Faithful by Alice Hoffman


“Growing up in Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl, until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world, filled with emotion – from dark suffering to true happiness. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls – including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night. Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.”

-Synopsis from inside front cover


Cover of Faithful by Alice Hoffman
Cover image from StoryGraph

*light spoilers ahead*

Faithful is my third book by Alice Hoffman and it has set the bar very high for all my future reads!

This is going to be a short review simply because I loved this book so much that I’m not even sure how to put it into words.

Shelby’s character was so relatable and I loved reading about her life. She evolved so much over the course of this story which takes place from her late teens to her late twenties. She forms friendships and relationships, some of which turn into lessons and others are able to be mended. As heartbreaking as many parts of her story were, there was so much hopefulness, too, that kept me rooting for her.

Alice Hoffman’s writing style is so subtle that you don’t even realize how significant certain passages will be until the end. This quote stood out to me:

“What Shelby sees is that her mother loves her, that she’s driven in from Huntington to have onion soup that is not particularly good, and that she’s bold enough to ask the waitress if she can put a candle in the eclair they share for dessert. No one else would sing ‘Happy Birthday” to Shelby in a restaurant on Ninth Avenue or tell her that, despite everything she has been led to believe, love is the only thing that matters.”

from Faithful by Alice Hoffman

The ending was very appropriate. I was so proud of Shelby and how far she had come and the new life she was embarking on. I will admit that I was hoping for some miracle with her friend but in retrospect I’m glad that didn’t happen. Everything turned out the way it was meant to.

A friend said that Alice Hoffman books “smack you in the heart” when you least expect it and that is an accurate way to describe what happened to me while reading this book.

I adored this book and will not soon forget it. I can’t wait to read more Alice Hoffman books this year. She has truly become one of my favorite authors.

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