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Those We Love Most

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  2,350 Ratings  ·  380 Reviews
In her fiction debut, beloved writer and speaker Lee Woodruff offers an intimate and moving novel that explores the ways in which four lives are broken and made whole again after a shattering tragedy.

On a warm June day, Maura Corrigan is walking with her nine-year-old son, James, as he rides his bike to school. The unthinkable happens: he darts onto the street and is hit b
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2012)
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Mary Gramlich
Sep 16, 2012 Mary Gramlich rated it it was amazing
Our lives are built around a sense of checks and balances with expectations of how our life will play out. We anticipate living to a wonderful age where we have grandchildren to spoil and a quiet life surrounding us as we age. What if the order of the universe is changed and the child you planned to watch grow up is taken from you, where do you go from that one second when you were not looking and something happened that changes everything.

This book is a story about a family that details the hea
Jan 01, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it
About a quarter of the way though, I realized this was going to be a DNF. Why? This book felt a little as though the author was trying to work something out for herself, and there was a little bit of "kitchen sinking" (where the problems the four main characters are having are neither surprising nor terribly interesting, but put there because someone has to be having this sort of problem to make the plot go forward).

The loss of a child does cause major disruption in a family and in the interfam
Sep 19, 2012 Vox rated it it was amazing
I will kick off this review by stating that I really liked this book, although I really did not like many of its characters.

Meet the Corrigans, a typical suburban Chicago family of five: mother Maura, father Pete, and three adorable children.

Cue foreboding music now.

One sunny morning, as Maura walks her sons to school, an accident takes the life of her oldest son, nine-year-old James. The circumstances behind this death are slowly revealed, just as the guilt Maura feels slowly attempts to undo h
Sheryl Sorrentino
Oct 14, 2014 Sheryl Sorrentino rated it it was amazing
This is an intense, beautifully-written, if somewhat depressing story—a real hidden gem. I won't rehash the plot highlights, as enough other reviewers have done that. But, contrary to some of the criticism I've seen, I thought the family's grief over the death of their nine-year-old son and grandson was handled beautifully and believably, while the deeper reasons for Maura's guilt were gradually and smartly unveiled. Her assessment of the inevitable disappointments, slights, and temptations ...more
Sep 17, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it
To be sure, I thought Those We Love Most was going to be a vanity project by yet ANOTHER famous person. But it wasn't. Lee is a writer by trade and in some ways, her stories remind me of Jennifer Weiner's stories: tales of normal people and how they respond to life. The characters are flawed, but not desperately so, but they are relatable. You might know Maura or Margaret or have seen them in the grocery store.

Woodruff knows about loss, having dealt with the issue with her husband's TBI. And in
Dec 17, 2012 Bonnie marked it as dnf
Those We Love Most was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Hyperion.
Expected publication: September 11th 2012 by Hyperion

Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

I was able to see very early on in this story that this was not the book for me, thus no rating.

Those We Love Most tells the tale of Maura Corrigan who was walking her son to school one day, wasn't paying attention for an apparently selfish reason, when her son James is hit by a car and dies a few days later. Told from the poi
Feb 12, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was ok
It is as if the author wrote this novel as a homework assignment for her author writing club - insert plot A here, add twist B here, add element C here and voila - you get an "A" on following directions. The story is competently written. That's the best I can say of it. But the author seems only to be telling a story versus living the tale or inviting the reader to live it. As far as the content - it seems to be a distillation of 10 or so "Can This Marriage Be Saved" columns. There are no ...more
May 20, 2013 Kathryn marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads
I really like Lee Woodruff's books and am so thrilled to be getting this!
Sep 09, 2012 Diane rated it it was amazing
I love a book that has such powerful emotional honesty that you just can't help becoming invested in it. CBS This Morning journalist Lee Woodruff's first novel, Those We Love Most, is one of those books.

This is a multigenerational story, about Maura, wife and mom to three young children, and her mother Margaret. A moment of inattention by Maura forever changes their lives, one that will cause her to feel incredible guilt and pain. The tragedy that follows is compounded by the secret of betrayal
Sep 19, 2012 Christina rated it it was ok
This is the tragic story of the loss of a child and how the family deals with the aftermath. When 9-year old James dies suddenly, his family must deal with the loss in different ways. His grandparents are crushed by the loss of James, but also must deal with the horrible pain that their daughter is in. Maura and Pete must each deal with James' death as his parents. Maura must also explore if she had a role in the accident.

