Jennifer Huffaker knows that grief is normal, but she thought she’d get over it-that’s what people do. But it’s been eighteen months since her husband Jack died, and she still can’t focus on her young daughter Kaitlin, can’t accept support from her family, and can’t allow herself to live without the love of her life. Jennifer is angry at everything and everyone-including herself for being so unprepared. But what did she expect? Angels?
On the day after Christmas her anguish finally becomes too much, and Jennifer’s pain culminates in a shattering decision. But this is also the night she runs into Henry, an elderly friend from Costa Rica who has seen more of life’s trials than anyone could know. Henry realizes the devastating depths to which Jennifer has sunk, and he decides that tonight is the night to tell her his story.
Touching and incisive, poignant, and sometimes bitingly funny, both Jennifer’s and Henry’s stories intermingle into a tale of love, despair, faith and, ultimately, hope, as Jennifer realizes she has been blessed with the most unexpected angel of all.
Maughan’s story of how hard it was to get her book published moved me so greatly, that when she asked if I would read, and review, her book, I didn’t hesitate to accept. To make a long story short, (you can read the long one here) Maughan had a very difficult time getting published, it took many, many years and a lot of courage, but in the end she and others believed enough in her to lead her to self-publish. You can read even more about her journey with “Did I Expect Angels?” at her blog.
This story of Jennifer, a young mother who was widowed at an early age, is a powerful one. After the tragic loss of her husband, Jennifer is lost. She’s left with their young daughter and her mounting problems have her contemplating suicide. Enter Henry, a kind-hearted man, who has become increasingly worried about his friend and decides to tell her his life story.
Maughan does a great job of intertwining Henry’s story of love and loss with Jennifer’s. Through the eyes of both characters, the reader is forced to see the sometimes harsh realities that come with the loss of a love one, but also find the new directions that life can take after such tragedies. Henry and Jennifer are able to find understanding in each other’s experiences. Henry is able to lead Jennifer to a new hope for the future and inspires her to finally move beyond her husband’s death and Henry, through telling his story, finds more meaning within his own life.
Maughan superbly paints a picture of the healing power of the personal relationship. In a day and age where people are increasing dependent on machines for their every need, it’s beautiful to read a story that shows how necessary we are to each other. This poignant story is heartbreaking and heartwarming. Maughan beautifully illustrates the healing power of human connection. Maughan has a talent for character develop and quickly endears both characters to the reader. This emotional story is both heart wrenching and heartwarming, and those looking for a good beach read would do well to pick up this novel.
You can purchase the novel here.