Love, Marriage, Parenthood, Death

Shakespeare says that a sad tale's best for winter, but I say spring brings tales of hope and growth. These four books are about loss, yes, but also about how we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. If you're looking for a book that makes you both laugh and cry, try one of these.

Abby Fabiaschi has written a delightful debut novel: I Liked My Life. Maddy and Brady have overcome difficult pasts and produced Eve, a high-performing high school junior. Everyone seems content. So why would Maddy jump off the roof of a college library? Brady and Eve struggle to find answers while Maddy benignly manipulates them from beyond the grave. She's even found a potential new wife and mother for her grieving family in Rory, who tutors Eve in precalculus. Fabiaschi pulls the heartstrings in this lovely tale of mourning and healing.

Prolific author Nicholas Sparks deals with a different kind of loss in Two by Two. Russ apparently has it all: a beautiful wife, a dear daughter, and a great job. However, when Russ quits his job to start a new business, his wife goes back to work, requiring her to travel constantly. This causes a rift between the couple, and Russ struggles to both run his struggling business and raise his daughter. Sparks brings his usual bottled lightning to this tale of loss and regeneration.

In Elin Hildebrand's Here's to Us, Deacon Rowe has committed suicide and now it is time for his two ex-wives and current wife, along with all the children, to gather at his Nantucket beach house for the reading of the will. Deacon left a lot of debt, and the beloved house may need to be sold. There are sessions of bickering and reckoning as the visitors reflect on their lives and relationships. Hildebrand gives us a strong sense of place and detailed characterizations in a novel that evokes a Nantucket summer.

For those of you who liked Jojo Moyes' Me Before You, she wrote a sequel, After You. 18 months after Will's death, a still-mourning Lou falls off her roof and is rescued by a cute paramedic. Lou realizes that Will would not approve of her moping about and dreary job, so she joins a support group while recovering in the company of her family.  Things start to look up, particularly in the romance department, as the cute paramedic reappears. Moyes does a wonderful job of creating a British working-class clan and the sentiment is leavened with wicked humor.

Got a favorite book that gives you the feels? Tell us about it in the comments section.