Ethan Joella: A Quiet Life

This rreview is written with thanks to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read and review A Quiet Life.


From the author of the critically acclaimed debut, A Little Hope comes an enormously powerful and life-affirming novel about three individuals whose lives intersect in unforeseen ways. Set in a close-knit Pennsylvania suburb in the grip of winter, A Quiet Life follows three people grappling with loss and finding a tender wisdom in their grief.  Chuck Ayers used to look forward to nothing so much as his annual trip to Hilton Head with his wife, Cat. Now, just months after Cat’s death, Chuck finds that he can’t let go of her things, as he struggles to pack for a trip he can’t imagine taking without her. Ella Burke delivers morning newspapers and works at a bridal shop to fill her days while she anxiously awaits news—any piece of information—about her missing daughter. Ella adjusts to life in a new apartment and answers every call on her phone, hoping her daughter will reach out one day. After the sudden death of her father, Kirsten Bonato set aside her veterinary school aspirations, finding comfort in the steady routine of working at an animal shelter. But as time passes, old dreams and new romantic interests begin to surface—and Kirsten finds herself at another crossroads. In this beautifully crafted and profoundly moving novel, three parallel narratives converge in poignant and unexpected ways, as each character bravely presses onward, trying to recover something they have lost. Emotionally riveting and infused with hope, A Quiet Life celebrates humanity in the midst of uncertainty.


A Quiet Life is not the type of book I usually read, but I am so glad I did. Ethan Joella is a wonderfully poetic writer and I was completely mesmerised by his prose. His ability to describe feelings and abstract concepts in a way that resonates so well with me is amazing and I was completely enthralled from start to finish. It was often frustrating having to wait another day for the next stave! 

The novel is told from the perspectives of Chuck, Ella and Kirsten. On paper, these three people have very different personalities and contrasting lives, but I really wanted to know how their paths would cross. By introducing the characters in this way, the author is able to give us a really clear picture of them and I really took them all to my heart. In addition to the three central characters, the supporting characters such as Grayson and Natasha are also well developed and brought to life on the page. 
Ethan Joella touches on a number of themes throughout A Quiet Life, and I love that he does so in such a gentle way. It makes the novel so emotional – I was often close to tears as I was reading – and it gives the reader many things to think about for long after they have turned the final page

A Quiet Life is available from Amazon.

One thought on “Ethan Joella: A Quiet Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s