July 23, 2024

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Book Reviews, And Author Interviews

3.5 Star ARC Review: Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly- Out 4/2

Lovely Little Things by is a debut novel by Maureen Joyce Connolly that follows a couple that goes through a heartbreaking nightmare when their two daughters are abducted at a gas station.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Sourcebooks Landmark for an ARC in exchange for a fair review

Claire Rowlings is on her way to rounds with her two children in the back seat when an allergic reaction to a vaccination makes her violently ill. Fearing she will cause an accident, she is forced to pull over to the nearest gas station and run into the bathroom where she attempts to keep the door open and keep watch on the car and her children.

However, she passes out from the reaction and wakes up to a plethora of rescue vehicles, medical responders and police. At first, she thinks it is due to her illness but then she soon realizes her car and her children are gone.

From this point we follow the Rowlings’ heartbreaking story over the course of years as they search for their children. The emotional rollercoaster that I can never begin to imagine (not being a mother, myself), including the strain on their marriage. Connolly also crafts an honest account of how, in the midst of any life crisis, we often create defenses through avoidance. Whether this through new relationships (friendships or otherwise), burying ourselves in work or finding hope where others believe there is none to be had.

A colorful cast of characters provide multiple points of view throughout the story including those responsible for the abduction of children. Although this is a unique and interesting idea, I’m not sure how I felt about being brought into their side of the story. No matter what decisions or reasoning (assuming they were not in danger) led to their abducting children from their parents, it is inexcusable.

I found Connolly’s writing style to lean towards the atmospheric/poetry to prose style. I know this isn’t for everyone. I personally enjoyed it a great deal. It was a very well-done balance between full on atmospheric writing that can sometimes make the plot more intangible and hard to grasp like some Young Adult fiction. Rather, it flows like poetic prose while keeping a tangible, and structured plot.

It is hard to say much more without giving away too much more of what happens to the children and the family. However, I did want more at the end. I didn’t need it to be more dramatic or happy. I didn’t need it to be neat and tidy. I just needed more. I was left feeling like there were way more questions than answers.

The Rowlings deserved more answers at the end of everything, no matter what the outcome of the story is, happy or sad. They just deserved more and so do the readers. At 300 pages long, there could have been more story to the ending, rather than the way it just halted where it did. It was an unsatisfying ending to a story that started off very gripping, suspenseful and with all the right elements (sans the point of view of the abductors).

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