Have tissues handy.
- Review by Cindi
Ken and his partner of two years, Mark, move with Ken's adopted daughter, Hanna, to a small town. Within weeks of moving into their new home, Ken experiences every parent's nightmare when Hanna is diagnosed with cancer. Mark is unable to handle the amount of attention taken away from him (which is what I got from his break up speech) so he breaks it off with Ken and moves out. Ken is a well-known artist whose paintings are sold in galleries all over the world. Hanna is a 6-year old sweetheart.
Patrick is Ken and Hanna's neighbor. Because of an injury two years prior he is unable to speak. He is full of grief over what might have been. Before his injury, he was taking the world by storm. Now he is a sad, lonely man allowing life to pass him by. Intimidation and embarrassment prevent him from meeting new people. He is shy and insecure. He has no idea of his own worth. To Patrick, he is nothing more than a has-been who makes custom wood furniture for a living who is better off avoiding people.
Not long after Hanna's cancer diagnosis, mysterious packages are left at her and Ken's doorstep. Inside each box are items that are special to Hanna in some way, special hats to cover her now bald head, dolls and every other thing a little girl could get excited about. There is no note nor any hint of who might be leaving them. These precious gifts give a bit of happiness to a very sick little girl which in turn makes her father happy as well.
Thanks to a precocious little girl, Patrick and Ken develop a friendship that grows strong over time and much later this friendship turns into much more.
This is a love story between Patrick and Ken but that is not all it is. It is about a precious little girl who you can not help but fall head over heels in love with. The author could have written this with Patrick and Ken at the center, putting Hanna and her illness in the background. He didn't and for that I am grateful. This story is real. You watch as Hanna is diagnosed and then you follow along as she goes through treatments that Ken hopes and prays will save his little girl. While this is happening, a love story is slowly taking place. Patrick becomes indispensable to Ken and Hanna. He is there for them always, without complaint. He may not be able to speak vocally but he says so much. There are events that Patrick puts into motion for Hanna that will have you crying your eyes out... in a good way. He does this often which meant a lot of tears on my part.
This is a very beautiful, heartwarming story. There are secondary characters who will make you smile and at times will make you cry. There is Mark, the ex, who was there and then suddenly he wasn't. It looked like the story was heading in one direction with him but then he just faded in the background without explanation. I am not sure how I feel about that. I do, however, commend the author for not making Mark out to be the typical stereotypical ex boyfriend. He is written as a fairly good guy who just needed something that was no longer there so he moved on.
This is not insta-love by any means. There are not a lot of sex scenes though the ones there are written beautifully. This is a story about illness, friendship, acceptance, healing, love and family.
I suggest having tissues close by. I'm not one to get too emotional by the stories I read but I found myself teary-eyed often.
Excellent story. I highly recommend it.