by Amy Harmon
Genre: women’s fiction; romance
5 / 5
How many times have you taken something apart, then put it back together, only to discover that you left out a small part or two? “It will work fine,” you tell yourself.
Only it doesn’t work fine. Those small parts you deemed so easily disposable turned out to be integral. WIthout it, function ceases. Everything falls apart.
This is the core idea behind Amy Harmon’s exquisitely beautiful The Smallest Part. The titular piece in this tale is Mercedes, “the girl who didn’t get the guy,” as the blurb describes her. Shorter than her best friends Noah and Cora, Mercedes is the small part who isn’t so much discarded as she is set aside. When Cora asks Mercedes if she loves Noah, Mercedes denies that she does, effectively setting herself off to the side. Through Noah’s and Mercedes’s points of view, you come to see how this happened — why Noah and Cora wound up together. Yet there will be no happy, fulfilling relaitonship without its smallest part. Both Norah and Cora need Mercedes.
Harmon plays on a riff of a song that Mercedes sings, “A La Puerta del Cielo,” in which “little angels” come shoeless to heaven. Mercedes has a thing about shoes. At five-two, she wears sky-high heels in an attempt to give herself some height. Knowing her love of shoes, Noah gifts them to her on more than one occasion. Harmon draws a distinct line between “little angels” and Mercedes, whose care and devotion to her best friends is nothing short of angelic.
But who takes care of Mercedes? Harmon infuses her story with a sense of spirituality, that those “little angels” look out for us in ways we can’t understand. You are never alone, Harmon wants you to know, not even when you feel abandoned. Trust that not even your smallest parts are forgotten or unprotected.
Noah and Cora also need watching over, too, albeit in different ways. Fortunately for them, their smallest part is steadfast. Mercedes is there for them, even in their darkest hours. But as she learns so painfully, you can only help those who let you help them.
This is a stand alone novel, although if you have read The Law of Moses and/or The Story of David, you have previously met some of the characters in this book. I have not read either of those books, but I want to – I need to – because I can’t get enough of Amy Harmon’s storytelling.
“In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie.
“Are you in love with Noah, Mercedes?” Cora asked. “I mean . . . I know you love him. You’ve been friends forever. We all have. But are you in love with him?”
If it had been anyone else—anyone—Mercedes would have stuck out her chest, folded her skinny arms, and let her feelings be known. She would have claimed him. But it was Cora. Brave, beautiful, broken Cora, and Cora loved Noah too.
So Mercedes lied.
And with that lie, she lost him. With that lie, she sealed her fate.
She was the best friend, the bridesmaid, the godmother, the glue. She was there for the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs, the biggest moments and the smallest parts. And she was there when it all came crashing down.
This is the tale of the girl who didn’t get the guy.
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About the Author:
Amy Harmon has written ten novels – including the USA Today Bestsellers, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as The Law of Moses, Infinity + One and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her recent release, The Bird and the Sword, is a Goodreads Choice finalist in Fantasy. FROM SAND AND ASH, her historical romance, will be released via Lake Union Publishing on December 1st. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at www.authoramyharmon.com.
Review copy provided from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.