting as it is, you can’t always judge a woman by her hairstyle.”
—New York Times on BELONG TO ME
“De los Santos keeps us totally engaged with these fragile creatures, who get under our skin and, ultimately, into our hearts. Highly recommended.”
—Library Journal (starred review) on BELONG TO ME
“Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos, is the kind of book that makes you want to hunker down on a chilly day in a comfy chair and read straight through ’til dark. . . .This [is a] poignant, heart-tugging story about a single woman and a little girl who develop an unlikely bond.”
—Washington Post Book World on LOVE WALKED IN
“Love indeed walks in, and with it, a breath of fresh air.”
—Marie Claire on LOVE WALKED IN
“A heartwarming, original, old-soul romance.”
—New York Post on LOVE WALKED IN
“Exquisite and stylish, Love Walked In proves that love in all of its forms—romantic, friendship, familial—is all around us.”
—Sarah Jessica Parker on LOVE WALKED IN