I’m a huge Jodi Picoult fan. Her books entertain me, haunt me, and take me outside my comfort zone; her every sentence inspires me as a writer. But I always read a new Jodi Picoult too fast, desperate to reach her signature twist, which I know will surprise me, yet make perfect sense.
THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS had a different impact on me (and a different kind of twist). Nine months after losing my mother, this beautiful, unique story about love, fate, and what-if became a balm for my ongoing grief. I read it slowly, relishing every detail about how different cultures interpret death. Many times I stopped reading to share information with my family.
Dawn, the heroine, is a death doula. She helps terminally-ill people and their loved ones prepare for the inevitable. Sounds morbid, right? Wrong, because she works tirelessly toward replacing fear with peace. She’s something of an expert on death.
In her previous career, she was an Egyptologist and fascinated by the Book of Two Ways, an ancient map of the afterlife. On a dig in Egypt, she began a passionate affair with her academic nemesis and arch rival, the sexy Wyatt Armstrong, an English marquess. Life intervened, and she left abruptly for Boston. She never returned: to Wyatt, Egypt, or her passion for both.
Fifteen years later, she’s married to Brian, a professor and a devoted family man. But when Dawn survives a horrific plane crash, her life fractures into the past and the present and two love affairs that eventually intersect. It’s hard to imagine that she could have made a wrong decision with either man, but she has a teen daughter to consider, and her daughter is struggling with her own issues and identity.
And the ending? Perfect, in my opinion. This is definitely a book to reread.