“Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.”
Ben and Elsie are your average 20-somethings. He’s a graphic designer, she’s a librarian. They meet at a pizza takeout and fall in love. The chemistry between them is instant and electric – so much so that Ben can’t even wait 24 hours before asking to see Elsie again. Within weeks, they’re crazily in love. Within 6 months, they are married. And nine days later, Ben dies in an accident. Leaving Elsie to face Susan, a mother-in-law she has never met and who knows nothing at all about Elsie.
As Susan grapples with the fact that her son died without even telling her that he was getting married, Elsie is plagued by the very thought of having to live a life without Ben. She also worries that after just nine days of being married, and with her marriage certificate still to come, maybe people will think that she has no right to grieve…that she is a fake…that she hardly even knew him…
Reid alternates between Ben and Elsie’s love story and Elsie and Susan’s grieving process, and this works really well because it ensures that the book is neither sugary sweet nor too bitter a pill to swallow. If you look at the two stories as distinct and separate, the love story will leave you feeling a little giddy and misty-eyed, and sighing wistfully at the perfect love that Ben and Elsie have found. The second part, which deals with grieving and healing, is a compassionate and wise portrayal of the stages of grief, and of how Elsie and Susan, as the two most important women in Ben’s life, can find healing and closure by supporting one another.
This is an eminently beautiful and believable story – yes, even the love-at-first sight bit (what, you don’t believe in soul mates?) and the part about Ben not telling Susan about Elsie. You will fall in love with these characters and you will find yourself wishing that a love like that could have lasted forever.
Poignant, heart warming, funny and wise – Forever, Interrupted is the one of the books that you really have to read!