Cover Image: What Could Be Saved

What Could Be Saved

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Member Reviews

This is the first book I have read from this author and it did not disappoint. This is a fabulously done dual timeline novel that spans a family through generations. This gives us two very different story lines and both are equally as wonderful and eye opening. As you read through this hefty 400 pages, you slowly begin to unravel these family secrets and learn so much about this family. Highly recommend!
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This book was one of those that looks amazing from the description, and actually delivers. It sort of reminded me of a tropical Kate Morton novel, where things unfold deliciously slow and then when all the threads come together you are left speechless and breathless and heartbroken. But even though there is loss, this is one of those books that you must read. It was evocative and gorgeous and the descriptions brought Thailand to life for me (I have always wanted to live there). It shows the effects of the history of colonization and includes the CIA's business in Asia and their fight to stop the spread of communism. Overall, a fantastic book that should be on everyone's shelf and read in every book club.
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This book started strong- loved the immediate long lost brother attempting to contact the family. I got into it really quickly and didn’t want to put it down.  Then it slowed, almost to the point where I didn’t finish it. The life of the family in Thailand moved too slowly for my liking and I kept finding myself longing for the present time characters. Overall, It was enjoyed!
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This book.... wow. (side note- I accidentally showed up for a salon appt 45 minutes early yesterday so I went across the street to browse in the bookstore while I waited and struck up a conversation with a woman while looking at the "new books" selection. I pointed to What Could Be Saved and told her that it's one of those emotionally exhausting but completely unputdownable books I wish I could read for the first time all over again! I left before she did but she was holding it like she would buy it.) Anyway, this book was soooo good!!!!!  I definitely look forward to more from this author!!
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I enjoyed this book and it was a quick read.  I will say that I had a hard time getting into the book initially but then it picked up from there.  The characters were good, I just wish there was more to them, some fell a little flat.
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Absolutely epic. I think I’ve only just stopped holding my breath, 3 days after finishing this book. Beautiful prose in an intricately woven and immersive story of family secrets, a mystery to unravel, privilege and colonialism, and a deep dive into the ways trauma manifests itself so differently across individuals. A slow start with an even slower middle almost lost me, but the END! I am so glad I stuck with it to see it through to the end. #WhatCouldBeSaved is a masterfully written gut punch that really hit me hard and brought up some complex emotions and self-reflections (especially thanks to the supplemental questions and materials provided at the end of the book). 

📕 Synopsis: ➖Washington, DC, 2019: Laura Preston is a reclusive artist at odds with her older sister Bea as their elegant, formidable mother slowly slides into dementia. When a stranger contacts Laura claiming to be her brother who disappeared 40 years earlier when the family lived in Bangkok, Laura ignores Bea’s warnings of a scam and flies to Thailand to see if it can be true. But meeting him in person leads to more questions than answers.
➖Bangkok, 1972: Genevieve and Robert Preston live in a beautiful house behind a high wall, raising their 3 children with the help of a cadre of servants. Genevieve strives to create a semblance of the privileged life she would have had at home in the US. But not all is as it seems, and their seemingly serene household is vulnerable to unseen dangers in a rapidly changing world and a country they don’t really understand.
➖Alternating between past and present as secrets are revealed, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable novel about a family shattered by loss and betrayal, and the beauty that can exist even in the midst of brokenness.

❗️CW for those sensitive to themes of sex work, trafficking, abuse, violence, death. 

Thanks to @atriabooks and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. The paperback edition will be released August 31st!
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Oh, my heart…

What Could Be Saved is a story of loss and tragedy, but also of self-discovery and the destruction that can often lie in its wake. 

This is a story that unfolds over decades, but feels somehow urgent. It is the story of family - what it takes to be one and what it means to lose it. And in the end, what can be saved?

This was haunting, eerie, and smart. Written like a brilliant puzzle we feel compelled to complete. 

5/5 ✨
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This book hooked me immediately and I stayed riveted as the mystery unfolded. It’s told in alternating points of view and I loved hearing from each character. This is my favorite type of book: intense character development + compelling plot + interesting location. Schwartz perfectly captured the complexities of the sibling relationship. Sensitive readers, be aware that this book has an intense subject matter, but if you can stomach it, it’s worth your time. Schwartz is a gifted storyteller. The paperback will be released on Aug. 31.

