We Begin at the End

We Begin at the End

eBook - 2021
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An Instant New York Times Bestseller

"A vibrant, engrossing, unputdownable thriller that packs a serious emotional punch. One of those rare books that surprise you along the way and then linger in your mind long after you have finished it."
—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Four Winds

Right. Wrong. Life is lived somewhere in between.

Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Rules are for other people. She is the fierce protector of her five-year-old brother, Robin, and the parent to her mother, Star, a single mom incapable of taking care of herself, let alone her two kids.
Walk has never left the coastal California town where he and Star grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he's still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. And he's in overdrive protecting Duchess and her brother.
Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released. And Duchess and Walk must face the trouble that comes with his return. We Begin at the End is an extraordinary novel about two kinds of families—the ones we are born into and the ones we create.

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.


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May 14, 2021

5 stars. Once in a while, a book comes along that just blows you away. This first time novel is one of them. Whitaker takes us on a journey with one of the most interesting characters in fiction, Duchess Day Radley, outlaw. Duchess will make you laugh and cry, she will break your heart with her story. Duchess is the daughter of troubled Star, a beauty who has been badly damaged by life. Duchess is also the older sister of Robin, who she loves beyond reason and protects. Duchess' life is full of tragedy and pain and when she acts out and commits an act in anger, she sends ripples out that touch so many people in her life in terrible ways. This is a really wonderful read and I loved all the characters. This is a mystery/thriller with a heart and a big story and it will take you along for the ride. I loved this book.

Apr 30, 2021

“He’d come so far, he would get to the finish, even if it cost him his soul.”

Poor Walk. And poor everyone in this book, especially Duchess Day Radley, Outlaw, “A girl on her way to right a lifetime of wrongs.”

Part Four of this story is titled “Heartbreaker” and let me tell you, that could be the title for this whole book. Heck, at the end of chapter 48, tears were rolling down my cheeks. Very well written, but it tore the heart right outta me. After reading this, I'm spent.

Apr 20, 2021

Have you ever been the only person in a room who liked or didn't like something? That's kind of how I feel about this book, except that I liked it very much. I just don't understand why so many people LOVE it.

Here's the deal. For me, the mystery storyline is just not that great, and I didn't like how it wrapped up. I loved Walk. I loved Duchess. I liked the setting. Anyway, I know I'm in the minority on this one, and I'm okay with that.

Apr 18, 2021

The thing is I almost gave up on this book at page 100 and then BOOM it got me! Word by word the author weaves a story and unforgettable characters who will cause you to laugh, cry and want to shake them by their shoulders. It has beauty and elegance and a mystery that you take in as it builds up to the crackerjack surprise in the box of what accomplished writing holds.

mko123 Mar 27, 2021

I just finished this epic story of profound love and loss. I am overwhelmed by the range of feelings i have for these deeply flawed but soul-searching characters trying to make sense out of tragedy. This is now one of my all-time favorites, right up there with Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.

Mar 27, 2021

Excellent. I have no doubt this will be one of my favorites of 2021, if not #1.

DCLadults Mar 12, 2021

A New & Noteworthy fiction staff pick 2021. “There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.” – from the publisher. This is an intense, heartbreaking and, ultimately, uplifting book. This will still be at the top of my favorites list at the end of 2021.

Mar 10, 2021

I just turned the last page of this book and I am beyond words to describe my emotions. This story is sad, uplifting, and frightening all in one. Mr. Whitaker writes with deep feeling for his characters, especially a 13 year old girl and the brother she loves and protects. I can't say enough about this story except Don't Miss It. I will be thinking about Duchess, the Outlaw, for many days to come.

Mar 08, 2021

Giving this one of my rare 5 stars. Below are snippets from other reviewers that describe this book better than I am able to. Couldn’t put it down. Read it in a day and a half.

A police chief who never grew up and a girl who never had a childhood try to solve the murder of someone they love. Duchess, a rage-filled girl who is her brother’s tender, devoted caretaker, a beauty like her mother, and a fist-swinging fighter who introduces herself as “the outlaw Duchess Day Radley.” Kirkus Reviews

Two damaged children—one timid and sweet, the other foul-mouthed and furious—will break readers’ hearts in this well-plotted and perfectly-paced novel. If, like me, you love stories that kidnap your intended schedule because you can’t not keep turning the pages, then I wholeheartedly recommend Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End.”—Wally Lamb

With We Begin at the End, Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love—in all its different guises—wins. Jason @ HenryHolt.com

jabberbooky Dec 28, 2020

This book is heartbreaking but so well written. I had to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to be revealed next. I was rooting for Duchess and Robin all the way.

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