by Luanne Rice

July 2007
ISBN: 978-0-553-80533-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books

The kids are settled into school and the holiday craziness hasnít yet started. Itís the perfect time to treat yourself to a soothing bath, a favorite drink, and a wonderful book. For the final item of the trio Iíd like to suggest What Matters Most by Luanne Rice.

Luanne Rice writes womenís fiction, which has a strong romantic undertone. In What Matters Most she takes us on a journey of love verses religious devotion, and shows how the best intentions donít always turn out to have the desired effect.

Sister Bernadette Ignatius and Tom Kelly have been friends since childhood. Tom always believed, and still does, that he and Bernie as he calls her were meant to be together. Bernie, on the other hand loves Tom, but believes herself to have been meant to devote herself to God and His way, and decides that she must follow that conviction instead of a life with Tom.

Thereís only one ďsmallĒ sidestep along the way...a trip to Ireland in which Tom asks Bernie to help him trace his family heritage. The trip ends with Bernie giving birth to their son. She gives him up for adoption believing that he will be raised in a loving family. After the birth Bernie and Tom remain friends, and unrequited love remains strong between them.

What neither realizes is that their son never does get adopted. Instead he forms the same strong emotional attachment to Kathleen, a girl, whose parents also put her up for adoption. Life is not easy for either, and as they age they begin to be aware of each other and the fact they were meant to be together. Will they or will fate intervene as it did for Bernie and Tom?

What Matters Most is an emotional read that explores the depth of love even when you give your child up for adoption, or are separated by other circumstances beyond your control. The first few pages are somewhat dry, but they set up a beautiful story, and one worth continuing on.

I was drawn into the story, and only put it down because the demands of a full time job. I would gladly have called in sick, and ignored other obligations to be able to read. Be warned...the ending will require tissues. If I were a keeper Iíd have to seriously consider keeping What Matters Most.

Reviewed in August 2007 by Sandi.

Read more reviews of Luanne Rice books.Click Here