To Say Goodbye, by Lindsay Detwiler is a romance that asks and answers some of the big questions of life; how to grieve, how to move forward and how to learn to love again. Sophia, a woman in early thirties, has the life she always dreamed of having, married to her soul mate, Tim, running her own hair salon in partnership with her best friend and contemplating adoption as a way to solve their inability to conceive, when tragedy strikes. Her lawyer husband Tim has a fatal heart attack at work and for Sophia, her life is over. She just wants to throw herself on top of Tim’s coffin and spend eternity with him. Jackson was Tim’s inseparable childhood friend, who has also suffered loss, with his wife leaving and taking his beloved son with her. Jackson is slowly sinking into the abyss of alcoholism. Can these two lost and bereft souls, find comfort in each other and move on?
This story had the potential to be dark and maudlin, but Detwiler’s writing managed to ensure that was not the case. Although it is full of grief, angst, loss and pain, there is a thread of hope that runs through it lifting it out of what could have been a dark morass. I felt the author’s ability to draw us into the two principal character’s lives and to allow us to empathise and root for them shows a true skill on Detwiler’s part. She pulls no punches in describing the pain of the loss, the guilt of the moving on and the difficulty for Sophia to build new memories that didn’t include her beloved Tim. Although this is not my genre, I was moved deeply by this tale and was glued to the story from beginning to end. Ultimately, To Say Goodbye is a celebration of life and triumph over adversity and a wonderfully written and crafted story. Kudos to Lindsay Detwiler.