Title: Another Life
Author: Kristin Hannah
Published: June 27th 2023
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Rating: 3.5 stars
Angie DeSaria has spent years of her life trying to have a child. Now, her marriage has crumbled under the strain. Adrift and alone, she returns to her childhood home, a small coastal town in the Pacific Northwest, to help try and rescue the beloved, failing family business.
Lauren Ribido is a senior in high school. She dreams of an Ivy League education, escaping her hometown and her troubled mother.
When Angie hires Lauren to work at the restaurant, they form an immediate bond, which deepens when Lauren’s mother abruptly leaves town and Angie offers her a place to stay. But nothing could have prepared Angie for the far-reaching repercussions of this act of kindness. Together, these two women – one who longs for a child and the other who longs for a mother’s love – will be tested in ways that neither could have imagined.
Another Life is a powerful, moving and hopeful story of the life-changing impact of the connections we form, by the international number one bestselling author Kristin Hannah.
*Published in the US as The Things We Do for Love
In 2004 master storyteller Kristin Hannah published The Things We Do For Love. Almost two decades after its first publication, The Things We Do For Love has received a fresh cover and title makeover. Released this year by Pan Macmillan in Australia as Another Life, this classic Kristin Hannah piece delves into themes of family, high school love, belonging, sacrifice, self-belief, abandonment, motherhood, parenting and difficult life choices. It is a tender-hearted read from much loved author Kristin Hannah.
Another Life follows keynote character Angie DeSaria. Despite achieving success in many areas of her life, Angie has never been able to be a mother. This longing has taken its toll on Angie and as a result Angie’s marriage eventually shatters under the pressure of trying for a child. Following the demise of her marriage, Angie moves back to her childhood home, where she takes up a position with her sisters at their family’s restaurant. As Angie settles back into life in her hometown and repairs her broken heart, two people will enter her life, changing it for the better. A teenager named Lauren is a new face in Angie’s life and her impact will be significant for years to come. This struggling teenager finds solace and comfort in Angie’s gentle ways. The bond Lauren and Angie share helps them through one of the toughest times in both of their lives, teaching them both about the importance of belonging.
Kristin Hannah has an impressive backlist that now sits at over twenty published books. I have read quite a few of Hannah’s novels, mostly the recent titles. I made grand plans some years ago to get through Hannah’s back catalogue, but it hasn’t happened yet. I still aim to do this at some stage in the future. In the meantime I was excited to explore this older release that has received some new cover and title treatment. Another Life was a gentle and easy read that helped me get through a hard-working week when all I needed was the comfort of an undemanding story.
Another Life introduces two definitive characters. Angie is a woman who seems to have it all thanks to her easy upbringing, education, marriage and home life. But we soon see how the toll of trying for a baby unsuccessfully robs Angie of her marriage. Angie is in rebuilding mode when the narrative really kicks in. We watch on as she deals with a return to her old home and how as she slots back in to life with her sisters at their restaurant. I enjoyed the scenes with Angie and her family, they were sweet and heartwarming. I also felt sorry for Angie as she dealt with a number of blows to her marriage and her motherhood dreams. I really did back Angie all the way and I hoped that she would find peace with her new life, even if that meant remaining childless. In Lauren, the teen character in this tale, we meet a young woman on the cusp of adulthood who has had a raw deal in life. I despised Lauren’s mother and I felt awful that someone could be brought up in such a sad home environment and still succeed. Another Life follows Lauren’s personal battle to overcome her tough upbringing and another fateful life decision. I appreciated the unlikely connection that developed between Angie and Lauren, it was genuine. The secondary characters support Hannah’s tale well and each add value worth to this compassionate story. Hannah crosses into themes of divorce, second chance love, infertility, poverty and alcoholism in Another Life.
I think I mostly connected to Another Life and the cast, but I did feel as though it was a little out of touch with the direction of society today. I easily picked up that this was a book published almost two decades ago, as a few of the situations and responses presented seemed a little backward and not forward thinking. It was interesting to see where Kristin Hannah sat as a writer some twenty years ago as I feel her craft has definitely evolved into something much grander of late than this particular title. However, Another Life offered me some essential down time in an otherwise hectic week.
Another Life by Kristin Hannah was published on 27th June 2023 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Another Life, Kristin Hannah, visit here.
*Thanks extended to Pan Macmillan for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.