I received a copy of Abby’s Journey by Steena Holmes from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review. I previously read and reviewed the first book in this same series, Saving Abby, and this book serves as the follow up, this time focusing on the life of Abby. This review may contain spoilers for Saving Abby, so be careful if you have not read it yet!
“Twenty-year-old Abigail Turner has only known her mother, Claire—who died shortly after she was born—through letters, videos, postcards, and journals. Abby’s father, Josh, has raised his precious daughter himself, but his overprotectiveness has become stifling. Abby longs to forge out on her own and see the world after a childhood trapped indoors: she suffers from bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which means a case of the sniffles can rapidly escalate into life-threatening pneumonia. But when Abby’s doctor declares her healthy—for now—her grandmother Millie whisks her away to Europe to visit the Christmas markets that her mother cherished and chronicled in her travel journals. Despite her father’s objections, Abby and Millie embark on a journey of discovery in which Abby will learn secrets that force her to reevaluate her image of her mother and come to a more mature understanding of a parent-child bond that transcends death.”
Because I read Saving Abby over 6 months ago, there were bits of the story that I struggled to recall and I found myself going back to the first book to try to remember certain details. At the same time, you don’t necessarily have to read the first book in order to enjoy this one. Abby is a young adult who wants to break free from her father’s overprotectiveness. However, the reader can understand why her father has kept her so sheltered her whole life – she has had a sickly childhood with multiple hospitalizations from bouts of pneumonia. Plus, Josh is still grieving his wife 20 years after her death. It is not hard to understand how Josh feels, when it was so obvious how in love he and Claire were. Their relationship lives on through letters that Claire left, and through these letters and her journals, Claire is a big part of Abby’s life as well.
When Abby is given a clean bill of health, she and her grandmother decide to travel to Europe to see the Christmas markets that Claire loved so much. The description of these places made me want to travel to Europe and see the places myself! Claire retraces some of her mother’s travels and in doing so meets people that knew her mother. She therefore learns more about her mother that she did not know before. The secrets that Claire had kept hidden provide another layer to the story and again allow the reader to understand why Josh did not want Abby to take the trip. Since Abby does uncover the secrets her mother kept, Josh is forced to face his own grief and to connect with his daughter in new ways as well.
It was lovely to visit with this set of characters again and it seems likely that Steena Holmes will continue this series, as there was much left unexplored by the end of this book. I look forward to the next installment!
What have you been reading lately?