Title: In This Moment by Karma Brown
Publisher: Park Row Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women”s Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Bestselling author Karma Brown is back with a morally infused and emotionally riveting exploration of one woman’s guilt over an unexpected—yet avoidable—tragedy
Meg Pepper has a fulfilling career and a happy family. Most days she’s able to keep it all together and glide through life. But then, in one unalterable moment, everything changes.
After school pickup one day, she stops her car to wave a teenage boy across the street…just as another car comes hurtling down the road and slams into him.
Meg can’t help but blame herself for her role in this horrific disaster. Full of remorse, she throws herself into helping the boy’s family as he rehabs from his injuries. But the more Meg tries to absolve herself, the more she alienates her own family—and the more she finds herself being drawn to the boy’s father.
Soon Meg’s picture-perfect life is unravelling before her eyes. As the painful secrets she’s been burying bubble dangerously close to the surface, she will have to decide: Can she forgive herself, or will she risk losing everything she holds dear to her heart?
In This Moment by Karma Brown is an affecting exploration of unresolved guilt and grief.
Meg Pepper is a busy working mother who has never quite made peace with a tragedy that occurred when she was a teenager. Her long buried feelings of guilt come to the surface in the aftermath of a car accident involving the twin brother of her fifteen year old daughter Audrey’s boyfriend Sam Beckett. After Meg waves Jack across the road, he is struck by an inattentive driver traveling in the opposite direction. She immediately blames herself and in the aftermath, her guilt takes a huge toll on her marriage to Ryan, her career and her relationship with Audrey as Meg begins making questionable decisions.
Even before the Jack’s accident, Meg is already struggling to keep up with the details of her personal and professional lives. She is also a little resentful that Ryan does not seem to take her career seriously. Like many working mothers, she is expected to juggle the demands of her job with motherhood and the duties around the house. After Jack’s accident, Meg becomes so guilt-ridden that she cannot sleep and when she does, she is plagued with nightmares about tragic events that occurred when she was a teenager. Sleep-deprived and incredibly stressed, Meg begins making mistakes at work and at home, she and Ryan begin bickering.
Up to this point, Meg is a very involved and protective mom who tries to ensure Audrey does not make the same mistakes she made as teenager. Before Jack’s accident, Audrey never gives her or Ryan any reason to worry about the choices she makes and they trust her implicitly. Almost immediately after the accident, Audrey’s behavior begins to change but she and Ryan are slow to realize exactly what is going on with the daughter.
With trouble brewing both at home and the office, Meg becomes her own worst enemy as she refuses to talk about her profound guilt over her self perceived role in Jack’s accident. Although Ryan knows about what happened to her as a teenager, she cannot bring herself to admit that Jack’s accident has brought all of her unresolved feelings to the forefront. Meg’s downward spiral leads to discontent in her marriage and she makes a fateful choice that threatens her relationships with everyone she holds dear.
In This Moment by Karma Brown is a poignant and thought-provoking read but some elements of the storyline become repetitive. Meg’s guilt over her role in what happened in both the past and present seems a little extreme and it is very difficult to understand why she won’t talk to Ryan about the things that are bothering her. Although not everything is completely resolved, the novel’s optimistic conclusion is quite satisfying.