Layla Hilding is a 35-year old elementary school music teacher who is recovering from her recent divorce. She’s still trying to get her equilibrium, come to terms with the choices she made during her ten-year marriage and determine what it is she wants for her life. Josh Summers is a 37-year old electrician and father of 5-year old Sasha. He’s in the middle of his divorce from his wife of twenty years (she was his high school sweetheart) and they share custody of their daughter. He’s clear he wants to end a marriage that wasn’t working for either of them but never envisioned being with anyone but Kimmy. Josh is comfortable with his direction but does long for some companionship. He sees Layla every morning when he drops Sasha off at school and a friendship begins to bloom.
This isn’t the kind of story with a lot of drama, angst or action. It’s one involving two adults trying to redefine their present while figuring out what their new futures are going to be. Before Layla married husband Liam, she was the lead singer in a local band that had quite a following in their small town of Rochester, Minnesota. She once had visions of being a rock star but somehow abandoned her dreams after getting married. Josh loved the life he and his wife had created but she never seemed to find her own footing or niche. It wasn’t his idea to leave but he agreed it was the right thing to do. Layla and Josh were two people who weren’t actively looking for someone, neither really ready to even explore that, but somehow settled into a friendship that gave each of them the space to find their individuality.
I adored both of these characters who never really understood how extraordinary they were in quiet ways. They were honest with themselves, which was mature and refreshing, and had no fear of being honest with each other. Layla’s musical spirit oozed out of the pages, her utter joy in performing hard to not experience. Josh chose his craft because he liked it and was comfortable in that choice, making no excuses for opting out of higher education. Both shoulder responsibility for the demise of their marriages, too. The story alternates between their points of view, with transitions in the middle of the present to past memories that were significant markers. It took a bit of an adjustment to follow along but I came to love it. I got to a point where the characters lives became so interesting I couldn’t put the book down. This is one of those thoughtful journeys with deep meaning without being heavily weighted. I loved being part of the exploration and experiencing how these two came to embrace themselves and each other.
- Release Date: November 9, 2021
- Page Numbers: 296
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
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(Thanks to to St. Martin’s Press for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)