Women's Fiction Book Review | THE ONES WHO MATTER MOST by Rachael Herron

Genre: Women's Fiction
Author: Rachael Herron
Rating: 4.5 stars


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 something utterly impulsive: She embarks on a journey to discover the family her husband apparently left behind.

Money has always been tight for single mom Fern Reyes, and never tighter than now. But this month, in place of a child-support check, her ex’s pretty, privileged wife appears on her doorstep with far too many questions. Unfortunately, her young son is so taken with Abby that Fern doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

What begins as one woman’s search for truth becomes a deep bond forged between the unlikeliest of people, and the discovery that there are many ways to make a family—as long as you take care…


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 before her husband, Scott, is even in the ground. To me, this seemed like a way-too-convenient way for her to find his dirt. But that’s fine and forgivable. What’s not forgivable is Scott’s abandonment of his first family and the fact that he kept them a secret from Abby. Abby feels compelled to find these people and while I’m not sure that would be the first thing on my agenda mere days after my husband passed, I can see how she’d be curious.

When she meets Fern (Scott’s ex-wife) and Matty (Scott’s son with Fern), Abby is immediately drawn to them and wants to make them her own. Desperate? For sure. But again, Abby has such an innocent side to her that her freaky stalkerism is slightly understandable.

Fern, on the other hand, is a hard core, no-one-leaves, no-one-gets-in kind of woman. She’s fiercely protective of her family and works her tail off providing for them. I could relate to her in this way and was happy when she opened herself up to Abby and Gregory. Although a very bumpy ride to get her there, it was a nice plotline of character growth.

Speaking of character growth: Ms. Herron did an outstanding job developing every one of the characters in this book, right down to the grumpy science teacher and Tulip the dog. I applaud her for that because in a book that could have been too “trope-y” in plot, it was the characters that really made this story sparkle. She also did a great job with scene descriptions and it was easy to put myself right in the room, or yard, or onto the bus with these “people.”

This is the first book of Rachael Herron’s that I’ve read, but it won’t be my last. I love her voice, and she nailed almost all of the dialogue. There were a few situations that were a little cliché or a little too convenient, but overall, the story had an excellent progression and was a well-balanced and highly enjoyable Women’s Fiction read. The Ones Who Matter Most easily gets 4.5 stars!

Reviewer's Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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