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Our Review

‘In the end, only three things matter:
How much you loved,
How gently you lived,
And how gracefully you let go
Of things not meant for you.’

What a wonderful story teller Amy Harmon is. Every time we pick one of her books up we’re transported into a world of humanity and spiritual other worldliness. The Smallest Part embodies the true spirit of friendships, betrayal, love, self-sacrifice and loyalty. The way in which this Author writes she manages to draw our characteristics in people we are all familiar with thus creating nuances of ourselves or those we know, shining a light on a realism in fiction. Through flashbacks we experience poignant moments with Noah, Mercedes and Cora as they each navigate through childhood and teenage years into adulthood. Patterns emerge and personalities are revealed as we learn just what each of them mean to each other as well as the nature of their hearts.

‘…I like Mercedes Lopez. She’s smart and funny and fierce. She’s loyal and tough…She’s beautiful – inside and out.’

Mercedes embodies heart, loyalty and selflessness. She makes sacrifices for those she loves and clears a path so that nothing stands in the way of her friends’ happiness. She is the glue that holds this trio of friends together. However, through this altruism she neglects herself in the matters of her heart. But how wonderful is it to watch two best friends find a love like no other and make that realisation. She was a wonderful character with a beautiful soul.

‘He was the same man, but his chest had been cracked open, his skin peeled back…he walked around with everyone staring at his gruesome, exposed heart, unable to help him, secretly wishing he’d go away until it healed.’

Noah, the boy who held two girls hearts from the age of ten. He carries a stillness and an air tinged with the morose. He has a gentle strength and an endearing vulnerability. Head strong, yet like Mercedes is ‘blind’ to the huge betrayal facing him. He’s had heart-break and tragedy much like Mercedes and Cora yet he’s been blessed by a friendship that never wavered.

“She needs to be strong. She needs to fix things. She’s good at loving, but she’s not very good at being loved. You will have to convince her, Noah.”

Cora is the more complex of the three friends’, tragedy marring her life. She’s the sun dancing in the dark unsure of who she is and where her place is in life. She is lost. Craving security yet placing herself in situations of danger. Insecurities, self-doubt, anxiety and depression all have sharp claws which once they grip you, you are unable to shake off. It is very difficult to like what we don’t understand or know, however that is in fact who or what needs our attention, empathy and guidance.

‘Most people go their whole lives afraid to be who they are, afraid to be real and vulnerable and human, because they are sure the people they care about will walk away. And that fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In an effort to be perfect, to be loved, they hold it all in. And when they finally lose control – as they inevitably will – they self-destruct.’

This trio of friends had an intricate and sometimes twisted friendship borne out of love and imitation; we couldn’t put their story down, at times reading through tears as we experienced the intensity of their individual journeys all tangled up in each other’s. We loved all the other characters which added a wonderful dimension which gave us chills. There is so much more than what we know, see, hear and feel and once again Amy Harmon stole our hearts one more time.

‘She heard them call her name…For once they would have to get by without her.’

Synopsis

“In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” 
– Unknown

It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie.
“Are you in love with Noah, Mercedes?” Cora asked. “I mean . . . I know you love him. You’ve been friends forever. We all have. But are you in love with him?”
If it had been anyone else—anyone—Mercedes would have stuck out her chest, folded her skinny arms, and let her feelings be known. She would have claimed him. But it was Cora. Brave, beautiful, broken Cora, and Cora loved Noah too.
So Mercedes lied.
And with that lie, she lost him. With that lie, she sealed her fate.
She was the best friend, the bridesmaid, the godmother, the glue. She was there for the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs, the biggest moments and the smallest parts. And she was there when it all came crashing down.
This is the tale of the girl who didn’t get the guy.

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