This ARC was provided by @netgalley and @atriabooks. The opinions are my own.
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Family drama that has some unexpected depth. 
Life doesn’t take the path we plan but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good life—this story of an American family based in Thailand is told in current day and then in flashbacks. Like most dual timelines i was drawn to one more than another and sometimes found myself waiting to get back to the current story and still it was a reasonable storytelling technique. I appreciated the message of the beauty in being present to the moment. I will check out the author’s other works. Make sure to read  the author interview at the end ad it sheds some interesting light on her choices . Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy for an honest review.
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What Could Be Saved just was not my kind of novel. I have given the novel 3 stars because I find that Liese O'Halloran Schwarz knows how to write a story and uses some wonderful language throughout the story, but as a writer I feel like this is missing... the craft of it. She can write, but it feels like this doesn't show me a story. There's a lot of telling, and even with the telling that is happening I feel like I'm not being told enough of the story to understand when I am supposed to be understanding. So much of this was incredibly confusing for me and for this reason, I did not finish this read. I got about 25% of the way through and couldn't find the interest to continue, or the drive to find the characters compelling. This was not the novel for me, but that does not mean it is not the novel for someone else. It felt almost too <i>slow</i> for me. My interest lie entirely with the story of her missing brother, but the story is twisted with her relationship, her career, her family's past that doesn't feel entirely useful. 

Ultimately, it shouldn't take a novel this long to engage readers, and I don't feel compelled to give this novel the benefit of the doubt and push forward. I am aware that I am in the small few who did not find this novel compelling, but I stand by that this novel just does not captivate me whatsoever. Realistically, I should give this novel 1 star because I didn't finish it, I wasn't interested and I couldn't care for the characters at all but the author has an incredible sense for writing, and I am very impressed by their skill in prose composition.
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After a slow start, the characters wound themselves into my head. Taking place in dual timelines (Bangkok in 1968-72 and in the US in 2019), the author created suspense with a missing 8-year-old child, an extramarital affair, spy work during the Vietnam war, adult sibling rivalry, and lots of family secrets. I especially enjoyed the glimpse of Thailand through their eyes.

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the ARC to read and review.
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Just as the Preston family is preparing to return to the USA after 4 years in Bangkok with their three children, their son, eight-year-old Philip, doesn’t return home from Judo lessons. Unsuccessful at finding him, they return to the USA. Although presumed dead, Paul’s mom keeps returning to Thailand to search for him. The family is utterly shattered by the loss. 

More than forty years later, Laura, a successful artist and the youngest sibling, receives an email from someone claiming to be her brother. She flies to Thailand to decide if he really is who he claims to be. 

I really enjoyed this ‘character-driven, dual timeline with multiple points of view’ story. It’s truly a sweeping family saga that spans decades and highlights the power of secrets and family. It highlights racism and privilege in both USA and Asia at a time when society was experiencing dramatic shifts. Although it’s more of a mystery to unravel, I was absorbed in the sibling relationships and also how the family was affected by the loss of one of its members. I didn’t care for any of the characters initially until I understood the cause of their behaviour and then I was in awe of the character development. Genevieve’s transformation was incredible. The author is able to capably place her readers in Bangkok in the late 60s/early 70s as a result of her own experience. 

The author challenges readers to look directly at the terrible events and still see the beauty. She believes that something good can be salvaged from any situation….hence, the title. 

This family saga featuring themes of loss and deceit is a thought-provoking read that deserves your attention. 

I was gifted this advance copy by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz, Atria Books, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this title.

The Preston family is upended by the disappearance of Phillip, their only son, while on assignment in Bangkok in 1972. As the years and decades pass, the remaining Preston children, Bea and Larua, have to try to live under the shadow of their lost brother. Then, Laura gets an email out of the blue that changes everything. 

I found this to be an insightful read. It was a little slow for the first half of the book, but then picked up pace nicely There are broad themes of loss, hope, and discovery in the novel, and they are treated well and with concern for the characters. .
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What Could Be Saved by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz was such a wonderful read. I didn’t know the premise of the story but boy I enjoyed it so much. It’s 1972 and Robert & Genevieve & Robert Preston are living in Bangkok with their 3  children. Robert is there for work and Genevieve is busy making this foreign land a home. It’s a completely different culture, the rules are different and as the years pass, the family dynamic changes. It was supposed to be a 1 year assignment and yet four years later, Genevieve has had it. Is it the heat of that August? Is is the marital strains that the couple is flic facing? How are the kids handling things? In the midst of all this their son Philip doesn’t come home from judo. This is where things fall apart.. this story is so well written, I love how the story progresses. The characters are so well developed. While the search continues Genevieve unravels, Robert closes up and their daughters are stuck in a place of fear and heartbreak. As the war ends and Robert is being sent home, Genevieve feels she can’t leave Bangkok without her son. The author did such a great job describing their different forms of grief . Back in America the family, never gives up looking for Philip. Forty years later, a tip comes in about Philip. Is it really him? Laura, the youngest sister, decides to take a leap of faith and head to Bangkok. Her life at home is up in the air, her art career is in a rut. She believes if this is Philip, and she can bring him home, maybe the family can find peace. The author brings us back to 1972 and to the present 2019.. these flashbacks and current day snapshots, seem so real. The descriptions of Bangkok, made me feel like I was there. Once Laura, proves it is Philip, all new secrets are found. The sisters and their mother (who has Alzheimer’s ) are forced to face hard choices. It’s like Pandora’s box is opened and they all have to work together, to make things right. I couldn’t put this book down. I read it in 2 days because I had to see how things would play out. I loved the story and  the characters and for such dark topics, it wasn’t too much. This was a 5 star read for me. I have recommended it to everyone. I have also shared my review on Amazon & Barnes and Noble. I want to thank Netgalley & the author my copy of this book for an honest review. It was my pleasure to read and review this.. I hope you like it as much as I did. The
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⚡️ 4.5/5. I loved this engrossing family drama. Read if you like This is Us! 

