Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Whatever It Takes

Whatever It Takes by Jessica Pack
Kensington: 5/28/19
eBook review copy; 256 pages
ISBN-13: 9781496718174

Whatever It Takes by Jessica Pack is a recommended story about relationships, a health crisis, lies, and seeking answers.

Sienna Chadwick, 25, is estranged from her husband, Tyson, and living on the family ranch with her father, Mark, when she finds a lump in her breast and is facing a cancer diagnosis. She refuses to tell anyone about it. She does question her father about her mother's cancer. Sienna has always been told that her mother died from breast cancer when she was a toddler. Her father, Mark, however, is evasive about the details of her mother's death and Sienna is wondering why there are all these gaps in her knowledge of her mom. She doesn't want to push her father, who is recovering from his prostate cancer, but clearly there should be more information about her. All she has is the stories her dad tells and the letters that were supposedly written by her mother for Mark to give to their daughter on certain big moments and times of Sienna's life. Tyson, who is living in London, learns about her cancer and returns to Wyoming to help. 

The story is mostly through Sienna's voice, with a few chapters from Mark, her father, and her grandmother's point-of-view. Some of the letters that are supposed to be from Sienna's mother are interspersed between chapters. Whatever It Takes is an okay way to pass some time but is nothing special. The problem is it is poorly plotted/imagined. The narrative starts out with an immature young woman facing a health crisis via denial until she is forced to deal with it. She refuses to do the mature thing and tell people about it. Hiding it seems nonsensical and, quite frankly, a bit ridiculous. Sienna is not a very appealing young woman and the constant introspection included after or before all the dialogue, does not make her any more appealing. Then the whole story morphs into a mystery about who was Sienna's mother. I'm sure the breast cancer was a way to have Sienna ask about her mother's cancer in the plot, but to be realistic, she could/should have asked about it anyway for a family medical history.

I'm recommending the novel because once it commits to being a mystery, it is more interesting. The twisty ending helped.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Kensington.

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