By Steena Holmes
Genre: Women’s fiction
3 out of 5 stars. I loved “Finding Emma” and “Emma’s Secret” by Steena Holmes and had been wanting to read more of her books for a while. In “Saving Abby,” Claire and her husband, Josh, have been struggling with infertility. They go on a worldwide tour to get inspiration for the children’s book series Josh writes and Claire illustrates. This vacation is also a chance for them to put the past and their baby dreams behind them and move on. The story flashes back and forth between their vacation and the present day, which didn’t make that much sense to me. I think the book would’ve been just as complete without the vacation flashbacks.
When Claire returns home, she starts getting horrible headaches and being exhausted all the time. It turns out she is finally pregnant! Josh and Claire are so excited, but Claire’s symptoms are getting worse, not better. Josh and Claire’s best friend, Abby, push her to get checked out. They find out that Claire has a brain tumor and they can’t do anything to treat it while she is pregnant. Claire makes the choice of her baby’s life over her own. There is also the subplot of Claire having placed a child for adoption when she was a teenager and her continued grief over that situation.
This book had an interesting premise, but it could’ve been better executed. Claire’s brain tumor was discovered so late in the book, even though that was a huge part of the plot. In addition, there was no struggle in Claire’s decision. She decided she wasn’t going to get treatment until after the baby came and that was that. I think it would’ve been interesting to see Josh and her labor over that decision or see more conflict when they both had different opinions. Even though the subject matter should’ve been tear-inducing, I didn’t feel like the book really delved into all the emotions that the characters would be feeling. Josh was super supportive one minute and then annoyed with Claire the next. Claire was pretty resolute and we never really saw her stress over dying, even as she was making “just in case” preparations. The character who seemed to be the most developed was Claire’s mother, Millie. She was very relatable and you could feel her regret over choices she made in the past and her uncertainty as she attempts to make things right.
Overall, this wasn’t a bad read, it just wasn’t as good as it could’ve been.