While this was an interesting story, I wasn't really gripped by it. The pr
Aug 08, 2012 Inga rated it it was amazing
My review:

I met Lee Woodruff on the BEA2012 author signing and I really had high expectations to Those We Love Most. Somehow I had an idea that it is an enjoyable read. Those We Love Most is a book about marriage, loss of your child, survival and last but not least about family values.


Meet Maura, a wife and a mother who walks on the street on a wonderful June day. She is walking her son to school and for one moment where she is not paying attention, car hits her son James so unfortunately,
Patrice Hoffman
*Won ARC through a Goodreads Giveaway*

This novel is the first fictional work of author Lee Woodruff and it is an emotional rollercoaster. The story centrals four people, Maura, Margaret, Pete, and Roger. Their whole world is turned upside down after the death of Maura and Pete's son, James. Margaret and Roger are Maura's parents. One moment of neglect threatens to fracture the relationships they have with one another. I felt this was a tear-jerker at first and I was thinking game on since I love
Jul 08, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it
Those We Love Most
Lee Woodruff

My " in a nutshell" summary...

A family suffers an unbearable loss...we are witness to the repercussions of this tragedy on every family member.

My thoughts after reading this book...

I must say that this book was sad but at no time did I ever want to stop reading it. It was beautifully written. Feelings were described in such a profound way that I felt every part of this story. The sadness of Maura, the coolness of Margaret, the less than stellar personality of Rog
Aug 05, 2012 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it
Who could predict that on such a seductively beautiful June day, the worst would happen? Filled with a secret tucked away and causing her heart to brim over, Maura Corrigan could never have known that, before day's end, her life would change in unimaginable ways.

As we watch the events unfold, our hearts catch, knowing what lies ahead and unable to avert the disaster.

A death in the family is probably the most shattering event in life, and its after effects continue to ripple outward for months an
Sue Seligman
Sep 27, 2012 Sue Seligman rated it it was amazing
I read this book because one of my favorite novelists, Adriana Trigiani, recommended it on her facebook page, and she wrote a blurb on the book cover. This is a realistic novel about the effects that a tragedy has on an entire extended family. Early in the novel, Maura is walking her two sons and an toddler daughter to the local elementary school. Her oldest child is riding his bike, and when he is a bit further up the street, she takes her eyes off him for a minute, and their lives are changed ...more
Author: Lee Woodruff
Published by: Hyperion
Age Recommended: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Book Blog For: GMTA
Rating: 4


"Those We Love Most" by Lee Woodruff was really a powerful read. This was a read of tragedy not just for one family but a extended family. This was a very realistic read that could happen to any of us...a death of a child. Yes, this novel will be of 'loss, grief, love and two families who are really suffering from it all. We find the mother had been having a affair, while th
Bonnie Brody
Sep 15, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it really liked it
Those We Love Most is an entertaining novel filled with family secrets, dysfunction, illness and death. The story starts out with Maura, who watches her son James get run over and is not able to do anything to stop it. She is tortured. Her marriage is in trouble as her husband Pete is drinking excessively. The only place she can think of to gofor help is outside the parameters of her marriage and that would only make things worse.

Margaret is Maura's mother and she is married to Roger. She knows
Aug 05, 2012 Valentina rated it really liked it
I love literary fiction. There is something so satisfying about the beautiful writing stitched along a complex, emotional plot. This book is a wonderful example of this genre.
This is, of course, a character-driven book much more than a plot-driven one, though this does not mean there isn’t a good structure around the lovely writing. In this case, it’s seeing how an entire family falls apart and recovers from the death of one of its members. There is always a danger with these kinds of books of
Aug 28, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This story begins with the sudden death of a boy named James. It focuses mainly on James’ parents and grandparents’ lives in the year following this tragedy. I thought the characters could easily be someone I know, real and believable. They are people who re-examine some of their bad decisions in the wake of this accident. As they move through the grieving process, we see them change and grow. The author’s own emotional journey when dealing with her husband’s traumatic brain injury has given her ...more
Melissa Foster
Sep 13, 2012 Melissa Foster rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from Adriana Trigiani as an advanced review copy, and I enjoyed the story. This is a quiet book, not a book that leaves you ripping through the pages, but rather a book that touches you in a quieter fashion, tweaking your fears and insecurities enough that it whispers for you to keep reading. This is a story of what seems like a perfect family from the outside, yet each member is living with their own secrets and inner turmoil, and their ability to climb out of ...more
Lisa B.
Sep 09, 2012 Lisa B. rated it really liked it
My Thoughts

The author did a excellent job of writing a story about loss, grief, love and family. I liked the way we get to know the four main characters in depth. Not only do they have to deal with a tragic event, but each has private issues to overcome. While the basis of the story involves sadness, ultimately it is about faith and perseverance.

