Shelby and Helene are two good girls, high school seniors and life-long friends. Tragedy strikes one winter evening, when a car accident leaves Helene in a coma and Shelby, who was driving, in a state of irreversible guilt. Miracles seem to happen for those who visit Helene, while Shelby suffers a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized for three months.
These events occur at the beginning of Faithful by Alice Hoffman, a long-time successful author. This page-turning book goes on to show Shelby gradually going on with her life, often reluctantly and coincidentally. What allows her to begin to move forward: people she meets and pets and family, all leading to eventual acceptance.
I liked Shelby's growing relationship with her mother; liked her friendship with co-worker Maravelle and Maravelle's three children; liked how she became a "rescuer" of others, often in spite of herself.
I thought all characters, a wide variety of them, were well-developed, making Shelby's gradual dependence on others believable. Some coincidences occurred, but I felt comfortable with them. And, the ending was positive and hopeful, but not sappy.
I hadn't read a Alice Hoffman book for awhile, because I remember that she was known for magical realism, something I'm not fond of. In Faithful, some incidents may or may not be magical, but I was content with their inclusion.
This book would provide lots for a group to discuss, about the possibility for change and the value of people in our lives----and about who was "faithful" and the role faith plays in our lives.