ARC Book Review: Safe with Me by Amy Hatvany

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Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Literature

Publisher:  Washington Square Press

Expected Publication Date:  March 4, 2014

Pages: 352

Source:  Publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A novel about two mothers and one daughter who are linked by tragedy and bound by secrets, from the acclaimed author of Heart Like Mine. Now, in the provocative Safe with Me, Amy Hatvany explores controversial and timely issues with astonishing emotional complexity.
The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. Even a year after she…more A novel about two mothers and one daughter who are linked by tragedy and bound by secrets, from the acclaimed author of Heart Like Mine. Now, in the provocative Safe with Me, Amy Hatvany explores controversial and timely issues with astonishing emotional complexity.
The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. Even a year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose child, Maddie, survived only because hers had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.
The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Once on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him as never before in the wake of the successful transplant that saved their fifteen-year-old daughter’s life. Meanwhile Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: the Internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to return to school, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape.
A masterful narrative, shaped by nuanced characters whose fragile bonds are on a collision course with the truth, Safe with Me is a triumph.

My Review:

First word that comes to mind, when I think of this book, is “WOW”!  There is so much that happens with each character: Olivia is an abused wife, trying to stay in an unsafe marriage for the sake of her daughter; Maddie is a teenager, given another chance at life through organ donation; and Hannah-a mom coming to grips with the reality that her only child is gone and other’s have survived from her daughter’s gift of life.

However, this is just the beginning to a group of women, who will each face their own reality and realize that they do have a choice to make that can only be made in due time.  The authenticity of the way organ donation is handled with families is quite accurate, having worked with families-who have chosen the gift of life through the form of organ donation, and the way each person feels thereafter, is so real, quite raw, that this book dives right in to the real issues people face everyday.

Now, add into that mix, spousal abuse.  The form of abuse that Olivia faces and comes to expect from her husband, who is quite established and powerful in the community, certainly adds a level of danger, suspense, and will keep the reader riveted to what happens next.  Having also worked with victims of domestic violence, been the daughter of a parent who was also abused, the scenes were so realistic that I had to put the book down at times just to breathe.  Thankfully, I have been in enough therapy to overcome my own issues of growing up in a violent home, and yes, these are characters…however, the emotions of these women are so real, that I am sure many will identify with one of these 3 women and reflect on their own shared experiences.

It is so easy to judge, give advice, say, “just leave”, but when someone like Olivia has been so conditioned to be a certain way-it becomes impossible to think of an alternate way of living.  I loved that Amy Hatvany also included tidbits on ways to leave a destructive marriage by calling a hotline, reaching out to someone and not being isolated in one’s own pain, and making a plan…even when that plan doesn’t go as expected.

This is a fantastic book for any book club to discuss, for a support group to use as a springboard for discussion on organ donation, spousal abuse, and self-esteem issues, as well as just a great read for someone.  However, I promise you…once you read this book-you will want to discuss it with someone who has also read it, because there is so much to process afterwards.

This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2014 and I highly recommend this book!!  Pre-order this book!! It is due for release on March 4, 2014, and will be worth it!!

  *This book was provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Amy was born in Seattle, WA in 1972, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs – some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist. In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on writing books.

The literary gods took kindly to her aspirations and THE KIND OF LOVE THAT SAVES YOU was published in 2000 by Bantam Doubleday. THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS was picked up by NAL in 2002. (Both were published under her previous last name, Yurk.)Amy spends most of her time today with her second and final husband, Stephan. (Seriously, if this one doesn’t work out, she’s done, kaput, no more husbands.) She stays busy with her two children, Scarlett and Miles, and her “bonus child,” Anna. Their blended family also includes two four-legged hairy children, commonly known as Black Lab mutts, Kenda and Dolcé.

When Amy’s not with friends or family, she is most likely reading, cooking, or zoning out on certain reality television shows. Top Chef is a current favorite. She eagerly awaits auditions for the cast of “Top Author.” (“Quick Edit” instead of “Quick Fire” Challenge? C’mon, producers! That’s gripping television!

Connect with Amy:

Facebook

Blog

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2 thoughts on “ARC Book Review: Safe with Me by Amy Hatvany

    Chrissy said:
    January 29, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Sounds like a great read. As someone who has also worked with victims of domestic violence, I find these books tough to read when the story is so real. When done well, they can be powerful. Adding it to my TBR.

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