People with a terminal illness seem to receive a pass for all their bad behaviour past, present and future. In this story, Joanna McQuaid is a woman of amazing resilience. Her marriage of hell cannot end any faster. In wedding vows, there is a clause with "until death do us part" and it is never more true for Joanne.
This is a very frustratingly upsetting story. I'm so angry reading this one and I want to kill Chris, Joanna's abusive husband. I've always found that emotional abuse is worse than physical ones. For the most part, physical abuse will heal. With emotional abuse, it's more sinister because it's not easy to see the evidence in addition, it is harder to heal from. What is worse about this abuse is that Chris doesn't even see it. He doesn't realize what he's done to his wife and denies it ever happened.
From a character perspective, Ms. Gallagher does a lovely job creating each of these characters. Each character shows their perspective for the reader to slip into their shoes. Joanna's is the hardest one for me because it's heartbreaking. David, Chris's best friend since childhood is the one suddenly sees things differently and it makes him sick to his stomach. It's interesting to see how people interpret body language based on their own biases. I really liked how Ms. Gallagher showed this through David's eyes.
The plot of this story is simple at first glance. However, as the plot moves forward, it's an unveiling of a horror movie. Each layer pulled back is another painful slice of the skin. Joanna is Chris's whipping boy in so many ways. She may not be the best wife, but really, who is? Chris on the other hand is one of the most heinous types of husbands. It makes me wonder how Ms. Gallagher created him and who he is based upon. As a side note - some of his controlling manners, terminal illness as well as his innovation reminds me of Steve Jobs. The conflicts and the inner turmoil for Joanna is so hard watch because at every turn, those who are supposed to support her are actually slapping her down. For someone who isn't an ally and more an enemy to step up to the plate, it makes for a sweet story.
This is ultimately a story about forgiveness and new beginnings. Recommended for romance lovers who enjoy angst and redemption.*provided by NetGalley