Also by this author: Good Luck with That, Always the Last to Know
Published by BERKLEY on June 8, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Kristan Higgins’ new novel Pack Up the Moon is a beautiful story about love, loss, and grief, and it’s about how to pick up the pieces of your life and start again when the love of your life is taken away way too soon.
The story follows Joshua and Lauren Park, a newly married couple who are just perfect for each other and madly in love. Their happy lives come crashing down around them, however, when Lauren is unexpectedly and tragically diagnosed with a terminal illness and is told she probably only has 3-5 years to live.
What I loved most about this book is how Higgins chooses to unfold the story of Joshua and Lauren. Within the first few pages of the book, Lauren dies and we are presented with Joshua, the grieving widow. It is actually after Lauren’s death that we really get to know her because Lauren has spent many of her final months living writing letters for Joshua that he is to be given in the months after her death. Her thought in doing that is that it will help him better cope with her death and start to live his life again. She also tried to process her own life ending so prematurely by writing letters to her dead father. She talks to him about her fears, about how sad she is that she’ll be leaving Joshua alone and that they never had children, etc. She also communicates her hope that she will be reunited with her father in the afterlife. Each chapter of the novel presents us with either a letter from Lauren to Joshua or one from Lauren to her dad.
I fell in love with both Lauren and Joshua as I read these letters and then read the flashbacks that accompanied so many of them. Lauren is such a beautiful soul and it’s easy to see why Joshua loved her so much and is so devastated by her loss. I loved the glimpses of their life together that the flashbacks provided, and I especially loved Lauren’s letters to Joshua, which were actually quite funny at times and gave him very explicit instructions that she fully expected him to follow, from simple things like go to the grocery store to more challenging tasks like ask a woman out on a date, and because he loved her so much, of course he followed them to the letter.
Pack Up the Moon broke my heart into a million pieces, but at the same time, it gave me hope that there is a way to move forward after tragedy. Keep your tissues handy because this is a story that will make you cry your eyes out, but it will also surprise you with some humorous moments and, most importantly, it will leave you with a full heart because there’s just so much love in the story.