The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos
by Kelly Irvin
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Pub Date 05 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 05 Jan 2024
Thomas Nelson--FICTION, Thomas Nelson
Two sisters seek a new balance in work, family, and love when one receives a diagnosis that sets the clock ticking.
Determined to save Sherri’s life, Kristen drops everything to guide her sister on the harrowing cancer treatment journey. When she’s unable to balance the strain of caring for her patients, being a wife and mother, and her frantic efforts to save her sister, Kristen’s carefully balanced life crumbles, starting with her marriage. Desperate to regain her footing, she vows to rebuild her broken relationships . . . as soon as she’s sure Sherri will beat the odds stacked against her.
Unlike her sister, Sherri Reynolds has worked to cultivate balance in her life. Her children, her job as a teacher, and her strong faith keep her grounded—until her diagnosis sends her spiraling into the scary world of what-ifs and unknown outcomes. Sherri faces the agonizing realization that family history may be about to repeat itself. With the clock ticking, she’s determined to use whatever time she has left to heal old wounds and restore relationships.
- Poignant contemporary Christian fiction
- Stand-alone novel
- Book length: 113,000 words
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 43 members
Sherri and Kristen are sisters who have weathered many losses. In this Christian based fiction, the sisters must comes to terms with Sherri's terminal cancer diagnosis. Kristen, an oncologist, knows her sisters's fate...yet can not understand her sister's faith. Sherri makes the point several times that God answers all prayers, just not always hope we expect or want....and that true faith shows in difficult circumstances.
During the cancer diagnosis and treatment, Kristen is also standing by as her 25 year marriage falls apart. During her sister's diagnosis and treatment, Kristen must decide what matters most and that time spent shows what really matters.
Thank you NetGalley, Nelson Publishers, and Kelly Irvin for this ARC.
This story grabbed me from the beginning and I could not put it down until the last page was turned.
Sisters, Sherri, and Kristen lost their mother to cancer at an early age, which caused Sherri to fill the role of mother to younger sister Kristen. Sherri later became a kindergarten teacher and Kristen an oncologist, determined to save the lives of all cancer victims. Kristen, however, so obsessed with her patient’s well-being, often made them her priority over her own family.
When Sherri is diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, Kristen insists she come stay with her and be treated in the clinic where she works so she can oversee her care. Kristen puts everything else on hold, determined to save her sister.
This is an emotional, gripping, beautiful story that includes family, faith, and friendship, as well as forgiveness. It is somewhat of a roller coaster ride, which kept me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. A beautifully written story with relatable characters that I recommend straight from my heart.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
This is a well written novel about the highs and lows of a family affected by a cancer diagnosis. It's such a serious and difficult topic but told in such a sweet way and from the perspective of the patient and the oncologist. Sherri and Chance were my favorite characters in the story.
Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own
The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos is based on Irvin’s real life experience with stage four ovarian cancer. Irvin manages to convey her experience to the reader through the character of Sherrie who is diagnosed with cancer early in the story.
Sherrie is fifty-eight years old, a divorced mother and grandmother, and a kindergarten teacher. She’s a runner and a health nut. Kristen is Sherri’s younger sister, an oncologist, also a mother and grandmother, and married. Kristen smokes (yeah, the irony!).
Using her characters and the plot, Irvin addresses themes of familial love, marriage, childhood scars, and especially what we try to fix vs what we place in God’s hands.
You’d think a book about such a serious cancer diagnosis would be depressing. But the way Irvin portrays Christian faith and the sisters’ relationship through the midst of the crisis is uplifting.
If I have one complaint, it’s that the sisters and their surrounding friends and family seem obsessed with comfort food: cookies, lemonade, sweet tea, pies, cinnamon rolls, King Ranch casserole, and especially ice cream. The dissonance between trying to survive a health crisis and being surrounded by unhealthy foods twisted my brain. But maybe I’m being too judgy. If I had a serious cancer diagnosis, I’d probably curl up on the couch with chocolate, and my dear husband would probably get fat on pizza. So only half a star off.
Overall, this is an emotional, informative, and gripping story. 4.5 stars. Highly recommended!
Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos. I am happy to post my personal thoughts about the book.
I had mixed emotions about reading this book with a deep topic because I gravitate towards books that are happy to escape the sadness and ugliness in the world. Let me say, I read and finished the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed, I cried and my compassion for the characters was through the roof. I congratulate Kelly Irvin for being able to share her own stage 4 ovarian cancer story with her readers through this book. Such an emotional read complete with forgiveness, faith and new beginnings. I highly recommend this book and thank you Kelly for your insight ovarian cancer.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. All words are my own.
Kelly Irvin's The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos is by far my favorite I have read by her. I instantly felt connected to the characters and wanted to keep reading their story until I have finished. Five stars.
This is an evocative, complex story of two sisters who lost their mother to cancer as teenagers. So when Sherrie, the older sister, is diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in her 50’s, it is an unfortunate and traumatic twist of fate for both women. Kristen, as the younger sister, will need to dig deep to care for Sherrie. Luckily, Kristen is an oncologist and is able to guide Sherrie through her illness.
