When a woman learns that a family friend has died, her return to her hometown for the funeral reopens wounds from years before—will she ever be free of the ghosts from her past and truly enjoy her present?
Hearing of Mrs. Crandall’s passing, Kerry Waite heads back to her old stomping ground, leaving husband Charles behind. At the funeral, she reflects on her life with and without Mrs. Crandall’s son Tom, the boy she loved and lost. Lajeunesse’s novel takes readers back and forth between the funeral and Kerry’s past, as she ponders the events that brought her to this place in time. Within her family, Kerry has experienced firsthand how marriage can stifle a woman’s individuality and sense of place in the world. She is determined to remain independent, even putting off the advances of the boy she has loved since she was in middle school. When that romance is cut short after she finally opens her heart, Kerry is left with an emotional void she believes can never be filled. Charles is determined to find a place in Kerry’s life, but she’s not sure that it’s possible. This is a heartwarming tale, flawed as it may be. The protagonist is often difficult to understand and empathize with. Tom and Charles are genuinely nice guys, so her feelings for the two are expected. However, it’s unclear why they are so fond of her, as she spends most of her time refusing to open her heart and pushing both men away. Lajeunesse tells the story via individual vignettes, and these snapshots make the book a compelling read. While Kerry might not be the most accessible individual, her friends are worth getting to know. This is a solid portrait of a middle-class baby boomer in turmoil.
The men in Kerry’s life try to break down her barriers, a journey which can be trying for readers but is ultimately worth experiencing.