Wednesday, July 3, 2024

THE WAY BACK by Heidi Chiavaroli, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

(Lights of Acadia Book 1)

“I’m beginning to glimpse what it means to be human, to hold my scars lightly and hold hope tightly.”

Talented author Heidi Chiavaroli has penned a beautiful story of forgiveness, healing, and hope in her book The Way Back. Set on the coast of Maine in two different time periods, it features two women. One is based on Abbie Burgess, a real-life lighthouse keeper who lived in the 1800s. The other is fictional Laney Jacobs who has physical and mental scars and comes to Maine to find a grandmother she has never met. Her tenuous relationship with her mother has deteriorated, and she seeks to know her grandmother who has sent her inspirational birthday cards every year.

The main characters are realistically flawed, engaging, and multi-layered, and I enjoyed seeing their growth as the story progressed. The author has seamlessly incorporated faith elements to add inspiration and depth. I liked the strong message of healing and hope as well as the importance of family. Chiavaroli has chosen to tackle hard subjects with this book, but she has done so with sensitivity and melded them with spiritual growth.

“I only found healing when I found forgiveness.”

“Hope is a powerful thing, for good—and for ill.”

“There will always be a part of me that hurts. But I have to choose to move forward each day, to believe God is not finished with me, that the best is yet to come.”

I found this book to be fascinating, especially since we recently visited Bar Harbor, Maine, where the contemporary portion of the book is set. Therefore, it was easy to envision the area, which added to my enjoyment of it. I would recommend it to those who enjoy beautiful stories with deep inspirational messages. *4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
Young love means everything . . . until it leaves you with nothing.

The summer before her senior year of high school, Laney Jacobs and her best friend jump from a six-story beachside cliff in an attempt to impress their boyfriends. Laney rose from the water. Her friend did not.

Six years later, when Laney’s troubled mother’s memoir hits the bestseller list airing the family’s destructive secrets, Laney is forced to relive the trauma, this time in the public eye. To escape the scrutiny, she seeks shelter at her estranged grandmother’s seaside inn. But she can’t reconcile the loving woman with the heartless parent in her mother’s book. As she looks for answers, the ex-boyfriend who’d witnessed her darkest days reappears, stirring up both pain and hope.

When her mother's vindictive fans threaten her grandmother's livelihood and the lighthouse Laney has come to love, she turns to the century-old words of a young lighthouse keeper to help her find the courage to move forward. But once truths from the past come to light and old love finds new beginnings, will Laney discover that forgiveness is the only way toward true healing? 

Hope Creek Publishing, June 2024

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

Buy THE WAY BACK at Amazon

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