- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (May 29, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 0316097691
- Source: Publisher
Kathleen Lynch is a widow working as an archivist in a library. She lost her husband early in life, her daughter was a mere toddler. Years later, she also loses her daughter, who runs away as a young teen. Despite the time that has passed, Kathleen is full of guilt believing that she could have somehow prevented her daughter’s disappearance.
One day at work, a young girl comes into the library where Kathleen works. It’s the middle of the school day, yet the girl, thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher, claims it’s an early release day. She states she’s working on completing a project her father started: tracing her family’s roots. Kathleen is immediately taken by Natalie’s resemblance to her own daughter. The first visit is a brief one, Natalie leaves before getting much information. Before she leaves, Kathleen notices a haunting text on Natalie’s phone: “WE KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT U NATALIE.” Kathleen, having some unexplained need to protect Natalie, gives her a card with her contact information in the case of an emergency.
The reader is provided a bit more detail about Natalie. Her parents are separated, her mother spending most of her time sleeping, aided by pills. Her father, completely ignorant of the situation with her mother, has started his own new life. But worst of all, Natalie is being tortured by vicious cyber-bullying at the hands of her former best friend.
In her basement, searching for information on her family’s history and ultimately hoping to put an end to the rumors being spread by the bullies at her school, Natalie uncovers a dusty old diary. Unable to decipher the old text herself, she returns to the library and seeks the aid of Kathleen. Kathleen’s coworker, Neil, is able to decipher a great deal of the text, and the two lose themselves in the life of Bridget, an Irish immigrant from the 1920s suffering from her own loss. Bridget’s story brings Kathleen and Natalie closer, providing both of them the hope they each so desperately need.
Moore has so eloquently brought together the lives of three different women who, despite being at different points in their life, still feel a similar pain. I became so invested in the stories of these three women that I couldn’t bear to tear myself away from this book. Their stories are captivating, I wanted so much more for each of them. Poor Kathleen suffers from a pain decades old. Natalie, already dealing with a great deal of turmoil at home, can’t face school without being tormented. Even outside of school she’s not safe. And poor, young, naive Bridget. Coming from poverty in Ireland, working for a wealthy family caring for their young son, her innocence is taken from her.
So Far Away is a book that without a doubt will be popping up on reading group lists, for it contains a wealth of topics and themes to discuss, including love, loss, motherhood, friendship and more. Highly recommended.
Meg Mitchell Moore is the author of The Arrivals (now out in paperback!) and the forthcoming So Far Away. She worked for several years as a journalist. Her work has been published in Yankee, Continental, Women’s Health, Advertising Age and many other business and consumer magazines. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their three children.