The most recent book I listened to was What Matters Most, by Luanne Rice. It’s a romantic story about two different couples. One couple, Bernie and Tom, have been in each other’s lives since they were kids. Tom is in love with Bernie, and Bernie…well Bernie is a nun, and Tom is the groundskeeper at the Catholic school where she is the Mother Superior. Before she became a nun, they were a couple, and they had a son, which they gave up for adoption.
The other couple are James and Kathleen, two kids that grew up since they were only a few weeks old, in an orphanage together. They were separated at 13, when Kathleen’s real parents came back to claim her. It tore James apart, and he’s spent his whole life searching for her. Fast forward ten years, and James and Kathleen are now 23, which is when the story really starts.
The book is a continuation from Rice’s other book, Blue Moon, but you don’t need to have read it to read this one. From the reviews I read online, Blue Moon is far slower than What Matters Most, and not worth the read. Rice likes to repeat herself, and you get the whole synopsis of the first book anyways, so I say save your eyes and just go for What Matters Most. Ha-kind of a pun wasn’t that? 😉
Now, these couples are connected somehow, which you can probably guess. If not, *SPOILER ALERT*. James’ parents are none other than Sister Bernie and Tom, which you find out pretty early on in the story.
The whole story is basically the search James goes through to try to find Kathleen, but also it is about Bernie and Tom, their life, and how they’ve dealt with leaving their son at the orphanage, and the love that they’ve bottled up.
What I didn’t like about this book:
For starters, I didn’t like that I listened to it on CD. The book moves fairly slowly in parts, where the author, Rice, over describes the scenery, and secondary characters to the point of making me want to scream. I think that she’s a beautiful writer, and I did get wrapped up in the story, but she has a tendency to droll on, and torture the reader, who really just wants to know what is going to happen next.
That said, the other issue I had was how she portrays the women in this story. The men are passionate, romantic, and utterly faithful. The women are weak, selfish, and foolish. I won’t tell you what happens with Kathleen, because it will ruin the story, but you just want to slap her! She has so little self respect or faith in life it’s depressing. Bernie strings Tom along and has so little regard for his feelings, knowing how in love with her he is, and insisting that he stay in her life, even though he can’t have her. Talk about torture!
I won’t spoil the ending, but I thought the last few chapters were pointless. It was one of those books that needed to just end at a specific point, but it didn’t. It was almost like she needed to get a page count number or something. Still, I think she’s a talented writer, but the dialogue needs work. If you don’t like sap, save your time and don’t read this book. Or at the very least, get the book and skip the audio CD. You’ll thank me for it!