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JACK’S GIFT by Dorine Andrews

A compelling, intimate exploration of love and family…

Set in the WWII era and afterwards, Andrews’s emotionally intense tale traverses topics of love, race, and class, sweeping the reader along. When Amahli fell in love with four years her junior Jack Jackson, she had no idea her life was going to change forever. When Jack’s B-17 bomber mysteriously crashes into a wintry sea, leaving him dead, Amahli is left single, pregnant, and grieving. Trying to move forward, she throws herself into her daughter’s upbringing and her job. Meanwhile, Jack’s family is struggling with their own grief. It is up to Amahli to muster the strength and connect with Jack’s parents and bring the two families together. Andrews compassionately draws memorable characters and expertly weaves together their stories while imbuing the plot with a sense of urgency. Writing with an assured hand, she spends equal time in all of her characters’ heads, but it’s Amahli who shines through and through. Andrews skillfully evokes the creases and contradictions in her character: independent yet self-doubting; vulnerable and yet strong and resolute and unconventional. Her relationship with her parents is rooted in reality. Andrews positions an extremely likable supporting cast, particularly the sharp and yet sensitive BJ, who is more than willing to embrace his sexual identity and the steadfast, charming Thomas, who always takes things in stride no matter the circumstances. Andy remains interesting throughout, and his underlying chemistry with Amahli is endearing. Though Amita’s backstory gets a short stint in the narrative, it leaves an impression nonetheless. Watching her overcome the society’s disdain and stand tall in the face of difficulties while wrestling with her own guilt and shame is nothing short of inspiring. Over half the novel happens in England. Andrews beautifully brings the English tradition, with prevalent conventions and the culture of etiquettes and formalities. While the novel builds toward its heartfelt finale, it adeptly explores themes of class, race, and gender discrimination, LGBTQ issues and self-esteem, acceptance, understanding, pain, grief, mortality, self-discovery, resilience, familial relationships, and enduring friendships. Few writers are as deeply engaged as Andrews in how our personalities are shaped by our past circumstances and how grief, though leaves a hole in one’s heart, makes one stronger eventually. This poignant story of love, relationship, family ties, and how the most tragic circumstances can yield unexpectedly rewarding results is both convincing and deeply moving.

Jack’s Gift

By Dorine Andrews

Pub date October 26, 2021

ISBN 979-8692053817

Price $14.99 (USD) Paperback, $4.99 Kindle edition

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