Page Count: 480 pages
Publication Date: August 31, 2021 (in paperback)

I loved this book! Although it is on the longer side, I never lost interest and found the pacing to be perfect. The story revolves around a family of five, and alternates between two equally-interesting timelines: contemporary Washington DC and Bangkok, 1972. Filled with rich characters and a really engrossing mystery, I was ALL IN and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I absolutely loved the author’s writing style and I’m so excited to read more from her in the future. I truly have nothing negative to say and highly recommend this novel, especially if you enjoy family dramas!

Oh, and can we talk about the cover on this paperback edition? It is absolutely stunning! I really liked the hardback cover, but I love this one even more!!! 

I previously posted an earlier version of this review on my Instagram and Goodreads accounts — @sanfranliterarygal. My updated review will be published close to the paperback’s publication date. 

Thank you to Atria Books, Washington Square Press, NetGalley, and Liese O’Halloran Schwarz for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Did not finish. Wasn’t my writing style. Tried to read it three times. Just couldn’t get into it. Thank you for the opportunity to read it
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Thank you NetGalley, Atria Books and Author for this amazing advanced ebook copy! 

This was a fantastic mix of mystery/family drama... with a bit of history thrown into the mix!
And man this was a hard book to put down. 
It tells the story of the Preston family - from their years as American ex-pats in Bangkok in the early 1970s to their lives in Washington DC in 2019.
I was immediately adrift in the story. I was so hooked about this family saga that was haunted by the disappearance of the eight year son, Phillip and his ultimate return 40 years later.
The writing for this book was refreshing, well-turned, admiring, brilliant. 
These beautifully drawn, tragically flawed characters will remain with me long after turning the last page.

I'm excited to read more of Liese's work! Her work is amazing!

Thank you again for the chance to read and review What Could Be Saved!
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“delicious hybrid of mystery, drama, and elegance” (Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author).  I think this sums it all up just perfectly.  A beautifully written novel.
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Wow! I’m actually banging my head against thick wood to punish myself why it did too long for me to read this masterpiece! 

  This is one of those stories bleeds your soul and leaves deep wounds at your heart. So intense, so heartfelt, so angsty, pushing out your entire feelings, leaving you numb, speechless.
We’re moving back between different time zones, countries, cultures to learn more about Prestons and their deep family drama : why they turned into dysfunctional, estranged family who had hard time to openly communicate with each other, why they boiled up the resentment, guilt feeling for so long!

  Everything started when they were family of three in Bangkok nearly 4 decades ago. But one of the family members: only son of the family gets missing and his mysterious disappearance stays like a dark cloud above the entire family’s heads : a heavy burden they have to carry through their entire life.

  Two time zones: Bangkok in 1972 and Washington D. C. in 2019. 

The story starts at present time, introducing us Laura, a struggling artist who cannot concentrate on her work, having problems with her agent, suffering from a missing element in her life: an unresolved tragedy. She still misses her brother Philip who has been missing over 40 years. 

  Laura has problematic relationship with her sister Bea, married, raising twin teenagers. Both of them doesn’t want to understand their life choices. 

Their mother Genevieve has her own mental issues, keeps visiting Bangkok to find the trace of his missing son. She is still in denial process after all those years. 

  But a magical thing happens: Laura connects with a stranger who claims to be her lost missing brother. They made a Skype call and boom: she gets all the answers she needs: that’s her brother, entire family has been looking for and grieving for years and she’s so determined to fly to Bangkok to bring him back even though her sister Bea has second thoughts about her sudden decision. 

  We also learn more about family’s story when we move back to 1972’s Bangkok. The family has been staying there for 4 years whether the assignment of Robert who is working for American Intelligence may  have lasted only one year. Genevieve is already frustrated and counting days to return back to the states. 

  They seems like having luxurious life style with lots of servants lurking around their place, a private chauffeur is designated to drive kids to the ballet lessons as Genevieve hosts special parties and focusing on children’s school schedules. But they still struggle to adapt in new culture which is so different from American lifestyle and after their child’s disappearance, the entire family members show their reactions, adjusting their loss with different coping mechanisms which eventually fail. 

  I love my time travels between different zones and cultures, observing the unique reactions and emotional fights of each family member. And the big secret reveals near the ending of the story which is so heartbreaking!

  This is one of the mind blowing, extreme, soul crushing experiences I’ve recently had! An epic literature feast I devoured! 

  I’m giving my full, engaging, tear jerker, sentimental, family drama, multicultural five stars!

  Special thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books/ Washington Square Press for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
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