Title: The Caretakers
Author: Shauna Nosler
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Until two seconds ago, I planned on giving this book three stars. I definitely liked The Caretakers, but it's what I think of as a domestic, family drama - definitely not my usual fair. But the whole point of taking recommendations from other bloggers, friends, etc is trying new things.
What changed my mind and bumped the book up to four stars is the fact that Shauna Nosler nearly made me cry. That, my friends, is a huge accomplishment and deserves kudos. Well done, Ms. Nosler.
The Caretakers uses the hotbutton topic of abortion and the landmark Roe vs. Wade case that made the practice legal in the US as its framework, but it's not about abortion. Over the course of fifteen years it tells a story about loss, grief and acceptance and finding a way to not only survive ones choices, but truly live with them and find happiness.
The back cover assures the reader that the book is not about right and wrong, and although I did get a pro-life vibe, it was mostly restricted to specific characters and I didn't feel preached at.
The characters - Caroline, Mitch, Jasper and Mabel - are vibrant and distinct. Nosler allows us a glimpse inside each of their heads and succeeds in giving them a distinct voice. While Jasper's journey was extensively fleshed out, I would have liked more from Mabel. I'm glad that she was able to find peace with her decisions, I would have liked to know more, specifically how she feels about the choice she made. I did get the impression that she regretted her choice to get an abortion, but I never really learned why. I also never really learned why she chose to have one in the first place. I think Nosler's story would be richer if she delved into those details of Mabel's experience.
Quite a few truths are left unsaid by the time I arrived at the last page of The Caretakers and for the most part I'm kind of glad they stayed that way. There are some things, especially about long buried secrets, that are better left unsaid. One truth, however, I feel needed to be told. Jasper needed to know that Nathan Comber was not the father of Mabel's child. Jasper didn't need to know who was, but given that Nathan was his father's best friend, I think his reputation deserved to be cleared, even if only one person was maligning it.
The Caretakers is worth a read. It moves quickly and the world Nosler creates - specifically The Country House - is a place I enjoyed spending time.