Poring over a dusty hatbox of photographs in her grandmother’s closet, Emily Prentice is shocked to discover her father was married to his high school sweetheart before meeting her mother.
In the summer of 1968, Jack and Libbie fall in love under the spell of their small town, untouched by the chaos of the late sixties. Though Libbie’s well-to-do parents disapprove of Jack’s humble family and his aspiration to become a mechanic, she marries Jack a year after they graduate high school. But soon their happiness crumbles as Libbie’s mental state unravels and she is drawn to alcohol and drugs. Despite his efforts to help her, Jack loses the woman he loves and is forced to move on with his life.
Now that Emily’s mother has passed away, Jack is alone again, and Emily grows obsessed with the beautiful woman who had given her father such joy. Determined to find Libbie, Emily pieces together the couple’s fragmented past. But is it too late for happy endings?
The bulk of this novel tells the story of Jack and Libbie. The high school sweethearts seemed destined for a happy life together, but their happiness is short-lived. Planning the wedding was stressful enough for Libbie, but it doesn’t end after the wedding. Libbie continues to struggle with fears and feelings she can’t control, not to mention her mother’s mysterious “illness” and her older sister’s resentment at having to care for their mother. Libbie is determined to be perfect in every way, but her perception of failure and methods of dealing with her stress lead her, and Jack, down a road that can only end in disaster.
I didn’t want this story to end. Jack and Libbie felt so real to me, and when I read of how their marriage came to an end, it broke my heart. I already knew it was going to happen—it’s right there in the blurb—but it was still painful to read about. I thought about these characters constantly when I wasn’t reading, and I kept hoping that Libbie would be found. I wanted so badly for them to have the happy ending they were denied when they were young. I couldn’t stand waiting to find out if it would happen!
Finding Libbie is a beautifully written novel, and I enjoyed reading it very much. I have a feeling these characters are going to be fresh in my mind for quite some time. Sletten just earned a spot on my author radar with this one!
I received an advance review copy of this novel courtesy of Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Deanna Lynn Sletten
Title: Finding Libbie (ARC)
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Published: 9/6/2016 by Lake Union Publishing