A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella got to me in unexpected ways. The writing is simple yet effective, and I felt my heart strings being pulled every which way. Reading the front cover blurb, one would expect a story that is sad and depressing—but it wasn’t that at all. Yes, there are poignant descriptions of the grief that each of the three main characters are experiencing, but they are balanced against moments of tender kindnesses.
Chuck, Ella and Kirsten have all experienced traumatic losses. Each character continues to soldier on, coping in their own variations of damage control. Chuck is trying to decide whether to go to Hilton Head again this winter, a spot where he spent many gloriously happy years with his now-deceased spouse, Cat. Ella is trying to find a way to live without her young daughter who has been snatched by Ella’s ex-husband, Kyle. And Kirsten is struggling to accept how her beloved father could be gunned down in such a random act of violence.
Unbeknownst to them, each of these characters is linked in some way to the others and it is through this linkage that true transformation begins to occur. Through the clouds of their grief, each of them reaches into their hearts and discovers healing in their shared humanity.