May 1, 2011

The Final Note, by Kevin Alan Milne

The Final Note is out May 11. I hope you'll read the rest of my review, but if you're a skimmer like me, I'll start with this: Buy it. Rent it. Borrow it. Do whatever it is you do when you want to read a book. Because you'll want to read this one.

This is one of those stories where I really don't want to give away too much (unlike Little Bee!). I want you to let it unfold for you in its own special way.

Plot: We meet Ethan Bright as he is dealing with his wife's car accident. As the story unfolds, the reader learns their love story -- how they met and fell in love, the trials they faced as a young married couple, and the present day crisis which threatens to bring Ethan to his own demise.

You could say that their story is no different from any of our own. In fact, I found myself even more drawn to this story because I saw similarities in my own love story.

About a month ago, my long-time boyfriend and I got engaged. As we plan our wedding, I am looking forward to the years long past that day. Like Ethan and Anna, he is my best friend. In many ways, he reminds me of Ethan. Ethan's family dynamic growing up and his current work ethic are very similar to my fiancee.

Ethan starts out with big dreams, but as he and Anna grow older, he becomes consumed with work, sacrificing time with his family, much to Anna's annoyance. They face the age-old question of whether money equals happiness.

I often think about this in relation to my own life. There's a delicate balance between providing for one's family and enjoying one's family. And in an instant, it can all be taken away. I think it's a balance we can all relate to and what makes this book feel so close to home and so readable.

Characters: I'm a sucker for supporting characters. Of course I loved the complexity of Ethan and the kindness of Anna. But, my favorite character is Ethan's grandfather. He is the conscious of the novel, revealing it's inner message in a most special and heart-wrenching way.

Structure: Ethan is a lover of music, which explains part of the book's title, which is also a reference to the "true love notes" that Anna writes to Ethan throughout their marriage. As a nod to Ethan, the book is structured like a song, with four "verses" and a prelude and postlude. The verses mirrored the major changes in Ethan's life, while the chapters within them kept the book moving.

I can't remember the last time I read a book in one sitting, much less a book that clocked in at over 350 pages. But this book? Had me curled up for an entire Sunday afternoon, and by the end, had me shedding a couple tears. If you love a good story, well rounded characters, and a strong, relatable message, you should pick up The Final Note. 5 stars.

While I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, my comments are all my own.


  1. This one just arrived in my mailbox. I'm glad to know it's so good! I shall set aside some time and find a handkerchief for when I read it. It sounds like I'll need it.
    2 Kids and Tired Books


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