Joanna has decided before that she is tired of being a corporate wife, but after her husband receives yet another promotion requiring yet another move, she has had enough and sets off to find a life of her own. She arrives in Pawleys Island confused and in need of guidance. What she finds is an old woman named Grace with some difficulties of her own and a small community that is destined to change the way Joanna thinks. Meanwhile, her husband, Paul, only realizes after his life collapses that some serious changes need to be made. In this way, two lives are rebuilt.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I loved the atmosphere of it, particularly the feel of the island. I was walking along the sand with Joanna, looking out Grace’s window, and smelling the salty sea air. McFadden creates a great sense of atmosphere here that I really appreciated. I was consistently immersed in the story and found myself thinking about it even when I hadn’t been reading for a while.
I found it particularly amusing that the NJ town mentioned in the book is my hometown, where my parents live. Typically, the author had the attitude of this place down, but I couldn’t reconcile any of the physical details with what she said, so I think she made up the developments and the things like the annual outdoor market, unless I have just been missing out on them for the past 15 years. Not only that, but one of the local bookstore owners where I used to buy my books for school is quoted on the back of my ARC copy. I’m astounded that this little town in the middle of nowhere has now appeared in a book that I have read!
As for the plot, I was never bored and I was moved very, very often. This one is certainly an emotional read. I loved watching Paul and Joanna find themselves, and Grace’s story affected me deeply. I think we can see a little of ourselves in each character – we are all sometimes lost and confused, we all have to figure out who we are (sooner or later) in order to love ourselves and those around us, and almost everyone has known and probably loved someone whose situation is very similar to Grace’s. Some readers are there themselves, which is heartbreaking. I felt connected and sympathetic to all three of the main characters and I wanted desperately for their wishes to come true.
This is an extremely touching story. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who was ready to embrace such a heart-rending and simultaneously heart-warming book. Buy this book on Amazon.