As an oncologist, Kristen has an extremely busy life and this is causing her marital problems, which will need to be put on the back burner while she cares for her sister.
This book covers so many topics flawlessly and emotionally - cancer, grief, marriage, divorce, job dynamics, religious beliefs and family. It is written beautifully and is really a gut punch right in the feels. I highly recommend this 5-star book. Thank you, NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for the ARC. This book hits the shelves on December 5, 2023.
This was a difficult book to read, but also a beautiful book. Much of the story has to do with a character who is diagnosed with cancer and her journey after that diagnosis and other main characters struggling with their marriage. Those are such heart-wrenching circumstances, but there is hope and even joy among the pain.
This book was a good read and I really enjoyed it and then I read the author's note and realized that, in some ways, Kelly was living this story and that raised the star level for me from a 4 to a 5.
Sherri is battling ovarian cancer and Kristen, her sister, is determined to save her, adding caretaking to her myriad of responsibilities she is trying to juggle. While on the surface it appears as if she is managing fine, her marriage is on the brink of ruin; the question is will she realize it in time?
There is much heart break and hope in this story. Sherri's only marriage had ended in divorce, but yet there was reconciliation. It's a story that makes you think about living in each moment and enjoying life while you have life and health. There is no guarantee.
I felt like the relationship to God was a little more surface than I want to have, and yet, I think, Sherri especially, was seeking to know Him and live for Him.
There did seem to be some confusion in the book as to what Sherri's daughter's husband's name was. Most of the time it was Zach, but at one point it seemed to be Trevor. I'm not sure if I missed something there or if it was an editing thing that got missed. Not a big deal, but....
I did really enjoy the book and want to take to heart the message to enjoy my family while I have them with me to enjoy.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos by Kelly Irvin will be releasing soon, and you will want to make sure to put this on your to be read fiction pile! This was a turn pager and tear jerking read. A story about cancer, loss and death, relationship issues, and wrong priorities. What I didn’t realize while I was reading it until the end after I read the after thoughts from the author is that she wrote this based on her own cancer struggle with stage 4 ovarian cancer.
The book focuses on two sisters, one going through cancer and the other is an oncologist. Also, with how both deal with issues, while one is a Christian and the other is not. I learned a lot about the process of cancer treatments and enjoyed seeing the characters grow and change as they dealt with issues.
A couple highlights from the book:
I remind myself of when she asked me if I thought God was still good. If the answer is still yes, then I have to trust that He has a plan for me.
I figure once we finally see Him face-to-face, we can get our questions answered once and for all. In the meantime, we have to hang on, even in our unbelief.
Be in the moment. Treasure this moment in time.
Just because you didn’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean God isn’t real, or He isn’t good or that He doesn’t care.
This would make a great book club read, as there are discussion questions as the end of the book.
Be prepared with tissues before tackling this book! This was a very emotional read for me, since there is a history of cancers in my family, but I felt like it needed to be read. It is a must read for all women.
I'm happy the author wrote about the subject of ovarian cancer, especially since she went through the treatments herself. There is so much need for people to know and be aware of the symptoms and signs of this cancer.
Thank you to Netgalley for a complimentary copy of this book to review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
What an emotional read, even more so knowing the author has battled with the same challenges in her own life.
Be prepared to shed a few tears as you read this touching novel.
I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley.
I just finished The Year of Hellos and Goodbyes by Kelly Irvin. This book is a fictional account of a very personal story. It is about love, loss and forgiveness. Two sisters find themselves navigating a crisis of marriage, family and health while coming to terms with major childhood losses. This story made me laugh, cry and really think about making the most of each day. I highly recommend reading this book.
When I first seen the cover of this book I wondered what it was about. I knew it was written by one of my favorite authors and I considered reading it. Then I heard that it was a story written about two sisters and one sister had just learned at the book’s beginning that she had Ovarian Cancer. The other Sister was an Oncologist who worked for a big cancer care center in Texas. I knew I wanted to read this book because my sister died from Ovarian Cancer in 2009. I spent a lot of time up in Canada with her and was there for her first chemotherapy treatment. As I started reading this book all the memories and feelings I had during my sisters fight for her life came flooding back to me. The book seemed very real and I could feel Sherri’s fear as her treatments started and her cancer advanced. The Author knows a lot about Ovarian Cancer because she also has this disease. Kelly Irvin is well researched on the topic of this type of cancer. I thought the book was very well written and the story though emotional was a warm story with a heart felt message to all women about how this type of cancer or any type of cancer can effect the patient and her family and support team. This was a book that I found impossible to put down. Though the story was sad it was also about learning what was really the important things in life. Now that I’ve finished the book I can truthfully say that this is the best book that I have read this year.
I recommend this book to all readers of women’s fiction, Contemporary Christian Fiction, and standalone novels. It is a story that all women should consider reading. This book is scheduled by be released on 12/5/23.
