Welp Kristan Higgins did it again, she made me cry, and I’m pretty upset by it. People told me this one would be lighter, so I read it on my flight up to New York last week. It’s a good thing I had a window seat and nobody next to be because I was bawling my eyes out, yet again from her on the nose storylines. A few years ago, when I read Pack Up the Moon, my dad was in the mists of chemo, radiation, and major surgery. So, while not exactly the same circumstances, it still hit extremely close to home. This time, Higgins focuses on adoption and motherhood. Being a newer mom, with a 1-year-old son, I was continuously putting myself in the story, and had all the emotions.
It’s been almost 18 years and Harlow never imagined she’d see Matthew Patel show up at her bookstore. When he unexpected arrives with his family in-tow, Harlow is forced to come to terms with all the feelings she’s been hiding and face the consequences that come with hiding a secret pregnancy and adoption from her over involved family.
Motherhood, and what it means to be a mother is at the center of this story; so I adored the fact that not only do we get Harlow’s voice, but we get Monica’s (Matthew’s adoptive mother) voice and perspective as well. We get a look into both of the women’s thoughts, experiences, emotions, and the way they view motherhood. The contrast between these two women was wonderfully woven. Along with tactfully addressing the topics of adoption, infertility, and the pressures social places on women to be an ideal mother; Higgins did a wonderful job of ensuring both sides were ‘even’. I enjoyed every part of this story and would have given 5 stars but at almost 500 pages it did feel a bit long. Otherwise, it’s an amazing story.
With an attempt to capture the juxtaposition of motherhood, this is an absolutely beautiful story of adoption that will tug on your heart strings. Whether you’re a new mom or a empty nester, you’ll be able to relate to so many points in the story. With a beach town setting, this will make a great beach or summer read; just make sure you have sunglasses on to hide the tears.
A Little Ray of Sunshine is out now. Huge thank you to Berkley Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof.books.