Imagine if you fell in love with a great guy, and you have a truly good life with him, but then after one year of marriage he dies. You’re stricken by grief, but you go back home, and bit by bit put yourself back together. Eventually you open up to the idea that you can love again. You become engaged to a second great guy. Then the first guy phones. He’s miraculously alive, having endured some terrible things, and naturally, he wants to pick up where you left off. They’re both honourable.
This is the quandary facing Emma, who’s now running the family bookshop in Massachusetts.
Reid goes to a lot of trouble establishing that both men, and both relationships, are excellent. Never has the word “love” been so abundantly used. This is a well written book, and Emma’s quandary is intriguing. We do really care about how it will resolve, and the resolution is realistic. I just had a bit of trouble believing in the somewhat cloying wonderfulness of both relationships, though Reid does differentiate between them. It’s probably a book that will appeal to a younger, less jaded person than I am. On the other hand, there are marvellous touches. The nieces who become deaf, the good, tolerant parents, the mentions of travel, the feel for landscape etc. I enjoyed The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo much more. It’s a grittier book.