I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
I don't have enough positive words in my vocabulary for this book. I absolutely loved every minute of it. I laughed out loud. I cried. I worried. I wanted to pray for the characters. I loved each and every 0ne of them. They were so real, so relatable, and so full of life. By far, The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos is my favorite book of the year. Kelly Irvin did a masterful job of weaving her own journey into a story for many. Is it sad in some places: yes. Does it make you want to hug the people around you: definitely yes! Is it worth every second that it takes you to read it: absolutely yes.
It is the story of two sisters who lost their mom to ovarian cancer when they were teenagers. Now, one of them has the same cancer, while the other fights to save her. Full of hope for the future, the truths of family and faith, and the reality of every day people seeking connections to each other, you won't want to miss this. Thank you for being brave enough to share a piece of your heart and your story with us, Mrs. Irvin. We are honored.
This book gutted me! Such a REAL account of a 25-year marriage, sibling illness, and how past traumas show up in the present. A moving tale with amazing character development. I love when a book is told from each character's perspective! This one hit all the right notes and reminded me of some of my own experiences. Highly recommend - you won't be sorry!
Many thanks to Net Galley and Thomas Nelson Publishing for an ARC of this wonderful book in exchange for a review.
Wow! What an emotional read, beautifully written, thought provoking and covering so many topics in one heartfelt story, grief, cancer, marriage, divorce, religious beliefs, family dynamics and relationships, it’s all there.
Kirsten and Sherrie are sisters, Sherrie is the older sister and she has just been diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Kirsten is an oncologist, she immediately has Sherrie come to stay with her, she takes over her care, she continues to oversee her own patients, her working days are long with often no clock off time. Kirsten and her husband Daniel, are approaching their 25th wedding anniversary, they have two grown up daughters, but with Kirsten’s hectic work schedule her family relationships often suffer.
Sherrie also has a grown up family, she is divorced, her ex husband is her best friend, and they have grandchildren..
The two sisters are estranged from their father, he walked out when they were young, their mother died from cancer when they were teenagers. Sherrie is keen to see their dad again, knowing that her cancer is not curable and her treatments are only buying small chunks of time.
The story follows Sherrie’s cancer journey, her treatments, her relationships with her grown up children, her ex husband, her father and her grandchildren and alongside Sherrie’s story there is Kirsten’s journey, her sisters illness, her demanding job, and her crumbling family relationships.. Sherrie is encouraging her to give their father a second chance and she knows she needs to repair her marriage before it is too late.
This book is beautifully written right to the end, it’s heart wrenching and a tear jerker but I am so glad I have read this very poignant story.
When Kristen and Sherri lost their mom to breast cancer back in their teens, Sherri took over the role of both mother and father at the tender age of 18. She guided her younger sister, Kirsten, through high school, college, and marriage. The wounds from their father’s abandonment and their mother’s death run deep, but each sister processed them differently.
Kristen launches herself into a cancer-curing career path as an oncologist. She vows to always be there for her patients—some of whom will need treatment for years or decades. Kristen carefully balances marriage to her one love, Daniel, and motherhood with her demanding occupation. Once their nest empties, Daniel and Kristen feel a growing rift between them.
Sherri relies on her faith to navigate life as a wife, mother, and teacher, and after her divorce, a single mom. When she receives an ovarian cancer diagnosis, Sherri turns to her little sister to help her navigate the frightening world of cancer. She doesn’t expect her faith to waiver nor her relationship with her ex to rekindle.
Kristen drops everything to guide her sister through treatment. Sort of. She can’t leave her patients high and dry, and she realizes too late the consequences of shortchanging Daniel. While her professional life offers her an opportunity to really make a difference in saving lives, Kristen must decide if the cost is too high.
Why I Loved This Book
Irvin paints a tender story of family, relationships gone awry, faith in crisis, a woman’s mid-life crisis, and redemption. Told from multiple points of view, readers will relate to the two sisters and Daniel. Daniel and Sherri feel emotionally abandoned by their spouses, and each reacts differently.
Reading books where a character has cancer isn’t easy for me (my husband has survived three different kinds of cancer), but The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos didn’t trigger any adverse emotions (unlike other books I’ve read where a character has cancer). Instead, I came away feeling hopeful about my relationship with God and his ability to handle my big questions and uncertainties.
While this book doesn’t fit into Irvin’s usual genres (romantic suspense and Amish romance), it’s a gem readers won’t be able to put down.
The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos by Kelly Irvin is an amazingly well written story that tackles the sensitive subject of cancer, it’s treatments and outcome. It also shows how it affects not only the patient but also their family and friends. This story is so good with several things going on at the same time in the life of oncologist Kristen and her family. Not only does this story cover the cancer issue very well, it also covers the issues couples with important careers deal with. This story shows the difference between Kristen and her sister Sherri, the way they both live their lives. It is sad to see the extreme struggles Kristen and her family go through because of her job and the decisions that have to be made.
I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this story, this is my honest review.