Mara has Huntington's. She also has a supportive husband and a beautiful adoptive daughter, but Mara doesn't want to be a burden. When her symptoms become more debilitating than she can stand, she decides to take her own life. The date is her birthday, five days away.
Scott has been the foster parent for a young boy, the brother of one of his students, for a year while the boy's mother is in jail. He has grown to love the boy. His wife Laure also loves the boy, but she's expecting their first child and is willing to have the boy go back to his mother. Scott has five days to say goodbye, and he's distraught.
This is a very emotional book filled with love, sacrifice, and pain. The main characters try to get as much from the five days as possible. However, for me, the book had some flaws that made it difficult to read. Mara's sections were often backstory. While this fleshes out Mara's character, it distracts from the tension of the last five days.
Scott is a less well developed character and while his situation is challenging, it doesn't compare to Mara's. I found it believable that a foster parent could become very attached to a child, but Scott's reaction seemed over the top. The boy might be returning to a bad situation, but he wasn't going to die, and it seemed to me that there were alternatives to explore that would give the story a happy ending, or at least a sense of realistic closure.
This is a hard book to recommend. The subject matter, particularly Mara's, is wrenching, and the story moves slowly at times. If you want to savor a novel, you'll enjoy this. The writing is good, but be prepared forthe slow pace.
I reviewed this book for Net Galley.