Published January 12, 2016
My rating: 4.5 Stars
I previously read Carla Buckley’s book “The Things That Keep Us Here” and really enjoyed it. When I read the book blurb for “The Good Goodbye” I thought the plot was very unique and I was looking forward to reading it. And honestly I was not disappointed.
“The good thing about saying goodbye, is getting to say hello.”
The story is told from three points of view. Alternating between eighteen year old cousins, Arden and Rory and Arden’s mother Natalie.
Rory and Arden Falcone are cousins who have been very close since birth. Although they look very similar, their personalities and interests are very different. Arden struggles to fit in while Rory makes friends easily.
Their families are very close. Rory’s father and Arden’s mother even opened a restaurant together. However, recent events have caused a strain on all relationships. Financial difficulties have caused them to have to think seriously about selling their beloved restaurant.
The book starts with Natalie wondering why her daughter, Arden has not phoned her. She last spoke with her briefly on Skype as she was running out the door to work. Arden seemed a bit distracted. However, Natalie was in a rush and figured she would find out if something was bothering Arden when she spoke with her the next day.
Arden did not phone back the next day.
“Sending a child to college is drawing that line in the sand. Your child walks over it and she’s not your little girl anymore.”
***Possibly some minor spoilers ahead***
The next evening Natalie and her husband Theo are about to go out to celebrate their anniversary. When Natalie’s phone rings she immediately feels relieved as it must be Arden finally calling back. However, it’s not their daughter. It’s a man who tells her that Arden has been in an accident.
Natalie and Theo rush to the hospital. When they arrive, Gabrielle and Vince, Rory’s parents are already there.
Rory and Arden have both been admitted to the hospital and both are unconscious after jumping out the window after a fire started in the college dorm room they share together. Another student was killed in the fire and the police as well as the families want answers.
As they all wait together in the ER secrets old and new start to come to light and they struggle with the many difficult decisions that need to be made.
So many secrets…..
The story moves from past to present including flashbacks from all points of view.
We learn more about the months and days leading up to the fire. Rory is thrilled to find out that she’s been accepted to Harvard but her mother seems even more excited.
Arden will be attending an art school out in California. This will be the first time that the cousins will be living thousands of miles apart.
After celebrating her acceptance to Harvard with friends, Rory comes home to see that her parents have been waiting for her. They have terrible news. Her father, Vince has made a bad investment and needs to use Rory’s college fund to help pay back part of what he owes. The only good news is that Harvard will hold a place open for her for the following year. This is everything Rory has worked for and she is devastated…right?
This also affects Arden. She will also have to wait to go to Art school.
In the meantime the girls will spend a year as roommates at a local college.
The plan is that after one year, Rory will transfer to Harvard and will then go on to law school.
“I’m going to be a champion for the downtrodden, a righter of wrongs. It’s been the plan for as long as I can remember.”
Arden will transfer to Art school.
However what will happen now after this devastating blow to their family?
Will the girls survive? And even if they do how will this family repair itself?
Honestly I was pulled into the story very quickly. I did find that about halfway through it did stall a little bit, but not for long. I wanted to get to the end of the book to find out what was going to happen but at the same time I was terrified of how it would end. I could feel the tension as more disturbing truths came out and my heart broke as the family dealt with blow after blow. It kept me in its grasp until the very end.
In my opinion The Good Goodbye is a very interesting domestic suspense novel and I am looking forward to reading more from Carla Buckley.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.