February 1, 2015

Review: The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson

Release Date: January 27th, 2015
Rating: 5 stars
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.

Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady's prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn't just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she's capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there's more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there's more to life than death.
*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

I loved this book tremendously. I alternated between crying, smiling, and laughing the entire time. Rachel Higginson, you are a literary genius. Your writing was so fluid and filled with emotion-- every word touched my heart. I began The Five Stages of Falling in Love by highlighting several excerpts that spoke to me, and by the end, there was so much yellow in my Kindle, I was like "um, can I just highlight the whole thing?"

Everything that I loved:

Liz. Oh, Liz. My heart ached for her. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to watch your husband slowly die of cancer, to listen for his heartbeat in his chest knowing all the while each beat may be his last, to have to bury your soulmate, to have to raise 4 children on your own. There were many times throughout the book where Liz broke down sobbing. The emotions she felt and described were so terrible, I couldn't help but cry with her, too. In fact, the writing was so captivating, I felt ALL the emotions Liz felt and took them as my own.

Ben. At first, I didn't want Liz to fall in love with Ben! How could she? Grady, perfect Grady was gone. She was empty and dead inside- so was I. There was no way she could betray Grady like this, right? No. Rachel Higginson has a wonderful way of slowly working at your heart. Ben slowly progressed from handsome neighbor with the pool, to helpful neighbor, to neighbor savior when everything was going wrong, to great friend, to maybe something more, and finally to someone Liz (and I) couldn't live without.

Quotes. As I mentioned above, I highlighted many passages and excerpts via my Kindle. Sometimes I even highlighted entire pages. Here are a few quotes that I really loved:
Tonight was different though. Tonight, Grady was lucid and coherent, he'd found enough energy to stand up and dance with me, to tell me he loved me. Tonight could have been a turn for the better. But it wasn't- because only a few hours later, Grady's heart stopped for the third time during his adult life, and this time it never restarted.
How can you not cry reading that? 
"Because I can't do this anymore!" I cried. The tears of the day finally fell as my world came crashing down around me for the second time in my life. "I cannot be with you when I miss him so much my body aches from it! I cannot be with you and make a life with you when all I want is for him to come back. I can't be intimate with you when it's his hands I imagine touching me, when it's his body I dream about. I cannot be with you when I will never stop loving him."
Or that?? 

But my favorite quote was when Liz visited Grady's grave to talk to him about Ben:
"You were like fireworks. That's how I think you falling in love with you. One beautiful explosion after another." [..]

It took me several more minutes before I could continue, "Ben didn't happen like that. There were no fireworks or epic moments. It was just us, lost and wandering. It was like we were taking this journey, both of us, but separately. Until one day we started taking this journey together."
Ugh, so beautiful but so sad.

Read it, guys. Seriously.

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