The Possible World

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

The Possible World is a rollercoaster of emotions! Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah!
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆
I really enjoy stories which make me think outside my usual life, and which have a non-standard plot, and I love them especially much, if they are well written. This book ticked ALL those boxes.

Whilst I think that more or less everything that happens in the book is signposted early on, that is not really the point of the book, in my opinion. It is the emotions which are original on every page, and from each of the narrators. The attention to detail about the minutiae of life that make up a whole; the intricate melding of time and events to create three (or really four) people who will stick in your mind, is most engaging.

For me, one of the most interesting things was that I kept thinking they were in Ireland, or England, and not the USA. It was so like what I would expect it to have been in either country – and made me think that the similarities then were probably greater than now. The storm scene was particularly vivid and cruel. Whereas the modern-day ER actually gave relief from the sadness, which was a weird realisation.

At the risk of giving anything away, my advice is grab a copy of this well written, cleverly crafted book and enjoy. I think it starts slowly, but it builds up speed and has a satisfying way of making you read 'just one more chapter' until you reach the very end!
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3.75 stars! The premise for this story is so good, not sure why I didn't love it more? Told from 3 points of view:  6 year old Ben (Leo) who was the lone survivor of a horrific murder, Lucy - the ER doctor working when Ben arrives and who is going thru some person issues of her own and 100 year old Clare - who has finally decided to share her life story with her roommate in the Nursing home. 
I really enjoyed Clare's story the most, the others fell a bit flat at times for me. I also felt the ending was sort of rushed and hoped for more from the meeting between Ben/Leo and Clare. Over all a good read though!
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The Possible World will pull you along by your heartstrings. With perfectly paced changes in narration, we spend a fulfilling time with Clare, Lucy, Ben, and Leo.  The Possible World is grounded and stable, not wanting you to put it down, despite the fact that the storyline is nonlinear and secrets and characters' stories are revealed slowly and carefully.

There's so much thoughtfulness in this book, and with the theme shining brightly as hope and perseverance, that thoughtfulness keeps anything from becoming overdone or too sticky sweet.  The humor and subtle understanding of her characters, and humans in general, leads me to believe there are so excellent books to come from Liese O'Halloran Schwarz in the future.  I enjoyed this so thoroughly, from beginning to end.
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In Liese O’Halloran Schwarz’s The Possible World four storylines converge in a beautiful swan song that leave you not wanting to part from these marvelous characters. 

The novel begins when Ben, a six-year-old boy with anxiety, that experiences the murder of his mother and friends while at one of their birthday parties. Common for children who experience this type of trauma,  he diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. Adopting the personality of Leo who hasn’t experienced such a tragedy. 

We are then introduced to Lucy, an Emergency Room nurse who treats Ben. She’s recently gone through a separation. It’s now, in this low of her life, that she realizes that “medicine will take everything you give, and some days you will give it everything. . . no matter how much you love it, medicine will not love you back.” 

The third character we encounter in this beautiful story is Clare. We first meet Clare as a resident of Oak Haven who is content with living out her days in solitude. When she realizes that all of the people’s memory she’s met in her life will die with her. She begins to have the ex-reporter who just moved in record her life story. We follow Clare through the depression era and witness a moment in her life that brings Clare life-changing tragedy. She recovers and is foster for Leo, a young boy growing up at St. Williams School, a strict catholic school. 

That brings us to Leo, a bit of a rebel, he’s taken into Clare’s care where he becomes a young man who goes off to war. While Clare isn’t his mother, the bond they soon share is symbiotic of mother and child. 

This novel reminds us of how precious life is, how we should cherish each moment, and how we are all in charge of our own destiny. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for providing my an Advanced Reader’s Edition. Thank you Liese O’Halloran Schwarz for creating a beautiful story that has earned a prominent place on my bookshelf.
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The Possible World is a beautifully written character-driven novel told from three points of view: Lucy, a doctor in her last year of residency who works in the ER; Ben, a 6-year old boy who goes to a birthday party and becomes the sole surviver at the scene of multiple murders and is brought to the ER; and Clare, a 100-year-old woman in a nursing home who decides to tell her story.

Lucy's marriage is at the breaking point due to her impossibly long hours. She finds herself unable to get Ben out of her mind even after he has been transferred to the Psychiatric Ward. The police want information from Ben about the crime scene, but he has lost all memory of it. In fact, he insists on being called "Leo". Hypnosis to help him regain his memory finds him telling Leo's story rather than his own. Clare's story, which spans from before the Great Depression to current day, never thought her story would be of interest to anyone. But when she decides to finally have a friend record it, connections are found to both Leo/Ben and thus to Lucy.

