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Pictures of You
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on December 4, 2017
You never really know anyone else. This story of two women running away from something and it ending in tragedy when their cars collide on a dark foggy night. Great character development, fully rounded out. One of those books you don’t want to put down, not because of action or suspense but because you want to see how it all turns out.
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on August 2, 2012
One foggy day, about three hours from Cape Cod, two women's cars collide on the road. Both appear to be running away from their marriages. April dies in the crash, while Isabelle survives, and is left not only to pick up the pieces of her life in the town she had wanted to escape, but becomes entangled with April's devastated husband, Charlie, and their young son, Sam, who is riddled with guilt about the accident. Charlie can't understand why April wanted to leave, and what she was doing on that road far from home, Sam wants nothing more than to talk to or see his mother one last time, and Isabelle is torn between again wanting to escape and wanting to stay to take care of Charlie and Sam, despite her role in their misery. And as their lives unfold, they realize the impact of every decision, and how sometimes the "best" decision isn't always the right one.

Pictures of You had moments of heartbreaking poignancy and moments when I wanted to shake each one of the characters into action, and both contributed to my enjoyment of the book. No character was drawn to be flawless; at times I sympathized with each of them, and at times I wished someone would just tell them to get a grip. The book definitely exceeded my expectations and surprised me in a number of ways, and that made me happy. And while I am, admittedly, a total sap, it was Caroline Leavitt's well-written story, combined with the emotional power it packs, that kept me reading this book well into the night in order to finish it. Very well done.
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Like capturing the world through the lens of a camera, the author shows us bits and pieces of the characters. We catch a glimpse here, with some shadowing; then we see something illuminated; and finally, when we see the whole, it is transformed. But then again, we see the focus shifting.

In this extraordinary and mesmerizing tale, we first meet the women whose lives intersect tragically on a foggy night on the Cape, three hours from their homes. Coincidentally, the two women have been living in the same town, but like ships passing in the night, haven't connected. Then, out of nowhere, the driver of one car (Isabelle) comes upon another car stopped in the middle of the road, and the impact is unavoidable.

April, the other driver, dies, but her son Sam lives. But the mystery that brought each of these women to that place continues throughout the story, and how Isabelle's "survivor guilt" motivates some of her behavior in the upcoming weeks is the thread that continues to connect these characters.

What happens when Isabelle finally meets Sam and Charlie (April's husband)? Why does Sam feel the need to maintain the connection with Isabelle? How does Isabelle's photography cement the bonds between her and Sam? What effect do these connections have on the three of them? Will the events of one fateful night tie them together forever, or will the circumstances that follow sever those ties inexplicably? And will Charlie finally learn where April was going on that foggy night?

In the final pages, surprising twists saved this story from any kind of predictability, and just when I thought I knew how it would end, I discovered how wrong I was. Throughout Pictures of You, I could almost feel a paranormal influence in some of the events. A nice segue that turned this tale into something unique and almost spiritual. Five stars.
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on October 7, 2015
Two women, one road and how a brief, tragic encounter alters the lives of so many. Meet Isabelle and April, each running away from their current lives by surreptitiously embarking on an adventure that, hopefully, will bring them the happiness they’re looking for. Fatefully, one doesn’t get to her destination. Where was she going and why was her sudden departure such a shock to her husband? How do those who are left behind and weighted with the chore of moving forward, create some semblance of a normal life with what remains? What ensues when unlikely paths cross? How does one reconcile the “if onlys”? Caroline Leavitt’s “Pictures of You” is filled with secrets, poignant moments, regrets, but, most importantly, love and hope. You will be compelled to turn the next page to find the answers to those questions and so many more. And you’ll ask yourself, “What would I do?” Cozy up, grab your favorite hot beverage on a crisp autumn day and immerse yourself in Caroline’s wonderful novel, “Pictures of You”.
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on December 8, 2015
What I liked about the book was the love that was depicted. The first time I read it I was angry with Charlie but the second time I understood. I am discussing this book at my Bookclub in two weeks, I think it will be an interesting discussion.
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on May 4, 2013
The main protagonist, April, a budding photographer, is fed up with her life and expectations and, leaving her home and son behind, attempts to flee to some more promising life. As she drives her escape route she encounters heavy, blinding fog. Though she saw the other car moments before she hit she hasn't time to avoid it. She crashes into the other automobile, stopped, sideways in the middle of the road. The crash killis the other driver, Isabelle, who, as it turns out, is another unhappy wife from her own town also escaping her unhappy marriage. At the moment of the collision she discovers that her son who had hidden in the back seat and scarcely saves him from the flames of the accident. While the accident is not her fault she becomes tortured with guilt because Isabelle was killed. I'm finding it hard to remember all the nuances of the growing relationship April had with Isabelle's husband and son but I know it was a heart-warming denouement. I liked it so well I brought it from the archive so my wife could read it on her Kindle.
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on January 21, 2013
The story line was so humanized to the point that I could relate to how I would feel if I were to kill someone in a traffic accident. Even though it wasn't Isabelle's fault I could relate to her feeling guilty and feeling sorry for the family left behind. I think Isabelle was a positive force for the little boy and father left behind. I could relate to every single character and thought the author portrayed them perfectly. It is one of the books that I will remember for a long time.
The story line is about real people and their lives. I wasn't happy with the ending at first but realized it was the best for everyone. Especially Isabelle who ended up happy with herself and her life. In my opinion this book caught me at the very beginning and I had a hard time putting it down. The book was very well written.
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on February 14, 2011
I had problems with the beginning of the book. I just think there was too much written about a car crash that must have occurred in seconds. If the driver could notice so much and think of so many things, she should have been able to stop the car as it was going less than 30 mph. Also, how many people drive around thinking about what good drivers they are and then don't even know that putting on headlights in a fog decreases visibility?

After the first chapter, I found the book engrossing and the main three characters were well developed. I found it hard to put down. The one thing that annoyed me was how each of these three often ended sentences with something like, "...don't they?" or "...couldn't it?" I think we each have our patterns of speech, but we don't all have the same ones.

I was pleasantly surprised by the ending which I found quite realistic.
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on September 26, 2015
Have you ever left work and the next thing you knew you were pulling into your driveway? They call it road hypnosis. I think life can be like that, too, and this story reinforces it. Every day we make big and little decisions, not realizing where we are going to end up. In this book two women make a decision on the same day that leads their paths to cross with devastating and life-altering results.
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on January 24, 2012
This was a really good story. The characters were well developed and I immediately felt myself forming a bond with Isabelle and being unsure of April--something wasn't "right" with her. I mean that in the sense that the author subtly developed their personalities without giving away the context of the story. Charlie and Sam both came to life for me and I could picture them in my minds eye throughout the book. This was a definite page turner, and the ending was very smooth and very harmonic. I really enjoyed the entire book and Caroline did a great job of emotionally pulling the reader into all facets of this tale of love, loss, and finally peace. I don't want to give write any spoilers so I'll stop now with the suggestion that if you are looking for a really nice read, order this book.
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