In June, I was thrilled when Jacquelyn Mitchard selected me to be an early reader for No Time to Wave Goodbye, a sequel to The Deep End of the Ocean, Mitchard's bestselling debut novel and Oprah Winfrey's first book club selection, later brought to life on the big screen.
We were also lucky enough to have Jackie stop by What Women Write for an interview with Pamela in July. As promised then, I'm posting an early review of No Time to Wave Goodbye.
I received my copy in July and couldn't wait to jump right in, but decided to revisit Deep End first. It had been nearly 15 years since I read it. I found a copy at my local library and took my time reading, enjoying the second time even more as I explored the story from a writer's perspective.
The level of detail and layering in Deep End is much more noticeable to me now, and the suspense wasn't any less, even knowing how the book ends. I remembered the main plot points, but was surprised at how much my brain (weary from raising three children!) had forgotten. I highly recommend you read it again, too, or read it for the first time.
On the other hand, No Time to Wave Goodbye could probably stand on its own. It's hard for me to say considering my recent re-acquaintance with Beth, Pat, Vincent, Ben/Sam, and Kerry Cappadora.
What I can say, without hesitation, is I was unable to let this new story rest. I couldn't wait to get my hands back on it no matter how I was distracted by the responsibilities of my own life. No Time to Wave Goodbye is a relatively short read, coming in at 240 pages, maybe half the length of Deep End. I've been a slow reader this year, but I polished it off in less than two days after only a few sittings.
Mitchard brings the reader up to speed on the lives of the Cappadoras and various beloved Deep End characters, revisiting their emotional fallout after experiencing the kidnapping and eventual return of a child, while introducing a new supporting cast of other families who lost children through abductions and participated in a documentary filmed by Vincent.
It is especially gratifying to find out how Beth has reinvented her life, how Vincent climbed out of the quagmire that went along with his guilt at losing his younger brother, and how Ben, who still prefers to be called Sam, is also still pulled between the family who lost and found him again and the innocent father created out of his abduction. Mitchard brings the reader along on the Cappadora's continuing journey to make peace with what happened so many years earlier.
If Deep End was suspenseful in a taut, finely drawn way, No Time to Wave Goodbye is a slam to the chest. Once again, Mitchard deals with the subject of child abductions, but this time, pulls the reader alongside the characters in a heart-pounding race against time to save a child. My adrenaline was as elevated as it was last year reading Jackie's most recent release for adults, Still Summer.
I found a twist at the end slightly unsettling, as certain other readers might, but reminded myself that readers and writers bring varied experiences and backgrounds to the table, which affects how we read and write, and Mitchard is no different. This twist, though incidental to the main plot, may bring about some lively discussion for book clubs or other forums, and that isn't a negative thing. It's the rare author who's disappointed when her books create a stir and get readers thinking.
No Time To Wave Goodbye offically goes on sale September 15 and is available for pre-order. That means, if you're so inclined, you have less than a week to get your hands back on Deep End and prepare yourself for another wild ride, compliments of Jackie Mitchard's skillful storytelling.
From the publisher:
New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard captured the heart of a nation with The Deep End of the Ocean, her celebrated debut novel about mother Beth Cappadora, a child kidnapped, a family in crisis.
Now, in No Time to Wave Goodbye, the unforgettable Cappadoras are in peril once again, forced to confront an unimaginable evil.
It has been twenty-two years since Beth Cappadora’s three-year-old son Ben was abducted. By some miracle, he returned nine years later, and the family began to pick up the pieces of their lives. But their peace has always been fragile: Ben returned from the deep end as another child and has never felt entirely at ease with the family he was born into. Now the Cappadora children are grown: Ben is married with a baby girl, Kerry is studying to be an opera singer, and Vincent has emerged from his troubled adolescence as a fledgling filmmaker.
The subject of Vincent’s new documentary, “No Time to Wave Goodbye,” shakes Vincent’s unsuspecting family to the core; it focuses on five families caught in the tortuous web of never knowing the fate of their abducted children. Though Beth tries to stave off the torrent of buried emotions, she is left wondering if she and her family are fated to relive the past forever.
The film earns tremendous acclaim, but just as the Cappadoras are about to celebrate the culmination of Vincent’s artistic success, what Beth fears the most occurs, and the Cappadoras are cast back into the past, revisiting the worst moment of their lives–with only hours to find the truth that can save a life. High in a rugged California mountain range, their rescue becomes a desperate struggle for survival.
No Time to Wave Goodbye is Jacquelyn Mitchard at her best, a spellbinding novel about family loyalty, and love pushed to the limits of endurance.