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Five Days Left – Julie Lawson Timmer Review

Five Days Left – Julie Lawson Timmer Review

five-days-left-coverReleased: August 2014

Heralded as ‘unique, gripping and moving’ by emotional-journey expert Jodi Picoult, I would be inclined to add ‘utterly heartbreaking’ to that list. Never have I cried so much at a novel since My Sister’s Keeper by Picoult herself, but Julie Lawson Timmer has harnessed her own talent to force readers to invest emotionally in each and every one of her characters.

Five Days Left runs two stories parallel as the protagonists endure five final days to say two very different goodbyes.

Scott is a foster parent to an endearing but difficult eight-year-old who has been blessed with a year of respite from an upbringing of neglect. However, Curtis’s time in Scott’s family is at an end and they have until Sunday to say goodbye before he returns to his biological mother.

Hundreds of miles away, Mara is a successful lawyer and has an adopted daughter with her loving husband Tom, but she is watching her life fall apart at the hands of Huntington’s disease. Therefore, she has made a dramatic decision that gives her five days to say her own goodbyes to the ones she loves.

The two protagonists meet via an online forum for alternative families and find their friendship supports each other through the difficult week.

Scott’s story generates thoughts about adoption and fostering for those who have only envisioned having a biological family and the acceptance that life is never neat and straightforward. While Mara’s story depicts the horrific loss of control that is torture for a fiercely independent woman and the effect this has on her family.

These two stories are excellent individually, but when combined for one novel, the result is an emotional rollercoaster and a brief insight into the complicated lives of others, which are often kept hidden.

★★★★

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