This is not the kind of book I immediately grab. It has a flower, a butterfly and a teacup on the cover! Ugh! Really??? But a couple of trusted souls told me it was good for what ailed me. And up to the point I cranked this one up on the iPod, I'd listened to TWO Mo Hayder books back-to-back and my heart was feeling black and murky. (Honestly, Hayder is AMAZING but you don't really feel jubilant after you are done with her books.) So did this book fix me up? It sure did.
Synopsis: Cecelia Ross is a middle-aged, unmarried motivational speaker who does not always follow her own advice. She has recently lost her best friend to cancer, and is at odds with what comes next. One day she gets a postcard from "the one that got away", saying he still thinks of her. Hmmm. Who doesn't have a fantasy of the old boyfriend that was just in your life at the wrong time? Using this as a catalyst, Cecelia puts her career on hold, volunteers at a hospice facility, sells her house and rents a room in a house with three other women (a sous-chef, a doctor, and a lesbian advice columnist).
Cecelia has a certain way about her...she is warm, she is likable, she is a friend. Because of this, she bonds with a very sick young man at hospice and brings him out of his shell of depression. She is instantly friends with her roommates, and soon they are all planning a road trip that is intended to reinvent or resolve an issue that each of them have. This includes tracking down that love from long ago.
My thoughts: While I was reading this book, I kept thinking about that commercial where there is an "Easy" button you push when you need thinks to resolve with little fuss. I think it is Staples? Anyway, while the characters in this book each have their own struggles - a messy divorce, an angry daughter, a crappy job, a long-ago child given up for adoption, etc. - ultimately things work out perfectly. As in, a fantasy kind of perfect.
Not that I minded. I kept asking myself "what if Joni had gotten run over by a car?" or "what if Lise was sued by a patient and lost the house?". It wouldn't have worked. This was a book to soothe your ragged heart.
Cecelia was a wonderful main character, and there was chemistry with everyone that came into her life. Not every author can pull that off. Each player had so much personality and charisma, I wanted to be a part of their lives. In that way, this story so reminded me of a Marisa de los Santos or Erica Bauermeister book. It was precious. By the end, I didn't really care if things were too good to be true.
A few words about the audio production: Barbara Caruso was the narrator for this book, and while she was new to me, she has been around the block a time or two in this field (including the narrator for "Anne of Green Gables"). She had the perfect voice for Cecelia. She was obviously the right age, and she mirrored the warmth and easy nature of Cecelia's character. Wonderful performance.
Listening length: 7 hours and 5 minutes (240 pages)
4.5 out of 5 stars