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Piece By Piece
BY Laura Bradford

July 28, 2020/ ISBN 9781496725950
Women’s Fiction

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


Piece By Piece by Laura Bradford is a heartfelt tale where readers will be thankful that the tissue shortage has ended. It is a story of losing loved ones unexpectedly. It is about loss, grief, anger, survivor's guilt, but also how good memories can help someone learn to cope.

“I heard this quote, ‘friends are Angels that lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.’ In some moments, grief is so powerful it makes someone wonder if they can keep going. They question if they can put one foot in front of the other. She feels so overwhelmed. Her Amish friends came to help her stand up so she could take steps to heal on her own. Lydia and her family showed Dani it was OK to slow her life down. Both Dani and Lydia second guessed themselves as moms. All the characters had their own form of grief. Sometimes people need someone to reach out a hand whether it is physical or a metaphor to give those grieving something to hang on to before that person can climb on their own.”

The story opens with a suburban stay-at-home-mom, Dani Parker, taking her mother's suggestion by having a "me time" day. Her mom goes on an outing with Dani's husband and three children. But the unthinkable happens, a car crash that leaves no survivors. She spirals deeper and deeper into survivor's grief, wishing the accident claimed her life as well. She feels guilty and depressed about being alive.

Not knowing how she will get through the next day, Dani accepts her childhood friend's offer to come stay in a cottage her family owns. Bradford skillfully shows how friendship is an important tool in healing. Lydia, her Amish friend, delivered food to Dani and was there to listen and also give Dani some space to mourn. Lydia's kindness, understanding, and humor give Dani the support she needs, especially after Dani discovers that Lydia is going through her own set of guilt, grief, and questions, along with the rest of Lydia's family including her brother and three-year-old daughter Nettie.

"I wanted to show how everyone had some form of grief. After her family dies, Dani questions whether she was the perfect mom, and beat herself up over it. Being Amish, Lydia believes that everything happens according to "God's will." She was a calming hand for Dani. It is interesting how Dani can comfort Lydia's child and brother through grief, but cannot seem to do it for herself. She also thinks it is ridiculous that Lydia blames herself even though Dani cannot give herself the pass she gives Lydia. Her brother, Caleb, also felt helpless at times to watch those he cared about go through their own sadness. I knew he was not going to be a romantic person for Dani because it was way too soon, and there is no way I wanted to go in that direction. Then there was the three-year-old Nettie, who had the innocence of childhood. She was also a good reminder to Dani of her own children. There was a scene in the barn when Dani was alone with Nettie. Her motherly protective instinct took over by giving Nettie hope. Yet, she was unable to turn around that hope for herself."

This story has wonderful characters, and readers will take a journey with all of them, going through the same emotions. People will have tears in their eyes throughout the novel. This is definitely another winner by Bradford.

Reviewed 2020