I’m not really sure how to review this book. I wanted to like it, and to some extent I did.
We’re first introduced to Maggie. She’s a 40-something divorcee who’s faced a lot of turmoil over the last decade. The end of a marriage, and the death of both parents. Where the sickness of one caused her to move back “home.” Although this is not actually where she grew up, it was family cabin that was passed down. I feel from her internal thoughts that we’re lead to believe that a short relationship in college with a man(Gil) she cared for ended, or didn’t begin, because of lack of feeling on his part. We find that this was not just a fling, but had been one of her best friends, one a close group of friends. We also find out that the reason it didn’t work out was not due to unreciprocated feelings. I feel like we might have been misled a little from her point of view, maybe to garner a sense of sympathy.
When this friend turns up as a guest of one of the members of this close group (all others had been invited) for an informal reunion at her cabin, she is a bit upset as this turns out to be an obvious setup. Very soon though they’re both flirting with one another. They hold hands, share some kisses, and yet it seems that she is still torn up about what to do. Even after he declares his love for her, after they have sex, she is still waffling. He confesses he’s always loved her, and supposedly she has loved him too, but still she isn’t willing to openly acknowledge her feelings.
I don’t pretend to know how her past has affected her, but here is this golden opportunity and she doesn’t think she’s willing to try? Never mind she’s afraid what it will do to the group’s friendship. It sounds like there hasn’t really been one if she’s had almost nothing to do with him in 20 years. Was he the only one excluded? Or did she only deal with the others on an individual basis? I felt angry with her for her lack of a decision. Trust was brought up several times, but that seemed, to me, to be a cop out.
I felt such heartache while reading this story. It reminded me of reading Judy Blume’s titles: Wifey, Smart Women, and Summer Sisters. I’m glad I read it, but the turmoil and sense of loss are almost too much to bear. I ache for these people. For the loss of the love, maybe a loss of innocence.
Also, I found the narrative odd. We’re seeing things through Maggie’s view from the beginning, and a few times later on from Gil’s, but we also have where they’re being observed. For me that made the flow weird. I mean one second I’m hearing an internal thought, and they next it’s them being observed by an unseen, omniscient party. I also felt like the book was really longer than needed. A few scenes seemed drawn out.
I know it seems like I didn’t like much, but overall I was just unhappy with Maggie I guess. Maybe I was supposed to be torn, or maybe my own feelings are influencing my rating too much. I liked the cast of characters. Her friends, her neighbor, John(who shows up in Ready to Fall, which I’m currently reading), the people on the island and even ghosts of the past. I liked the camaraderie between the friends, and the very real fact that friendship is not always pretty. I did laugh out loud a couple times at the end of the book during conversations between Gil and Maggie. I also liked the sweetness between these two during the weekend at the cabin.
I will be reading the follow-up book, Ready to Fall. I would not hesitate to read this author again even for another book/series. I love to read and think that every story deserves to be told even if not everyone likes it.