A WFW Book Review: Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman

If you’ve read Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I loved the book. Now, let’s not get all caught up in the fact that Lori and I are friends, because if I didn’t love it I would not, under any circumstance, say that I did. I also wouldn’t have blurbed the book or be writing about it here. I would say nothing at all because that’s how I roll.

Here’s my blurb:

“Filled with warmth and humor, Lori Nelson Spielman’s SWEET FORGIVENESS is a novel about family that will make you rethink everything you know about forgiveness and love. Lori Nelson Spielman is an insightful storyteller who captures your heart and keeps you turning the pages.”

I’m not partial to book reviews that summarize — so I’ll tell you why I loved Sweet Forgiveness and let you read the story yourself.

Sweet Forgiveness introduces us to its main character, Hannah Farr, who’s a talk show host dating the city’s mayor, we think she’s got a pretty good life, until Lori skillfully reveals how perfect isn’t always perfect underneath. And, while I grew sympathetic for Hannah and wanted all things to go right for her, I learned she has secrets, and not very nice ones. So while she sets off on a journey to figure out her past and find forgiveness, as a reader I struggled with the fact that I was rooting for someone who might not be all that likable all the time.

Which means Lori did a great job with Hannah Farr!

Just recently I’ve read a few Facebook posts and threads about unlikable characters, and commented that readers are sometimes surprised that the unlikable factor is INTENTIONAL. That authors want to make their readers bristle sometimes, that we want readers to question the choices and decisions of the characters. That writers don’t just throw down a story, that many of us want to make readers think. Even if just a little bit.

That’s the core of Sweet Forgiveness — yes, there is a great hook with “Forgiveness Stones” that become all the rage. But beyond that is the question of what’s forgivable? Who’s forgivable? And is it more important that someone else forgives you or that you forgive yourself?

And, woven into the seriousness of this tale is a lot of lighthearted and romantic themes as well. I love a story that allows me to breathe. Sometimes at least. Part of Sweet Forgiveness that I enjoyed the most was that I wasn’t always worried about Hannah (I get quite involved with characters and stories), that sometimes I was given the chance to just enjoy her.

On another note, this book is personal for me because years ago, on a girlfriend getaway in Michigan, Lori and I sat in our B&B and late at night, Lori said, “I have this idea for a story about these Forgiveness Stones…”

And now it’s a book. And my friend is a bestselling author. Cool, right? Even cooler because I loved the end result. And get to share it with all of you.

Amy xo

Lori Nelson Spielman is the author of The Life List. A former speech pathologist and guidance counselor, she currently works as a home-bound teacher for inner-city students. Lori enjoys running, traveling, and reading, though writing is her passion. She and her husband live in East Lansing, Michigan.

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9 thoughts on “A WFW Book Review: Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman

  1. Amy, your review here call for a read! I LOVE it when the characters are so deep and complex, you’re not sure if your should be rooting for them. That makes me think of Scarlet O’Hara. Right? Not really all that nice, but we rooted for her. I’m off to buy the book and thank you for an introduction to a new author to me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for not posting a review that’s a spoiler! I enjoy reviews much more when the write just says what they like, rather than rewrite the book/synopsis, lol 😉

    The fact that you, “as a reader, struggled with the fact that I was rooting for someone who might not be all that likable all the time” is VERY intriguing! I love characters that bend our perceptions. Looking forward to a good read!

    Liked by 2 people

    • wow, there’s a few typos in that comment! … I enjoyed your review Amy, as it was NOT a spoiler! lol… sheesh. Need to update the spell checker on my phone.

      Sounds like a great read. I needed one for the beach 🙂


  3. I don’t think characters have to be totally likeable for readers to root for them. A lot of real people do things we don’t like, but we still care what happens to them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Sally. We’re all flawed, and our characters should be too. We hope their good qualities outweigh their bad, just like in real life!


  4. Because of Amy Sue’s review, I ordered Sweet Forgiveness right away from Amazon. I’m intrigued about getting involved with a character that may not be entirely likeable–a challenge—but I’ll be brave!

    Liked by 1 person

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