“A Quiet Life” by Ethan Joella – Book Review

“Sometimes you just need to say all the things that are inside you, hurting your heart.”

Chuck Ayers – a recent widower who is reeling from the loss of his beloved wife, Cat. Chuck is in his early seventies and lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Now, he finds himself wondering if he should make the couple’s annual pilgrimage to Hilton Head, South Carolina on his own. Will it make his grief better or worse?

Ella Burke – is in her early thirties. Her marriage has broken down and in an impulsive act of desperation, her husband has abducted their daughter, Riley. As he also absconded with their life savings, Ella now works every hour God sends to make ends meet. Distraught at the loss of her beloved daughter, and worried for her well-being, Ella is just barely getting through the days…

Kirsten Bonato – is an attractive twenty-something who works full-time at an animal rescue. She had dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, but the sudden death of her beloved father seemed to put her life and her dreams on hold.  Kristen is attracted to both of her co-workers at the shelter.

What a wonderful, memorable, and poignant novel! I loved every single page, and wished I could meet the characters in real life.

I loved how the author referenced one of my favourite short stories in the novel, “The Last Leaf” by O. Henry.

Another aspect of this novel which I appreciated was how the author had three separate characters and connected them through fate, and the recognition of each other’s pain.

The story explores how we tend to keep ourselves to ourselves when we are in pain. How doing the opposite of this – letting others into our lives – can bring about such succour.

This is ostensibly a novel about loss and regret, yet it is permeated with hope.  It delves into some serious, heart-wrenching issues like the death of a spouse, death of a parent, and parental kidnapping, but does it with such empathy that the reader feels better just for having read it. “A Quiet Life” is about people trying to live their lives when horrible things happen. These particular people though, do it with grace, kindness, and dignity.

A wonderful, poignant read which I highly recommend.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Scribner Books/Simon and Schuster via Edelweiss.      

ISBN: 9781982190972 – ASIN:‎ B0BR8QJ1VM –  304 pages

Ethan Joella teaches English and psychology at the University of Delaware and specializes in community writing workshops. His work has appeared in River Teeth, The Cimarron Review, The MacGuffin, Delaware Beach Life, and Third Wednesday. He is the author of A Little Hope, which was a Read with Jenna Bonus Selection and A Quiet Life.

He lives in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with his wife and two daughters.

Connect with Ethan Joella via his website, Twitter and/or Instagram.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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7 Responses to “A Quiet Life” by Ethan Joella – Book Review

  1. Pingback: 12 Friends 12 Books Challenge Tracking #Challenges #12Friends12Books – Carla Loves To Read

  2. I want to read this. I love The Last Leaf, almost no one I know knows that one. So glad to see it mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy you enjoyed! Happy New Year 🥳

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds great Lynne. I’m definitely going to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

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