Author: Jillian Medoff
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Eliot Gordon would do anything for her family. A 38-year-old working mother, she lives a conventional but fulfilling life in suburban Atlanta with her partner, Grant Delaney, and their three daughters. The two older girls are actually Eliot's stepdaughters, a distinction she is reluctant to make as she valiantly attempts to maintain a safe, happy household . . .
Then Finn Montgomery, Eliot's long-lost first love, appears, triggering a shocking chain of events that threatens to unravel everything she's worked for. How Eliot survives-and what she loses in the process-is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved a child. With hilarious honesty, wrenching depth, and a knockout twist, I COULDN'T LOVE YOU MORE illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family and reveals the lengths we'll go to save each other, even as we can't save ourselves.
Eliot Gordon is a character we can all relate to. She has a young daughter with her boyfriend, Grant, who shares custody with his ex-wife of their two daughters. She works hard, and is somewhat of a pushover. Ok, she is a big pushover. Afraid of being that "evil stepmother", Eliot does her best to stay positive and accept whatever Grant's girls throw at her. Especially Charlotte, his angry, goth-loving fourteen year-old. As if trying to juggle her busy life isn't enough, Eliot is about to run into Finn, her long lost college boyfriend whom she has never truly gotten over. All of a sudden, the life she has worked so hard to control is going to come ripping apart at the seams and no one is going to be left standing unharmed.
Up until a few years ago, I never would have even considered reading this book. In fact, I never would have thought that I would ever read anything "Chick Lit." Then one day I picked one up and fell in love. Now though, after having read as many as I could as fast as I could, I've found myself slowly distancing myself from the genre. But it's books like this one that always keep me coming back for more.
The Characters: Eliot is funny, caring and even a little on the crazy side. But she has to be if she is going to survive with one daughter, two step-daughters, an absent father, two sisters (one of which is a hypochondriac), a hard working boyfriend and an emotionally distant mother. I liked her instantly. In fact, I liked just about every one of the characters in this story. Except for a few, of course, who I would have given just about anything to jump into the pages and strangle!
One of my favorite characters was Sylvia, Eliot's loud, hypochondriac sister who is always making a scene. Even though she was always complaining and making up some ridiculous ailment, she wasn't annoying. I couldn't help but laugh at her and wonder what she was going to pull next.
It took me a little while to warm up to Grant, Eliot's boyfriend. I don't think he understood what it was like for Eliot having to try to parent two girls who weren't her own, one of which seemed to hate her. He also didn't come off as very supportive at first either, especially when Eliot wanted to take a small vacation with her mother and sisters. Fortunately, Grant really started to come through for me when we learned more about him. He was charming and funny and we even shared a mutual fear of water.
Finn, on the other hand, I liked right away. He was handsome (and a little sexy too) and also pretty funny. I wanted to know everything about him and the relationship he had with Eliot. Even though Eliot was in a new relationship, I was happy for her when she ran into Finn and was finally going to get that chance to find out what went wrong.
Among these main players are many other side characters, all with their own unique personalities to bring something important to the story. It amazed me how different I felt towards some of them at the end of the story than I did at the beginning. Some truly came through in the most critical way, while others seemed to finally show their true colors.
The Storyline: Before I get into what I loved about this book, I want to touch on the only issue I had with it. I don't like sex in books. Actually, I don't mind if the characters have sex, but I can't stand graphic detail. Or any detail for that matter. I don't want to know who is doing what. There were some sexual encounters between Grant and Eliot that I could have done without. In fact, since it was so close to the beginning of the book I almost decided to stop reading. Thankfully though, I kept going and found no more situations of the like and fully enjoyed the rest of the story. And just so you know, these scenes were not overly explicit, I personally just don't like any description.
Anyway, this story called out to me immediately. Just about everyone has thought "what if" once in their life. What would have happened if this person and I never broke up? What could have been? Eliot is about to live this. She has never really gotten over Finn, and has always been left wondering what happened. When she bumps into him after almost fifteen years, all those feelings come flooding to the surface. It seems to do the same to Finn. So there begins the secret phone calls and meetings, both of them desperate to find out why things happened the way they did and what they are willing to do about it now.
Only Eliot doesn't realize that things are about to spiral out of control. In fact, these phone calls lead to a crisis situation in which Eliot has to make the most important, gut-wrenching decision of her life. A decision no parent should ever have to make. After making her split second decision, Eliot is forced to face her demons and things will never be the same.
I'm not going to lie, the situation in this book has kept me up at night. It makes me physically ill to even think about having to make it. This story will stay with you long after you have finished reading it and have you going over it over and over again in your mind. That is a sign of a truly great book.
The Writing: Amazing! This is my first time reading anything by Jillian Medoff, and now I'm hooked! She has an amazing way of sucking you in and not letting you go. She knows just how to bring you down to the deepest corner of your soul and then wrench you right back up into an emotional high. She has done an incredible job of bringing each of these characters to life, so much so that they could be friends of ours, or even our family. Her writing is beautifully smooth and brilliant. I'll be reading more of her books for sure!
Overall, this is one story you don't want to miss. I guarantee that you will be thinking about Eliot and her family long after you have closed the cover. This is one amazing story about how life is definitely what you make of it, and every action you take plays a pivotal role in all others.
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Thanks to the publisher, I have three copies of I Couldn't Love You More up for grabs! The giveaway will run until 6/18 and is open to US/Can only. Good Luck!!!
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