The Underside of Joy is a fascinating story, one that had me frantically reading through the final pages to find out what would happen. Contrary to what one may think at first glance, this is not a story about good versus evil, or biological motherhood versus step-motherhood. It is a story about loving your children so much that you would do absolutely anything for them, regardless of whose belly they grew in. The story is so current, given that families come in so many different shapes and sizes today.
If I had to describe my love for my children in one word, I would use the word "fierce". I would do absolutely anything for my children, and heaven help me if anyone were to hurt my children emotionally. Ella's love for Annie and Zach in The Underside of Joy could certainly be described as fierce love. She loves those children with every fibre of her being and when Paige threatens to take them away from her, Ella physically aches. At times I found the book difficult to read, only because it brought out so much painful emotion from inside of me as I envisioned myself in Ella's position. I am not a stepparent, but I am a parent, and Sere Prince Halverson does an amazing job of writing about something that would turn any parent's world upside down.
At times surprising, at other times sad, and compelling throughout, The Underside of Joy is a book that I don't hesitate to recommend. You do not need to be a parent or a stepparent to enjoy it, you simply need to agree that sometimes there is more to a story than first appears.
My thanks to the publicist for providing me with the opportunity to review this novel.