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Faithful

Cover of Faithful

Faithful

A Novel
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.
Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend's future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who's been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who's ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Alice Hoffman's "trademark alchemy" (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the "delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary" (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and The Dovekeepers comes a soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.
Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend's future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who's been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who's ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

Alice Hoffman's "trademark alchemy" (USA TODAY) and her ability to write about the "delicate balance between the everyday world and the extraordinary" (WBUR) make this an unforgettable story. With beautifully crafted prose, Alice Hoffman spins hope from heartbreak in this profoundly moving novel.
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About the Author-
  • Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah's Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. She lives near Boston.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 5, 2016
    The sweet-natured latest novel from Hoffman (The Marriage of Opposites) ambles along pleasantly enough as it
    follows the recovery from grief of young Shelby Richmond. As a high school senior, Shelby is driving with her best friend Helene one snowy February night on Long Island when her car goes out of control, leaving Helene in a coma and Shelby ridden with guilt. After a suicide attempt, three months in a psychiatric institution, and a couple of years hiding out in her parents’ basement smoking marijuana, Shelby moves to Manhattan, gets a job, makes friends, rescues several dogs, finds a calling, and finds and loses and then finds love. She’s helped along on this path by homemade postcards from a mysterious source with messages such as “Feel something” and “Save something.” A subplot involving the magical powers attributed to Helene by the hundreds of people who troop faithfully to her door in hopes of a cure goes almost nowhere, and Shelby’s life—one learning experience after another—is oddly episodic. The novel, with its hopeful message and well-intentioned characters, will appeal for the relatability of Shelby’s slow coming-of-age, romantic difficulties (many of her own making), difficulty in choosing a career, and changing relationship with her parents. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM Partners.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 30, 2017
    Actress Tamblyn, known for playing the title role in the TV series Joan of Arcadia, inhabits Hoffman’s story so naturally it is almost as if it was written for her. The novel opens with a car accident involving two high school seniors on a snowy night on Long Island. The accident leaves one of the young women, Helen, in a coma and the other, Shelby Richmond, who was driving the car, seemingly determined to punish herself in perpetuity for what happened to her friend. Tamblyn captures the bleak despair of the novel’s opening and then slowly, gingerly, traces Shelby’s fledgling attempts to build a life for herself. Sometimes Shelby’s early behavior is appalling, but it stems from her self-hatred and survivor’s guilt; the challenge for Tamblyn is to depict the raw fury of Shelby’s aftermath but also show listeners enough of the character’s goodness and humanity that they champion her cause. She portrays Shelby as tough as nails but also achingly vulnerable. She also turns in fabulous interpretations of other characters, particularly of Maravelle, a single mom trying to make ends meet in New York whom Shelby befriends later in life. A Simon & Schuster hardcover.

  • Kirkus

    Hoffman takes a break from writing about distant places and the distant past (Marriage of Opposites, 2015, etc.) to explore the psyche of a young Long Island woman afflicted by survivor guilt.In her own mind, Shelby Richmond stole her best friend's future. Two years have passed since the car accident that left Helene tethered to a feeding tube in her childhood bedroom just before she should have graduated from high school, a mute but lovely shadow of her former badass self, a magnet for pilgrims hoping to be cured by touching her hand. This cringeworthy spectacle sometimes causes Shelby to ponder whether it's better or worse that her friend lived. Mainly, though, Shelby focuses on enacting her own penance for being physically and cognitively intact (the jury's out on emotionally): by shaving her head, sleeping like Dracula in her parents' basement, skipping college, and sometimes cutting herself in places she thinks won't be detected. Miserable as things are for Shelby, Hoffman provides readers as well as her deeply wounded heroine some quirky human anchors to make her journey back to higher functionality more than bearable, even entertaining: e.g., an anonymous Samaritan, apparently male, who sends her hand-drawn postcards bearing get-well messages in the form of visual and verbal riddles. And there's black-humored levity in Shelby's snarky exchanges with Ben Mink--her marijuana source who's grown from high school geek to handsome striver and brings her Ray Bradbury books to read. "I believe in tragedy," she tells him apropos of Helene's faithful flock. "Not miracles." Though bald and self-medicating, she grasps that moving in with Ben while he attends pharmacy grad school (!!!) at NYU might be a better direction. While shacking up with Ben, she finds a job cleaning cages at a gritty pet store. The silver lining is her co-worker Maravelle, a single mom of three young kids, whose lack of self-pity over her bad luck with men ("See a charmer and you're bound to see a snake nearby") attracts Shelby. Perhaps there's a way these two bruised women can help each other? Ultimately, though, it's Sue Richmond, Shelby's mom, who proves to be the real saint of the narrative--her unobtrusive shaping of Shelby's better instincts is one of the most touching aspects of the book. With Hoffman, it's a safe bet deus ex machina or mild enchantment is going to enter the plot. By the time it does, however, Shelby's well on her way to recalibrating. She couldn't save her friend, but Hoffman endows her with the inner weather to save herself. A novel full of people--flawed, scarred, scared--discovering how to punish themselves less and connect with others more. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2016
    Shelby Richmond loves Chinese food, bookstores, and cocky, bad-boy types, so maybe her move from Long Island to New York City makes sense. But she's still a lost soul, circling around others like her, because as a teenager she walked away unscathed from an accident that tragically changed the course of her best friend's life. She's since been shaped by survivor's guilt, but perhaps somewhere, somehow, someone is watching over her. Hoffman being heartbreaking and magical; with an eight-city tour.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2017

    When Shelby and her best friend, Helene, are in a car accident, Shelby is the lucky one. Or so everyone tells her, since Helene is now in a coma. Shelby's guilt becomes all-encompassing, and she spends years in a dark place, wanting to self-harm and unable to leave her parents' basement. It's a very slow process, but eventually, Shelby heals enough to try a new life in New York City with a boy from high school. Caught in a state of arrested development because of her guilt and low self-esteem, Shelby ultimately learns to forgive herself and love again. Teens will love Shelby-her angst will feel real and honest, while her journey to absolve herself is understandable and sincere. Hoffman writes coming-of-age novels well, and her inclusion of a little bit of magic (or miracle, if you're a believer) fits the urban setting and Shelby's neuroses perfectly. While a tale of redemption, this slim title also tackles family relationships, first jobs, first loves, first apartments, and breakups. Readers who push through the sad opening chapters will cheer for Shelby as she rescues abused dogs and finds herself. VERDICT For Hoffman's fans as well as those who enjoy redemptive stories.-Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A Novel
Alice Hoffman
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