"Where We Belong" by Emily Giffin
Marian Caldwell is thirty-six years old, living her dream in New York City as the producer of a successful network television show. She is in a wonderful relationship and enjoying her success, convinced that her life is as perfect as it could be. But a knock at her door one night turns everything upside down and forces Marian to confront her past and her identity.
Kirby Rose is an eighteen-year-old from St. Louis with loving parents and a high-achieving sister. Kirby loves music, especially playing the drums, but doesn't quite feel like she fits in anywhere, both at home and at school. Kirby has always known she is adopted, and while it hasn't completely bothered her, as she is contemplating her future she begins to wonder about her birth parents and how much of a part of her they are. So she sets off to New York City in search of her birth mother.
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin is the story of these two characters, Marian and Kirby, who embark on a journey to get to know each other and how in the process they discover who they really are and what was missing in their lives. The sixth novel from Giffin, it is a wonderful story of love, loyalty, forgiveness and family that will have readers engrossed in every page.
The Chicago Sun-Times declared Giffin a "modern-day Jane Austen" and while I certainly can't declare myself an expert on Austen, I do believe that Emily Giffin is one of the best female writers out there who captures the essence of relationships today. This book takes difficult subjects and writes them with a beauty and warmth that make the book an easy read but one that will touch readers on a variety of levels.
I thought the characters were very well written, engaging and easy to relate to, even Marian who lives a life different from most and made a decision that will be difficult for some to sympathize with. It was also easy to relate to Kirby, which sometimes I find is difficult to do with teenage characters in adult novels. The storyline alternates between Marian and Kirby to give a well-rounded perspective. I did find the character of Kirby's birth father Conrad a little difficult to feel emotion for but it didn't take away from the book.
I loved the first interactions between Marian and Kirby, the way Marian doesn't know how to handle things, how she does what she thinks is best but it doesn't help the situation. It felt so realistic, things weren't nice and neat like they could be in the fictional world but these were real people trying to do their best like in the real world.
This is a book that is difficult to put down. It is so easy to read, so easy to get invested in the characters and the story. You just want to keep reading, you want to stay invested in the characters, you want to see how things turn out. The ending is fairly open though readers will still be satisfied with it, hopefully this means there will be a sequel. Readers of women's fiction will not be disappointed with this novel.