REVIEW: IN THE MIRROR, BY KAIRA ROUDA

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Jennifer Wells Benson is spending her last months of life in a treatment facility called Shady Valley. She has been through almost every cancer treatment available, plus some clinical trials…and while nobody is saying there is no hope, she is planning a big get-together to celebrate her life.

And she is looking back on the life she had. Like in a rear-view mirror.

At home are her beloved family, including her husband Henry, her three-year-old son Hank, and 18-month-old Hannah, who was just an infant when she was diagnosed.

Jennifer co-owns a store named Clothes the Loop, which I recognized from another book by the author, Here, Home, Hope. There were other characters from that story, like Kelly, who stages homes, and the annoying Rachel White.

From Jennifer’s past comes newly divorced Alexander Caldwell Thomas. He had been her boyfriend and first love, but she is sure she chose the right man when she married Henry. So why is Alex pursuing her? What motivates him? And why does he turn violent suddenly?

Jennifer’s self-absorbed sister Julie also seems to be spending a lot of time with Alex. What, exactly, is going on?

I loved meeting Ralph, another patient in the facility. He and Jennifer support each other and make their days of waiting seem more fulfilling.

In the Mirror is one of those stories that is sad, but beneath the sadness lies a ray of hope. Will the final clinical trial be the miracle Jennifer needs? Will going home, finally, be just what must happen in order for her life to be complete? As much as I wanted to know what lay ahead for her, I was also eager for the story to end. Too much sadness? In some ways, I thought Jennifer seemed a little too focused on herself, even though she had every reason to be. 3.5 stars.

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