Schwartz does an excellent job of transitioning between the points of view. All three of the main characters are very real, and this reader was interested in every one of them. Add to that an intriguing story line and this becomes a book that is hard to put down.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for allowing me to read an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A lovely book in which Lucy, a physician, and Ben, a young boy, help to tell Clare's story.  I'll admit to being. tad confused for a bit as to where this was going but I was so taken by the characters and the map of the tale became clear. Lucy care for Ben when he is brought into the emergency room after his mother and friends are murdered.  He insists, however, that his name is Leo and he's seeking Clare.  At the same time, you meet Clare, a woman who leaves her husband and loses her son in a horrible storm and journey with her as she moves into a small farmhouse alone, until she meets Leo.  Wonderful language, terrific details (Lucy in the ER is great, as is Clare in her garden), and a terrific story.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  This is one I'm recommending to everyone.
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Strange and violent things are happening in a small corner of the world around Providence, Rhode Island in Liese O’Halloran Schwarz’s The Possible World. The strangeness and the violence happen immediately. There’s a multiple murder. There’s a boy who stops answering to his own name and insisting on another. There’s an old woman in a nursing home with a mysterious past. Fortunately, all this strangeness and violent leads up to a perfect moment at the end of the book.

After the chaos of the opening chapters, The Possible World settles into three different narrative threads. The boy Ben, who wants people to call him Leo, is brought in to the emergency room to check for physical injuries after being the sole survivor of a multiple murder before being sent to the psychiatric ward. At the emergency room, he meets Dr. Lucy Cole, who is the consummate doctor with a crumbling marriage. Her husband doesn’t understand what it’s like to be married to a doctor. Meanwhile, Clare is about to celebrate her 100th birthday at a nursing home. In their little town, the oldest person gets a special award and it’s down to Clare and another woman. The problem is that no one can find proof of Clare’s birth…or her life before she arrived at the nursing home.

Leo (Ben) and Clare slowly tell their stories, revealing an unbelievable connection that I couldn’t have predicted from the outset. Leo and Lucy bond, both of them misunderstood by people who are supposed to stand by them. Leo is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and, because the psychiatrists aren’t making a lot of progress with him, he is about to turfed out to the foster system. His plight and his sadness make Lucy want to care for him beyond her remit as an ER doctor. As I learned more about Clare’s past and her connection to Leo, I saw a theme of ad hoc parenting and care-taking develop. In this book, family are the people you find when the biological family doesn’t work for a variety of reasons.

Some readers may be irritated by the ending, which relies on the perfect alignment of all the plots. I liked it. For me, the ending was a brilliant resolution of Leo and Clare’s story. Surprisingly for a book that starts with a gruesome multiple murder, this book ends on a bright note of hope. I also really liked the characters. Unlike some books with multiple narrators, I liked all of the protagonists. There weren’t any sections that dragged or that bored me. The Possible World was a weirdly charming book.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration. It will be released 26 June 2018.
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Wow. What a unique and engaging story. What starts as a tragic murder mystery develops into so much more. Vivid characters you fall in love with. I don’t want to reveal too much, just read this one! You won’t regret it!
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This was an extremely well written book which I enjoyed immensely.  The characters were realistic and endearing.  Each of their stories, which were delivered individually and in a back and forth time line, were heart-rending and kept me engrossed in the book from start to finish.  Without reservation I strongly recommend this book.
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I absolutely LOVED this book!!!! The cover of the book caught my eye and the story ended being amazing. It was beautifully written. This is one of those books that I find myself randomly thinking about, especially while driving home from work. The characters and their story just stuck with me. I loved everything about it- the story, characters and writing style. The characters just all came together, they ended up being connected even though Ben, Lucy and Clare didn't initially know each other. 

Lucy is an ER doctor. She meets Ben when when he is brought into the ER covered in blood. He was the lone survivor of a horrific birthday party massacre. He tells the doctors his name is Leo and wants to find Clare. Under hypnosis, Ben tells Leo's story. Clare is living in a nursing home and is believed to be 100 years old. She ends up making friends with another resident, Gloria. She eventually tells Gloria her story. 

I may have cried a few times, definitely at the end. I fell in love with the characters especially Clare. Her story was heartbreaking. I liked how it alternated between Clare, Ben/Leo and Lucy. I feel like I got to know the characters. Even when the book ended I wanted to keep reading about their lives. Leo's mom was unbelievable. She didn't seem to have any emotion when she received the telegram, unlike Clare. Clare loved and took care of Leo just like Lucy will for Ben. 

I definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more by the author. It was one of my favorite books that I read this year!!!

