The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May
Review by Kara Grant
Summary: A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of
each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage. After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember? Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? (Amazon.com) Deep Haven
When I first saw that summary, I felt compelled to read this book. I enjoy stories about families and starting over and this book definitely offered that idea. However, I don’t believe the summary really captures the essence of this book. The Shadow of Your Smile deals with two different families who have dealt with tragedy and loss. Even though the plot is centered around Noelle and Eli’s unraveling marriage, the story also illustrates that the teenagers from both families have been traumatized and deeply affected as well.
It was difficult to for me to read about the sorrow and grief both families had encountered, this is not a light read. However, I have to say that
writes in such a way that I actually felt the grief as if it was my own. I was unable to finish this book because of the drama both families are dealing with, but I do believe the story carries hope and good developments. It just didn’t sit well with me to make the entire journey. Warren
The latter part of the story describes Noelle’s recovering at home and trying to get her memory back; after suffering a brief coma she has forgotten the last 25 years of her life. Reading her perspective on learning what has become of her life since she left college isn’t easy to take in as she adjusts, but I do believe that any person recovering from a coma would feel this way. This book has potential for a happy ending and healing for both families, but it wasn’t for me. Even though I am unable to recommend this book, I do enjoy Warren’s stories and I suggest you read other reviews of this book before you decide whether to read it or not.
This is one scene that led me to believe there was hope for Eli and Noelle’s marriage and the ability for them to start fresh:
“He was being too hard on her, and he knew it. The responsibility for keeping a marriage strong rested on the man’s shoulders—he’d heard that sermon enough to believe it. But what if she didn’t respond to him? What if his attempts actually caused her pain?
God, I don’t know how to love my life anymore. How to fix this. How to be the husband she needs. I think we’re beyond hope—
His cell phone vibrated in his parka.
He scooped the phone from his pocket, his cold hands fumbling with it, and held it up. He didn’t recognize the number.
‘Eli Hueston.’ Oh, he still had his sheriff’s tone. But twenty-five years spent taking bad news didn’t dissipate from his system overnight. Or even in three months. He could still feel his stomach tensing out of habit even as he pressed the phone to his ear.
‘Sheriff, it’s Anne Standing Bear.’
He hadn’t heard the EMT’s voice in nearly five years, since she and her husband, Noah, had moved back to
for her to add an MD to her nursing degree. He always liked her, the way she knew how to take care of a trauma. But she’d needed more than what Deep Haven could give her, and after the birth of their son, Clancy, she and Noah had moved away to pursue her dreams. Duluth
Much like Noelle had done for him once upon a time.
‘Hey, Anne,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure if you heard, but I’m not the sheriff anymore.’
She didn’t comment, and something in the way her voice emerged, tight and cool, the way they must’ve taught her at St. Luke’s, made him catch his breath. ‘I’m sorry, but there’s been an accident.’
Oh please, not Kyle. Hadn’t he told the kid that law enforcement wasn’t for him? That he didn’t wish that life on any of his children, even his oldest? But after Kelsey, Kyle wouldn’t hear his objections. It seemed almost as if he had to prove something to himself.
Or work off his own grief.
Eli steeled himself. ‘How is he? What happened?’
She paused. ‘It’s…it’s your wife, sir. She fell outside the Mocha Moose.’
The Mocha Moose…‘In
?’ What was Noelle doing there? ‘I thought she was at home. Did she hurt herself?’ He realized as soon as the words left how stupid that sounded. Of course she hurt herself—otherwise, why would she have Anne call for her? Harbor City
And how did Anne find her, anyway?
‘No, I’m afraid she did.’ Anne’s voice softened. ‘She hit her head, hard. You need to come to St. Luke’s in
…Eli, she’s got eight staples in her skull.’ Duluth
‘Oh, my.’ He pulled onto the road, trying to picture Noelle sprawled on the snowy, dirty parking lot outside the coffee shop, bleeding. She always had to stop there, regardless of the time of day. He shook the image away. ‘Are you calling from the hospital? Can I talk to her?’
‘I’m calling from ICU, Sheriff. But I…I don’t want to talk to you about this over the phone--’
‘Anne, just tell me.’
‘She’s…had a major head trauma. In fact, Sheriff, I’m so sorry—your wife is in a coma.’”
Other books by Susan May Warren:
Point of No Return (Love Inspired Suspense)
Undercover Pursuit (Love Inspired Suspense)
Reclaiming Nick (Noble Legacy Series #1)
Nothing But Trouble (PJ Sugar Series)
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
I want to thank NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for the free copy they provided for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.