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The Ones Who Matter Most

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  67 reviews
From the acclaimed author of Splinters of Light and Pack Up the Moon comes a beautiful novel about two very different women who are about to get a second chance at creating a family...

After her husband dies unexpectedly, Abby Roberts comes across something startling: wedding photographs of him with another woman, along with pictures of a baby boy. Shocked, Abby does
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by NAL
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is yet another lovely book by Rachael Herron. Emotional awkwardness that leaves you wondering at the end. The story isn't complete but the book is. I understood all these characters. They are real people to me as I've met these people in my own life. Touching and loving with a huge dish of confusion thrown in. Real emotions that real people can understand.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What I love most about Rachael Herron's books (and I love a lot about them, have read every single one thankyouverymuch) is the undeniable generosity and empathy she has for her characters. They live, they breathe, they love, they fuck up, and it's all utterly real and compelling on the page. The Ones Who Matter Most explores friendship, family, and loss in exactly this spirit of clear-eyed compassion that I've come to expect from Herron. It's lovely, satisfying reading.
Valerie Ihsan
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sigh. I loved this.

The best book I’ve read from Rachael Herron. I loved the characters. I loved their lives and their troubles and their angst and their love. A SUPERB read.
Viviane Crystal
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Abby Roberts is beyond infuriated when she discovers that her husband, Scott, had a vasectomy after she had three miscarriages. After uttering four words to him, he slams into the bathroom when Abby hears a crash and then silence. Ten minutes later, Scott is dead, the victim of a massive heart attack. The feelings that race through Abby’s heart and head in the days that follow defy description.
Imagine her shock anew when she finds pictures that reveal Scott was once married to Fern and had a
Lis Carey
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Abby is a new widow, with somewhat conflicted feelings. She had recently discovered that after her third miscarriage, Scott had had a vasectomy, while continuing to pretend they were seriously trying for a child. Feeling hurt and betrayed, she had just told him she wanted a divorce.

He walked away, went into the bathroom, and died of an aneurysm.

Fern is a struggling single mother of an eleven-year-old boy. Her husband, Matty's father, left her, simply left without a word, a couple of hours after
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2016
"The Ones Who Matter Most" is the story of Abby who wants freedom from her husband. When he dies suddenly, Abby realizes how much she didn't know about him and how much he had hidden. He had an entire family that Abby knew nothing about. Fern and Matias were abandoned and have always been jealous of the other woman: Abby. When Abby forcible inserts herself into their lives, they are shaken. This is a story of family and secrets. Sometimes family is not the ones we are born with but the ones we ...more
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In the hands of a lesser storyteller, Fern and Abby would be sterotypes whose love for the same man would be a cliche. What Rachael Herron does with the story of Abby and Fern is to show us conflicted, edgy characters who might never have met had Scott not died right after Abby told him she wanted a divorce. No, he had not been cheating on Abby - at least, not in the usual way. By having a vasectomy in secret, and refusing to adopt, he had cheated her of the child she desperately desired.

Charlotte Lynn
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Ones Who Matter Most is a perfect book club book. There is so much I want to discuss here.

The characters relationship is interesting. Fern is raising a child on her own and then poof the boy’s father’s new wife appears in their life. Abby, the ex’s new wife, and Matty, the son, start a relationship with Fern’s knowledge. It is a weird triangle that works well for everyone. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. There was no way a relationship like that would work, except it did. Their
Susan Swanson
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Took this book along with me on a business trip which gave me lots of airport and airplane time to read. I finished the book before the last flight segment. The only hard part was keeping my tears in check while on the airplane. I hate to make a spectacle of myself in public. I really liked this book. The characters really rang true. The relationships seemed plausible. The kids acted like kids and the adults acted like adults. The families acted like families. And that's what the book was really ...more
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In this novel, yet again, Rachael Herron has written about characters who are so three-dimensional that the reader is left bereft when the novel ends--I wanted to get to know them even more, to follow them further along their journeys! She is the queen of character, is what I'm trying to say. The characters are flawed, sometimes angry and ugly in their feelings, sometimes generous, compassionate and beautiful. You know, the way humans are. The story gripped me, and I felt such anguish and hope ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Yes, read the book in one day. It was a great read, well written and really made me think about some things in my life! What more could you ask from a book. Check out some of her other books as well.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I adore the "found family" trope, especially when the characters are all as wonderful as these characters are. It's a very sweet, heart-warming story, and although I wish the epilogue had dealt more with (view spoiler), I suppose the ambiguous ending allows me to come up with my own ending, ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This has been the perfect cozy-up-to-read book for me over the past several days. Funny, real, humanly flawed characters doing their best with what life deals them. Good stories like this are a huge comfort.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book and premise. Would have rated 5 stars, however couldn't get the niggling thought that none of these people realized Social Security would have been available for the child. The story, however, was quite compelling.