Thanks to NetGalley, Scribner and the author, Liese O'Halloran Schwarz, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
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THE POSSIBLE WORLD was a bit of a slow start for me, but I loved how the characters' lives converged. Some of the ER scenes with Lucy felt a bit drawn out/too long, perhaps because I don't especially enjoy reading about gruesome injuries. Clare's sections were my favorite. I just loved how the author wove the story of her life and the various choices she made. The writing was strong and I especially appreciated the uplifting theme.
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This book is good, and I mean really good. Reminiscent of authors Jodi Picoult and Kate Morton, Schwarz is able to pull together different time periods, characters, and plot lines, weave them into a panoramic view, and then pull it all together in the end. First the characters: Lucy, an ER doc, struggling with her marriage, the crazy hours, and the emotional turmoil of incoming patients; Clare, an elderly patient in assisted living, looking back at her Depression-era childhood and the direction life took her; Leo, a young boy, given away by his mother, and in need of a home where he is loved; and Ben, a young boy, traumatized after a horrific murder scene, and scared speechless. Somehow, Schwarz pulls these disparate people together, creating a book one cannot put down, and reminding us of the power of love, the pull of our past (in every way), and the ways strong women can choose to direct their lives. In other words, Schwarz is a very talented storyteller.
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Liese O'Halloran Schwarz describes the interior life, the struggles of loss, pain, and recovery of characters of different ages in different time spaces.
The drama of the plot comes immediately when there is a mass murder at the child's birthday party.  Ben is the only survivor, his mother was one of the adults killed.  Ben meets an E.R. doctor, Lucy, who was acquainted with his mother, a resident in another department. Ben is severely traumatized and admitted to the psychiatric department.

Lucy works long, exhausting hours in the E.R. and as a result, begins to see the deterioration of her marriage.  Her husband actually presents an ultimatum on one particular night and her trauma of losing the man she thought she could depend on adds to her difficult life.  

Other interesting characters come into the picture.  Claire is a resident of a nursing home and about to win the trophy as the oldest resident at 100.
She is quiet, keeps to herself, and the unfolding of her story is worth the reading.  

LOS writes knowledgeably about both the physical and mental health of all the characters and does and a heartwarming job of bringing people together with great compassion and empathy.

Thank you, NetGalley and Scribner for the opportunity to read this e-ARC.
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This is definitely an exceptional novel. 
It is based on three main characters, a young boy who has witnessed a horrible tragedy and is the sole survivor, an elderly woman named Clara, who is 100. She is living in a nursing home with amazing memories, and an emergency room resident, Lucy, who is attempting to put the plot together, both in her own life and that of the young boy whose name is Ben, but wants to be Leo, and why?
Reincarnation? I would believe it. How is it that Clara is looking for Leo and Ben aka Leo is looking for Clara, when they are so many years apart? 
A beautifully written descriptive novel, that will have you wondering about life, now and in the past.
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At first I wasn't sure what to think about this novel.  Schwarz's detailed language sets the scenes in ways that truly brought the characters to life.  I was a bit uncertain of how Clair fit into the story but as Schwarz weaves the stories together a rich tapestry begins to appear. 

I could not put this book down.  The mystery of how these lives fit together just will not let you go.  I look forward to reading more from her.
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A gorgeously written and intense novel which resonates on every page.
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I was so excited to read The Possible World by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz. The book sounded like a book I would devour. But I just couldn't get into it. This book is told from three points of view, Lucy, Claire, and Leo/ Ben. I found this to be very confusing. There was no flow at all. I have read many books written in this manner and it worked for them, but not here. As a medical professional myself, the medical jargon was way too much. The author does a great job with her prose and should have left the medical jargon out. I didn't think it added anything to the story at all. I wanted to stop this book more times than I can count but I continued on, thinking it would get better. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced copy to read! #NetGalley
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What a stunning story.  Three people who have never met but whose lives are affected by each other's actions.  This book deals with second chances and a persuasive argument for reincarnation or past lives.  Clare is almost 100 years old and living a lonely life in a nursing home. One of the residents makes it her mission to become friends and throughout the book Clare tells Gloria her life's story. Lucy is an ER doctor who treats Ben, a young boy who survives a massacre.  Ben wakes up in the ER believing his name is Leo and is searching for a woman named Clare who once took care of him. I couldn't put this book down. The three/four tales weave together so seamlessly. This is an author I'll be watching for, she creates very believable characters and writes with compassion and forward thinking.  You'll want to have this on your "Keeper" shelf.
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Thank you to #NetGalley and Scribner for a E-ARC of this book.

The Possible World is told by three different points of view. Clare is a resident in a nursing home, she has a secret past that she has never told anyone. Leo is a young teen that was given to a orphanage by his mother. Leo meets Clare and she raises him. She is about to turn 100 years old.

Ben is a young boy and the only survivor of a mass murder at a birthday party. He is traumatized and doesn't remember the event. Under hypnosis he starts to remember some things and he also wants to be called Leo. 

Lucy is a ER doctor who has recently separated from her husband. She is on duty when Ben arrives in the ER. Lucy learns that Ben is the son of Karen, one of her coworkers. Karen was one of the murder victims at the birthday party.

This story covers from the Great Depression, the Vietnam War to present day. It shows how the actions and decisions we make shapes who we are. A wonderful but sad story of love, family and heartbreak.
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