Noelle Butterby is 32-years old but her life isn’t what she’d once imagined it would be when as a senior in high school she had talked about her dreams of the future in a letter placed in a time capsule. She’s just left the school event where the contents were opened and nothing about the whole experience lived up to her expectations, falling far short. The event ended early because of impending bad weather, which now has her stranded on the highway in the middle of a blizzard. Her phone battery dies and the heat in her car isn’t working well. At a standstill, Noelle gives in to the tears she’s been holding back until a man knocks on her window to see if she’s okay. She accepts Sam Attwood’s offer to sit with him in his car and recharge her phone. Those next eight hours will be the turning point in her life.
The word that kept popping into my head throughout this story was serendipity because it’s the only one to describe the series of encounters between Noelle and Sam that followed the one on that stranded highway. I was so enchanted by it all because I liked Noelle so much and got swept up in the possibility of Sam. These situations didn’t feel contrived as I could sense there was more going on than coincidence. Mucking things up were people from their pasts that neither was ready to let go of. Noelle’s life was also on pause because of her mother’s crippling anxiety that limited her daughter’s ability to pursue her own path. She was highly devoted to her mother, rightly so, but had no vision for how to help her.
I loved this story with all its angles and serendipitous moments that just immersed me deeper into the possibility of Noelle and Sam. It’s lighthearted but tackles some serious issues along the way, effectively weaving them into the lives of these characters in a manner making it feel authentic. I also liked the narrator’s voices for Noelle and Sam, as well as her storytelling skills. This was a delightful listening experience and I definitely want to read the author’s earlier book, already waiting for me.
- Release Date: September 28, 2021
- Narrator: Emma Powell
- Audio Length: 8 hours, 12 minutes
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
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(Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)