Title: Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher through Penguin’s First to Read Program
#1 international bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman follows The Life List with Sweet Forgiveness, in which a woman’s receipt of two “forgiveness stones” sends her searching for atonement
The Forgiveness Stones craze is sweeping the nation—instantly recognizable pouches of stones that come with a chain letter and two simple requests: to forgive, and then to seek forgiveness. But New Orleans’ favorite talk show host, Hannah Farr, isn’t biting. Intensely private and dating the city’s mayor, Hannah has kept her very own pouch of Forgiveness Stones hidden for two years—and her dark past concealed for nearly two decades. But when Fiona Knowles, creator of the Forgiveness Stones, appears on Hannah’s show, Hannah unwittingly reveals on air details of a decades-old falling out with her mother.
Spurned by her fans, doubted by her friends, and accused by her boyfriend of marring his political career, Hannah reluctantly embarks on a public journey of forgiveness. As events from her past become clearer, the truth she’s clung to since her teenage years has never felt murkier. Hannah must find the courage to right old wrongs, or risk losing her mother, and any glimmer of an authentic life, forever.
Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman is a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel about forgiveness. In this powerful novel about granting and seeking forgiveness, talk show host Hannah Farr is thrust into the uncomfortable position of revisiting a very painful time in her life. Her journey leads to an unexpected reconciliation but it also causes her to doubt her perception of long events. Confronting the past is often a double-edged sword and Hannah learns this lesson first hand when everything she has worked for is jeopardized by her decision to seek and give absolution.
Hannah’s impulsive decision to use the forgiveness stones as a pitch for a new job is the catalyst for the upcoming turmoil in her life. She really does not intend to move from New Orleans to Chicago, but she hopes to use the job offer as leverage to get her boyfriend of two years to finally propose to her. Hannah is stunned when the ploy backfires and he encourages her to seriously consider the position. Although she decides that accepting the job would be a wise career move, she still has no intention of actually following through on her forgiveness stone idea, but when a conniving co-worker forces her hand, Hannah has no choice but to move forward with her plan.
For someone who has been in the cutthroat world of broadcast journalism for a number of years, Hannah is a little naive and way too trusting. Although her close friend, Jade, warns her to watch her back, Hannah ignores her advice and blunders her way into a situation that quickly spirals out of control.
All the while this professional drama is playing out, Hannah’s personal life is also imploding. Her gullibility extends into her relationship with her mayor boyfriend and she is completely blindsided by his reaction to her decision. Hannah is further shocked by his lack of support and his total disregard for her needs.
Sweet Forgiveness is a very poignant novel that does not shy away from difficult topics. While Lori Nelson Spielman handles these issues with sensitivity, the resolution of this part of the storyline is rather ambiguous and a little dissatisfying. However this does not impact the overall enjoyment of the story and the conclusion of Hannah’s journey is quite heartwarming. It is a compelling read that is quite unique and one that I highly recommend.