The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore – Book Review

The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore
Published by Reagan Arthur Books, an imprint of Hachette

Ginny and William Owens have been enjoying their quiet house, but they are thrilled when their daughter Lillian brings her young children for a visit. Even so, things don’t seem quite right, with no sign of Lillian’s husband Tom who, Lillian is hiding from everyone, recently cheated on her. Not that there is much chance to dwell, when their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up unexpectedly and are forced to stay when Jane is ordered to bed rest. As if the house isn’t crowded enough with five adults and two children, the Owens’s youngest child Rachel shows up, her life similarly in tatters.

The Arrivals could have easily been one long pity party, in some ways it was one tragedy piled on top of another. Money problems, infidelity, high-risk pregnancies, all happening to a single family in a single summer. And yet, the love of the family and the way they interacted, together with Meg Mitchell Moore’s gorgeous prose combine to create a cohesive and moving novel.

Certain passages of The Arrivals are just so beautiful and true that they beg to be read, reread, shared:

Thinking about it, her throat caught. She felt embarrassed for herself the way you feel embarrassed for a child who falls down while she’s running toward a playground. So much optimism, dashed. -p. 25

What is particularly admirable about The Arrivals is how so many periods of life were represented so realistically: there is the young family, the expectant family, the empty nesters, the young person unsure where to turn. The characters have some poignant things to say about the bittersweet nature of of parenthood as well:

“But parents these days, it is different, I know it is. There’s a certain level of…dissatisfaction that wasn’t there when I was first a mother. Nobody worried about living up to some absurd ideal. There was no idea. But no, I don’t know. It just seems like you’re all laboring under this belief that you can have it all. I know that sounds like a cliche, but really that’s what it is.” -p. 159


After she hung up, Ginny told Lillian that it took every ounce of whatever she had – willpower, fortitude – not to disobey him. She could not stop thinking, she told Lillian, of how he looked on his first day of first grade, waiting at the bus stop with his back curving under his navy blue backpack and his eyes big and scared beneath his baseball cap. Only twice in all of Stephen’s life, said Ginny, had she felt such a need to protect him – that day, and today. -p. 287

The Arrivals is beautifully written, a must read for people in all stages of life, for anyone to whom family is important. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Author’s agent.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011

9 comments to The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore – Book Review

  • Kay

    I think the cover of this one is so pretty and I think anyone who has grown children might be interested in this book. Even if you’ve not experienced them “returning to the nest”, it’s easy to imagine. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • I just saw this one for this first time a couple of days ago. It sounds absolutely wonderful. Everyone is giving it rave reviews. Can’t wait to read it.

  • When I first saw this book, I immediately fell in love with the cover. It’s gorgeous! I then read the description and thought it sounds like a book I will enjoy. I love reading books about family relationships. It’s on my summer reading list.

  • Jen, thank you so much for the wonderful and thoughtful review. A few people have pointed out that playground passage to me as hitting home–so glad to hear you thought so too.



  • I’m just catching up from being away from almost all things book for about a month…. this book sounds like a great selection. I will be adding this to my list. Thanks for a good review!

  • Judy Knief

    I am just about finished with The Arrivals and it is wonderful. I am thinking, that you certainly nailed how the parents felt. I am a parent of grown children and I love to have them visit, but all those months. And then when the wash machine broke down, I thought, oh no that’s the final straw. I am adding you to my author list. Thanks for the great read.

  • Janet

    I loved this book – read it over the weekend. I do hope it’s not foretelling of my future! lol My kids are college age & currently home.
    I loved how real the characters were and one could relate to them. Will definitely read more by this author!

  • Thank you so much everyone for all of the comments. I am more in the “Lillian” stage of life but best of luck to everyone with empty nests that may or may not be filling up!

  • The Arrivals was my top read in May.

    Being in the “Ginny” stage of life, this line stung my heart because I know exactly how she felt: I’m sixty-three years old. This is what I’ve done with my life. They’re my masterpiece, and they’re broken.