Review: The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood

The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood

In The Book That Matters Most Ava joins the book club at her local library to meet new people. Her husband left her last year, and she’s having a hard time moving on. Her best friend, Cate, the librarian, has chosen the theme “The Book That Matters Most” for the year’s book club selections. Each member chooses a book that made a lasting impact on their lives. For obvious reasons, Ann Hood had most of the characters choose classic novels (so the reader would be familiar with them), but Ava chooses a rare, out of print children’s book. It’s a book someone gave her as a gift after her younger sister died.

This novel alternates between Ava, her daughter Maggie, her mother Charlotte, and Hank, the police officer on Ava’s sister’s case. Hood has laid the book out month-by-month as Ava reads and discusses each book club selection with her group. Her pick is scheduled for the end of the year. As the story draws to a close, we learn more about Ava’s past, the children’s book she selected, and the details surrounding the day of her sister’s death.

I could not put this book down. The writing style was so compelling, and the suspense was very well done. I enjoyed hopping back and forth between the characters and timelines. The book club discusses and additional characters added to the story without being overdone. The multi-generational characters is this book make it perfect for readers of all ages. I wish I could find more books like this one. I’ll have to check out some of Ann’s other books.

Rating: 4 Stars

The Book That Matters Most
Ann Hood
WW Norton
August 9, 2016

An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets, friendship, and the healing power of literature, by the bestselling author of The Knitting Circle.

Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

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  1. I have read all her fiction books and liked them all except An Italian Wife. I think my favorite is her first book Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine.I wish she’d write a sequel!

    1. Yes, I think you would enjoy it. I was surprised by how much I did. The characters were great and the small amount of suspense really sucked me in. The writing was just so engaging – easy to read and very compelling.

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