“The Young Widower’s Handbook” by Tom McAllister

The first chapter of Tom McAllister’s THE YOUNG WIDOWER’S HANDBOOK is quite possibly one of the most beautiful, romantic things I have ever read. It left me breathless. And not in the euphemistic, overdramatic sort of way. I was actually breathless.

It’s hard to review books like this, books that make you feel so much more than you ever expected to feel. Nothing seems to quite say enough good things about something that was so much more than simply good.

But we have to try so…

THE YOUNG WIDOWER’S HANDBOOKS is the story of Hunter Cady’s journey from slightly aimless young man to devoted husband to grieving widower to slightly more aimless slightly older man.

That summary seems cold and even harsh but it is a proper summary. Hunter wasn’t quite sure where he fit in the world until he met Kait. Kait loved him and he found his place. And then Kait died and Hunter was lost again.

Slightly more romantic summary, yes? Tragic too.

But McAllister tells the story with power and emotional and an intensity that can’t adequately be described secondhand. It’s one of the books where you read it, someone asks how it was and the only good answer is “oh god, you have to read it too!”

Which feels 100% like a cheat on this my book review blog but… what can you do? Oh, I know! Read the book!

This will be my final attempt at telling you about this story…

Kait Cady dies before she turns 30. Left adrift without the one person who made him feel alive, Hunter cannot bring himself let her go in the ways that everyone else thinks he should let her go. So, with her life insurance check in the bank, he takes her ashes on a cross-country trip that they’d meant to take one day. It’s all an attempt to hold onto her, to keep her in his life. That it can never work makes the story all the more heartbreaking and beautiful. That he learns, over the weeks of the trip, that maybe everything wasn’t perfect in their marriage, in their lives makes the story all the more heartbreaking, beautiful, and real. That none of this changes how much he loved her makes the story perfect.

(I received a copy of THE YOUNG WIDOWER’S HANDBOOK through NetGalley and Algonquin books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.)

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