Ms. Woodruff’s writing style is detailed and eloquent. While I have not read any of her non-fiction books, I thought this was a good first endeavor into
Christine Matthews
Jul 08, 2012 Christine Matthews rated it really liked it
I read the pre-release of this - she expresses the feelings of grief, loss, guilt and fear very well - One can really grasp the enormity of these emotions after reading the book. I am curious what made her write to this topic and how she developed such insight. Looking forward to her visit to SCPL later this year.
Kelly Hager
Sep 15, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it
The novel centers around Maura, her husband Pete and her parents, Margaret and Roger. Neither marriage is as strong as it could be, but both are going along more or less fine. And then something horrible happens (I will say what in my review, because I think it's important for some to know what that is, as it could be a trigger event) and all four of them are tested in ways they wouldn't have thought possible.

In an interview in the back of the book, Lee Woodruff says that the book isn't so much
Jo Barton
Nov 22, 2012 Jo Barton rated it really liked it
The complexities of family life are expertly explored in this emotional story which focuses primarily on a family tragedy and then on the aftermath of coping with immense loss. The poignant vulnerability of each family member is heartbreaking to witness and yet the strength of purpose demonstrated by some of the central characters is both poignant and uplifting. From the beginning it is evident that this family at the heart of the story could quite simply be any family, defenceless, scared and ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Aug 27, 2015 Blodeuedd Finland rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
When I want to read something with a good story, or good writing, I do try to go for fiction. Not that other genres do not have this, of course they do, but lit fic is just different from the other books I read.

And here it was sad, and made you think...

Maura is walking her kids to school when she looks away for a sec and her son dies in a traffic accident. She blames her self, and she is drifting away from her husband. Her husband Pete who drinks too much, and later drinks even more to drown his
Oct 23, 2012 Missy rated it it was ok
Just received a free copy of this book from the publisher (first-reads promotion). I'm just a few pages in, but so far so good! =====>

So I finished this about a week ago and I decided to wait to write my review because I couldn't decide if I liked it. Turns out I didn't. In fact, it made me crazy. While the writing was good, I really didn't like the story line. I just couldn't get excited about a book full of super selfish people who suddenly find themselves completely unprepared to deal with
Sep 12, 2012 Charlotte rated it really liked it

Those We Love Most is every parent's worst nightmare come to life. Lee Woodruff has written such a realistic novel that it will make your heart skip a beat in several instances. As we follow Maura and her family you see that neither her marriage nor her parents are as strong as they lead everyone to believe. I really like how the author made her characters flawed, it just added to the authenticity of the story. I also really enjoyed how she included the bo
Lisa A. Carlson
Jan 22, 2013 Lisa A. Carlson rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sophisticated readers
Recommended to Lisa A. by: on year end list of best books
Shelves: fiction
We learn things immediately about the Corrigan family. They are perpetually flawed and struggle with the things we all may experience. Raising children, infidelity, loss and how to keep long-term relationships fresh and vital. As the story progresses some of the characters will surprise you with growth and natural appropriate anger over life events. I think the Corrigan's represent many families where roles are often determined early and stay. There are always things not spoken of even when ...more
Rebecca Harrison
Jun 23, 2012 Rebecca Harrison rated it liked it
THOSE WE LOVE MOST by Lee Woodruff was a good book. I am not usually one to read non-mystery books but I am trying to broaden my horizons. The Munson family is very like most families out there in that they love each other and stick together in good times and bad. The times are bad after daughter, Maura's son is hit and killed by a car on the way to school with his mother, Maura in tow. Maura looks away and James, the son, rides his bike into the street in the path of an oncoming teen driver. ...more
Erika Robuck
Sep 17, 2012 Erika Robuck rated it it was amazing
I usually only review historical fiction, but I opened the first chapter of Those We Love Most to skim it, and suddenly I was completely drawn into this complex and vivid novel of loss, secrets, and redemption. Told from multiple points of view in a family broken by accidents and their own mistakes, Those We Love Most, is an emotional journey navigating the rough landscape of life. I loved each of its flawed characters, and in spite of the difficult subject matters tackled, closed its pages with ...more
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In addition to Those We Love Most (Sept 2012) Lee Woodruff is co-author of New York Times bestselling In an Instant & author of a series of essays Perfectly Imperfect. She is correspondent for CBS This Morning and has written numerous articles for Ladies Home Journal, Redbook & Parade. She & her husband co founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation which assists wounded veterans & their ...more
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