by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult has done it again. This book is amazing! At its core, when you strip away all the bells and whistles, it’s the story of a woman struggling to decide between two different love interests, trying to decide if the one that got away is the one that she should be with. But what I love is that the package surrounding that core story is pretty extraordinary.

The protagonist is a former Egyptologist — think archaeologist and anthropologist specializing in Egypt. A huge portion of the book takes place in Egypt and the level of research that went into that setting, history, archaeological digs, and the protagonist’s profession is astounding. I found it fascinating and while others may think it’s way too much information, I enjoyed it immensely and it really made the book more enjoyable for me.

The protagonist’s present career is a death doula — think end-of-life assistant and guide. There is a lot of coverage, discussion, and philosophical musings about death. But I didn’t find it morbid. I found it interesting and thought-provoking and somewhat even hopeful.

The romantic parts of the book are engaging, the mother-daughter relationship is interesting, and the different settings add a lot. And the writing is so so good. The book is long. Probably too long for some readers. But I found it fast-paced and gripping so it flew by. The structure is quite complex, but I didn’t find it confusing at all. I thought it added to the intriguing nature of the book.

I think this is one that will probably keep the wheels of my brain turning for a while after I finished it.