What Could Be Saved by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz | Atria Books {Book Review}

{Thank you to Atria Books for my gifted copy}

What Could Be Saved by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

What Could Be Saved by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz


Book Summary:

Washington, DC, 2019: Laura Preston is a reclusive artist at odds with her older sister Bea as their elegant, formidable mother slowly slides into dementia. When a stranger contacts Laura claiming to be her brother who disappeared forty years earlier when the family lived in Bangkok, Laura ignores Bea’s warnings of a scam and flies to Thailand to see if it can be true. But meeting him in person leads to more questions than answers.

Bangkok, 1972: Genevieve and Robert Preston live in a beautiful house behind a high wall, raising their three children with the help of a cadre of servants. In these exotic surroundings, Genevieve strives to create a semblance of the life they would have had at home in the US—ballet and riding classes for the children, impeccable dinner parties, a meticulously kept home. But in truth, Robert works for American intelligence, Genevieve finds herself drawn into a passionate affair with her husband’s boss, and their serene household is vulnerable to unseen dangers in a rapidly changing world and a country they don’t really understand.

Alternating between past and present as all of the secrets are revealed, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable novel about a family shattered by loss and betrayal, and the beauty that can exist even in the midst of brokenness.

Publication Date:

January 12th, 2021


Family Drama Fiction

Purchase Your Copy:

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Review:

What Could be Saved

Family dramas make up some of my very favorite books of all time(The Most Fun We Ever Had and The Dearly Beloved, for example), but like many readers, I had a hard time getting into these types of deeper dive novels during the past year.

When a glimmer of much-needed hope finally felt like it was indeed on the horizon, I decided it was time to try again. And then I saw some raving reviews from some of my most trusted book sources for What Could Be Saved, I knew it was a sign.

Would Could Be Saved

I decided to do my tried and true reading approach of alternating reading and listening to this title, and wow. If you want to get completely engrossed in a genre like this, this is the way to go. While this book is hard to describe in a sentence or two, What Could Be Saved gives us a deeper look into a family that looks beautiful on the outside but when the curtains are pulled back, layers of turmoil are exposed.

Told through dual timelines, present-day in Washington D.C. and Bangkok in the 1970s, this novel quickly immerses you in the Preston family and their many layers. Laura, the main character is the youngest sibling and every part of her life has been shaped by the disappearance of her brother, Phillip, 40+ years ago.

What Could Be Saved

(image from American Booksellers Association)

While there is a mystery to this story, the unraveling of these multifaceted and imperfect family members is just as fascinating. The story of a family torn apart and the burdens they still carry today highlighted one of my favorite parts of reading, the complexities of being human, and the ever-present question, is there ever really just one person at fault?

The classicism, of the women living and working with the Preston family in Thailand, added a whole other dimension to this storyline and was one of the most powerful parts of the storyline for me. This story is just beautifully written, utterly absorbing and one I will never forget.

Thank you to Atria Books for my gifted copy. I purchased my audiobook copy through LibroFM and highly recommended the narrator Lisa Flannagan if you decide to go that reading route.

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