The Nearness of You
by Amanda Eyre Ward
PBT Review #38
I was super excited when I got approved for this on Netgalley by Ballentine books! I rarely get approved for books that are not published by Bookouture, so I could believe my eyes when I got the approval email for this. I was anxious to read it and when I did get to it, I was not disappointed (for the most part).
From the very first chapter I could tell this was going to be a heavy book to read. It touches on so many tough subjects including mental illness, surrogacy, and the pressure on a relatioship/marriage when one partner doesn’t want to have children. Later on in the book we get to see the effects of PTSD from deployment, drug abuse, prostitution, and child neglect. If any of these things are possible triggers for you, please be aware that this is at least touched on briefly in the novel. To be honest, I was not expecting such a heavy story to come with this book, but it was an amazing read nonetheless.
The prologue is pretty much the ending of the story, then the rest of the story is told as the character are looking back and reminiscing over the experience. As the story begins, we find out the main couple has been married for 15 years and all of a sudden Hyland (the husband) brings up the subject of children. Again. Hyland actually called off their engagement because Suzette (the wife) doesn’t want children, but decided to marry her anyways. So what Suzette thought was a long buried and agreed upon subject is once again brought back up. Now Suzette does have her reasons for not wanting children and Hyland has his reasons for wanting children. They quickly decided on a compromise of surrogacy.
After many different women backed up of being Hyland and Suzettes surrogate, for many different reasons, they finally find a young woman named Dorrie to agree which happens towards the end of Part One.
Up until this point, I found the book not extremely interesting. It was really slow and it took me a while to figure out exactly how I was feeling about the story. I was so confused because the book contained very interesting subject matter, I just didn’t find it very interesting. To be honest, I felt kind of awkward and uneasy.
Literally as soon as I finished Part One, I had an epiphany. I was feeling this way about the book because that’s how Suzette was feeling. For the most part, Part One of the book was told from Suzette’s POV. Since she was feeling awkward and uneasy about the children discussion, finding a surrogate, and trying to figure out if this is what she really wanted that’s how I was feeling too! It was an amazing experience. I was feeding on this vibes of the words and the character. I’m not sure that has ever happened to me on this scale before it and it was awesome!
Part Two starts with a chapter from Dorrie (the surrogate) and I was some completely captivated at this point! I loved that Ward had the surrogate’s POV included in the story.
Throughout this part of the book, readers get to see many different POVs– Suzette, Dorrie, Jayne (random little girl), Eloise (surrogate baby), and Hyland. I’m not sure exactly why Jayne got a chapter in her perspective, but she did.
This is the part of the book where all heck breaks loose, literally! The feelings that Dorrie was having really touched my heart because I know that those are the same exact feelings I would have if I were to be in her situation. At least that’s how I picture it would happen.
After reading Dorrie’s thoughts, I just can’t imagine that when you agree to be a surrogate that you actually know what you’re signing up for and getting yourself into. So I was not surprised that Dorrie reacts the way that she does.
Part Three was full of twists, some I was expecting and some I was not. I was completely blind sided by one of the major reveals, nothing could have prepared me for that. But the reveal wasn’t a negative one, which I really liked. The reveal made me really happy and really sad at the same time.
The ending of the book was where I was really disappointed. The ending left me completely unsatisfied. I seriously loved the whole book, but in my opinion Ward really dropped the ball on the ending of the book. It had so much potential for a tragic or happy ending, whichever she would have chosen. But instead we got not kind of closure and are left guessing how everything turned out for the characters. But it didn’t leave off in such a way that you would think there will be a sequel.
One of my favorites things about a book is reading to see where the book gets its title from. The Nearness of You could have been incorporated into the book in some many different wonderful ways. But NO. This book got it’s title from an Ella Fitzgerald song that Eloise sings for her a cappella tryouts. Boring. Bummer.
The whole book was so well put together, but the ending made it lose a few star points for me. Unfortunately. But overall, it was a wonderful book and I would still recommend it to other readers!
This book releases on February 21, 2017
So what did you think of my review? Does it seem fair? Have you read this book? Did you request it from Netgalley or will you be preordering/purchasing it?