I received this book free from Goodreads First Reads.
Lee Parker
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this for free through Goodreads First Reads

This was a really good story. I only gave it 4 stars because Abby being totally neurotic took me out of the story sometimes. It could be a bit overwhelming. Overall really good though.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heartwarming and hopeful story of love. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
It was just ok. It wasn't very captivating and the ending left you hanging.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely book!
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, read-in-2016
This is my second Rachael Herron book and I'm becoming quite the fan. The first book of Herron’s I read, SPLINTERS OF LIGHT, was one I really enjoyed, covering the delicate topic of Early Onset Alzheimers.

THE ONES WHO MATTER MOST will likely be a favorite of 2016 for me. Herron takes a story with an interesting plot and engages the reader from nearly the first page. This tale of friendship didn’t happen easily but the end result will have you grabbing a Kleenex and wishing you could have
Stevie Carroll
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

I have a sneaky love for books about women who are flung together by the actions of a man who wronged them, but then go on to work together and forge a new unit. I also like books that show how it is possible to choose your family as well as your friends, no matter that popular sayings might tell us otherwise. This book achieves both.

Abby is planning to leave her husband. Not because he’s feckless or conventionally unfaithful – to her
Liberty Kontranowski
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Ah, yes. The secret family plotline. Always interesting to see how characters get themselves into these situations and how it affects those around them. Not surprisingly, it usually affects them PROFOUNDLY.

This can definitely be said for Abby Roberts. Not only does her husband up and die right in their bathroom, but he also has some very bony skeletons hanging in his closet. And poor, innocent Abby gets the brunt of his deception.

For whatever reason, Abby is purging stuff from the house
Kathryn Laceby
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed at Novel Escapes

The plot in The Ones Who Matter Most held some surprises from the beginning with Abby’s relationship with her husband and I really liked the strength that Rachael Herron strove for in her characters from the start. Abby was a woman who knew her mind, she may have been slightly nervous but her heart was certainly telling her that her marriage was over- she just wasn’t expecting any of the things that happened next.

I immediately liked Abby, she was obviously
Kristi (Books and Needlepoint)
Sometimes it is really hard to find the right words for a review. I really enjoyed reading this book. We no more meet Abby when her husband dies. She had just asked him for a divorce, so she is confused as to what she is feeling. Is it grief? Is it relief? She had really wanted a child with her husband - she felt that would make her family complete. Her parents were gone and she had no siblings. The closest thing she had to family was a surrogate mom, a lady who had been her mom's best friend. ...more
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was immediately drawn into this story of two women trying to hold their heads above water. One, Abby, is newly widowed and finds out her husband was hiding another life from her. The other, Fern, drives a city bus to support her young son, ex father-in-law, and an elderly woman who lives with them. She’s not even close to making ends meet so when her monthly check from her ex doesn’t arrive she doesn’t know what she’ll do. When Abby finds out about Fern she feels compelled to get to know her.

Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Ones Who Matter Most was such a good book! I read this in one day because I just had to know what was going to happen with everyone.

Abby was such an interesting character. She had a fairly privileged lifestyle, yet seemingly wasn't really affected by it, continuing with her gardening and herbal remedy making. She genuinely cared for people and showed it.

Fern, on the other hand, was in my mind, a typical scrapper, someone that has always had to fight for everything she's gotten and works her
Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

Two women are the focus of the book and when the book begins neither has any clue about the other and soon their lives will be completely intertwined. Abby wants to divorce her husband and when she delivers the news tragedy hits. Fern is a single mom who is barely keeping it together and when Abby enters the picture there may be hope for a better future.

There is one aspect of the storyline that I didn't really love, but to avoid spoilers I don't
Kai Ellis
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. I thought all the characters were really interesting. These were two really strong women who had created lives for themselves and who thought they knew their place in their own life when they suddenly found themselves in a rather unusual situation. Their story and how they each reacted as well as their personal journey of discovery really captured me. Although a part of me thought it a little implausible at times, the more I came to know Abby and Fern, the more real and ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book through a goodreads giveaway.

The story takes us on an emotional journey via the two main characters – Abby and Fern. I love that they aren’t perfect. I love that they have the courage to face their flaws and try to fix the ones that bother them, while accepting the ones that don’t. I also love that the story didn’t really end in a nice, neat little package. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending left me contemplating not only what could happen to the
Melanie Holden
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rachael Herron has the most amazing ability to weave characters and words together to make stories that touch you in such unexpected ways. I get so pulled in to the journey the characters are taking that I somehow forget that I’m not really a part of it. This was the most wonderful story. Abby’s character starts as a victim as does Fern’s character, albeit in very different ways. The way they both grow and change over the course of the book is so hopeful and uplifting. I think that is what I ...more
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