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The Good Goodbye    by Carla Buckley order for
Good Goodbye
by Carla Buckley
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

It was the call no parent ever wants to receive. On her nineteenth wedding anniversary celebration Natalie Falcone learns that her daughter, a college student, is in the hospital emergency room.

Arden and her best friend and cousin, Rory, lie unconscious after being pulled from a fire where another student died. The police suspect arson.

As Natalie, her husband and Rory's family gather at the hospital there are a number of issues that must be addressed. Growing up together, both girls were inseparable although quite different. While Rory was the outgoing and popular girl, Arden was more reserved and artistic. Their differences aside, the two teens were inseparable through high school.

Complicating the tragic situation is that fact that Natalie and Rory's fathers are partners in a struggling restaurant and have not been on speaking terms for a while. Adding additional stress to the dilemma now facing the two families, this added glitch in their relationship is just what they don't need at this time.

As the events leading up to the fire become known, Natalie discovers the two girls' relationship was far more complicated than anyone realized. As the details of a love triangle, a fight, and a girl who was struggling more than anyone realized, come out, the information sheds new light on what actually happened on the evening of the fire and why.

Carla Buckley has built her literary reputation on exploring the emotional issues that not only hold families together but also divide them. Once again she takes her reader into the heart of a family attempting to cope with a very difficult and heart rendering and psychologically complex set of circumstances. Although there is a thriller element in this story, its real focus is on the characters and the long hidden secrets that finally come to light.

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