Sublime! Reading one of Kristan Higgins books is like gaining confidence in humankind again, believing in the goodness of people, knowing there are good ones around. In the beginning of the book, I thought that this character was a masochist, outlining all the people who were mean to her., all the bad things that happened to her Yet, as the story unfolds, we see a character who is so strong and loving and giving and who wins everyone to her side by sheer loving force.
The beginning of the book is quite painful. Dr. Nora Stuart was having a normal successful day at the hospital, where she practices as a gastroenterologist. She has a very handsome boyfriend, Bobby, who is the ER doctor and king in his domain. Lately their love live has been doldrum and she’s feeling sorta grey about it. Then she’s called to a consult in ER, then after her consult she’s invited by Bobby and his ER gang for pizza and on the way to get the pies, she’s hit by a van. Once in the ER, between groggy and conscious, she hears her boyfriend hit upon the attending nurse. All her feelings coalesce into needing to go home, so she dumps the boyfriend, gets a long sick leave due to her many concussions and fractures, and heads back home, to Scupper island, offshore from Maine. Once she’s back home, she has several goals, get closer to her sister, improve her relation with her mother, and get to know her beloved niece.
When she gets back home, she finds her flighty sister is in jail, her niece is in a permanent black angry mood, and her mother is as dour as ever. She also decided she wants to find out what happened to her father. She and her sister had a magical childhood, where their father was this fantastic figure, full of fun and games, and their mother was the voice of doom, always ruining their fun. When Nora was eleven years old, her father left and never came back. Her sister turned angry and stayed like that. They were never close and loving as before, but Nora always maintained that love for her sister. The mother is expressionless, she does her duty but that’s all. No loving gestures, no welcoming posture. It was a dismal homecoming but Nora is perpetually optimist and determined.
What happens during the course of this book is due to the sheer loving force that Nora emits. She is kind, considerate, generous, and persistent. She was a good student and worked hard for her grades. She competed with (brother of Sully) and she was so determined to win the scholarship that would lead her away from home that she did a little trickery by finishing an additional work and sort of obliterating the assignment on the blackboard. She won the scholarship over Luke and she always felt guilty. He was so angry over losing that he went on a drunk bender and had an accident where his brother Sullivan was seriously wounded.
Once back in Scupper island, she meets Sully and his daughter and they struck up a friendship. The love part of this book is very subtle and grows slow. The family part of the book, the development of Nora’s relation with her niece, and the other friendships she starts with the doctor practice she joins temporarily are the trademark of what makes this author’s books so heartfelt and fulfilling. Conflicts with Luke and his mother, who blame Nora for Luke’s failures in life add color and tension to the book. Great pace, great storytelling, great characters, some hysterically funny scenes, the mixture of sadness and hilarity, it all works to make a fantastic read. This author is an automatic buy for me, always.