Hannah’s — and any mother’s — worst nightmare comes true when her vivacious 12-year-old daughter, Emily, is hit by a car while riding her bike. When Hannah learns her daughter will not survive once taken off life support, she must make the heart-wrenching decision to donate Emily’s organs in order to save the lives of several ill children.
Olivia’s only saving grace in her abusive marriage is her daughter, Maddie, who is suffering from a form of hepatitis and needs a new liver. Their prayers are answered when one becomes available and Maddie begins to heal.
One year later, Hannah has moved out of the house she shared with Emily and has poured her heart and soul into opening a second beauty salon with her business partner, Sophie. When Olivia and Maddie walk into her salon to get Maddie a cut and color, the three hit it off immediately. But while chatting with Maddie, Hannah learns she had a liver transplant, and though she suspects Maddie received Emily’s liver, she keeps her suspicion to herself.
Safe With Me rotates between Hannah and Olivia in third person and Maddie in first person, which is an interesting shift in perspective. Maddie is smart and funny but spends too much time online due to her illness, Olivia is stuck in a marriage she is afraid to leave, and Hannah uses the renovation of her salon as an excuse to avoid dealing with her grief. But as the 3 women get to know each other the tie between them helps each one to move on with their lives.
This is my second book by Amy Hatvany (see links at the end of the post to mine and Jennifer’s reviews of her other novels) and she’s quickly become one of my favorite authors, reminiscent of Kristin Hannah and Diane Chamberlain. Her characters and situations are heartbreakingly real and she writes beautifully with realistic dialog.
Notes on the audiobook: I enjoyed all three narrators, and am always impressed when an adult is able to realistically portray a child, in this case, teenage Maddie. The difference voices for each main character works well and makes it easier to distinguish between the three.
You can hear a sample at Simon and Schuster’s audio page.