The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk
Expected Publication: March 6, 2018
*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
The Beauty That Remains is Ashley Woodfolks debut novel. It covers a variety of subject such as death, depression, LGBT and suicide. There is a great deal of grief and loss in this novel. Woodfolk does an exemplary job and expressing the deep and profound emotions that come with the loss of a love, emotion's that one doesn't understand until they have lost someone themselves.
Woodwork can capture emotions. I wanted desperately to love her novel but I struggled to connect with the storylines. There was just way too much going on and I found myself constantly trying to determine which character was telling their story. It took me nearly half the book before I was able to catch the cadence of her writing and the voice of her characters. Once I got past the struggle, I found myself much more involved in their stories and found the book to be more enjoyable.
The characters are Autumn, who's best friend, Octavia passed away in a tragic accident. Autumn struggles with this loss and as a means to heal and cope with the death of her friend, she continues to send her messages, spend the night in her (Octavia's) bedroom and form a bond with her brother.
Logan's ex-boyfriend, Bram is dead. He is full of regrets as his last words to Bram were harsh. He deals with his grief and guilty by consuming alcohol, being self destructive and unkind to his mind and body. Music is both his respite and pain.
Shay's twin sister, Sasha's life was taken too soon as a result of leukemia, leaving Shay "twinless" and alone. She struggles to cope with living her life without taking care of sister and having that constant in her life. Running, kissing and music are her coping mechanisms. Her struggles are further combated with the weakened relationship she has with her mom.
All of these stories are told separately but weave together. They overlap and music becomes the common factor in mending broken hearts.
I personally feel that this book would have been a lot stronger had there been more depth and background into the characters. It fell flat some but not horrible for a debut novel. I would give Woodfolk a second chance because the passion and ability to develop characters it there.
Don' t totally rule this book out, give it some time to tell you it's story and you will find that it is worth your time.