In this domestic drama, a young woman fights for the well-being of her family and learns a thing or two about trust, community and forgiveness along the way.
Twenty-five-year-old Lizzy Wallace is being forced to grow up fast: Her mother is dying of cancer, her grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and Lizzy must take care of them both. Her only other blood relative, her aunt Tanya, is interested not in the health of her family, but in the material possessions that might be left to her in the wake of their deaths—specifically, a set of silver cutlery. As Lizzy’s mother takes her last breaths, Tanya begins a series of deplorable attempts to gain what she believes is hers—no matter the cost. Enlisting the help of an adoring small-town Alabama community, Lizzy is forced to fight for her family, even as their darker secrets are revealed. It’s a distraught and frustrating saga, one that pits Lizzy’s determination and love for her family against the maddening will of an embittered woman—readers with a particularly vicious relative will probably relate. But where many family dramas can be intricate and complex, this one unfortunately falls flat. Other than the drawn-out tug of war between two quarreling women—along with every mundane detail that occurs in between a funeral, multiple court dates, and moving in and out of various homes—not much happens in this book. It’s well-written, fast-paced and heartbreaking, but it leaves the reader wanting much more. What’s missing is character depth: Other than vague references to her job, and even though we’re told her every thought, we still somehow know virtually nothing about Lizzy; Aunt Tanya is entirely one-dimensional, an unbelievable caricature of evil; and a host of other characters—Lizzy’s best friend, two concerned caretakers, a kindhearted but ailing grandmother and an estranged father—scratch only the surface. Instead of developing these people and their stories, and truly excavating emotional turmoil, the book instead relies on exposition and sentimentality, making it difficult to find much substance.
An emotional family melodrama whose characters, conflicts and resolutions often seem as trivial—and tarnished—as the silverware.