by Connie Chappell
Proper Goodbye is a poignant story of love and loss. A mother mysteriously disappears and the family left behind spends years wondering what happened. Resolution comes from an unlikely source.
Abigail Walker is mother to a nine-year old daughter, Beebe. Her husband works in a cemetery. Abigail becomes injured in an accident and becomes addicted to painkillers. Working as a nurse in the nearby hospital, she becomes the subject of a scandal when she is caught stealing drugs. She leaves town, never to be seen again by anyone. Beebe and her father go on with their lives. Beebe becomes a pastor in a church in Kansas, and her father keeps his same job. Due to a complicated situation, Beebe ends up quitting her job and moving to Maryland, where she takes a job as a grief counselor.
Meanwhile, a man named Yates Strand transports a homeless woman named Terri Miller to a town called Larkspur, Michigan. She is dying of AIDS. Yates drops her off at a senior center, where she insists he leave her. Yates has known Terri for many years. He grew up learning many things from her. She saved his father’s life after a car accident. She was a wanderer, but she would end up in his town each summer. But Terri was there for his family during the loss of his mother too. Terri is taken in by the senior center, but dies soon after. Her last wishes are carried out by the man in charge of the center, Vincent Bostick. Eventually, Yates ends up working at the center as well.
The story involves how Terri’s last wishes become important to Beebe and her father and how they deal with this. Yates and Vincent help and so do others who knew Terri. It’s a very emotional story and readers should be prepared for lots of tears. But, it’s also a story of redemption and how people get closure. It’s complicated, but flows very well and is incredibly well-written. It explores the things that deeply motivate people and the way we have of hiding our secrets and burying them under the deepest emotions.
The book is very good and I enjoyed how well the author weaved the plot together by the end. It took a lot of work and it was done extremely well. The characters are all very realistic and have plenty of emotional depth to them, as well as thorough backstories. Dialog and flow of the story are excellent. The writing is top notch.
I give this book a very high rating. It was one of the best books I read all year.