Four college chums struggle with adulthood and relationships long after graduation in this feel-good novel from Goudge (Otherwise Engaged, 2005).
Inseparable at Princeton, Stevie, Franny, Emerson and Jay managed to remain close while taking divergent paths. At the time of their 15-year reunion, Stevie is a commitment-phobic Los Angeles TV reporter who suddenly finds out that her father, whom she never met, is burnt-out ’70s rock star Grant Tobin. In Manhattan, single mom Emerson is a stressed publicist looking after her ill mother, a snobbish crone who raised her with patrician airs despite their being penniless. Earthy literary agent Franny yearns for a family but wonders if she will ever meet the right man. Her closest consort, Midwestern transplant Jay, is married to the alluring but self-absorbed Vivienne, who is expecting their first child. Everyone’s lives are complicated when Jay, with Vivienne’s encouragement, agrees to donate his sperm to Franny. It works, and pregnant Franny finds herself doubly blessed when she meets Keith, who falls for her despite her condition. Yet, surprising no one but themselves, she and Jay discover long-dormant feelings for each other, setting the stage for a life-altering decision. Meanwhile, love also blooms for Emerson, who embarks on a secret affair with her mother’s night nurse, Reggie. Their romance hits a snag when Reggie’s visa is revoked and he faces deportation to his native Nigeria. Emerson is forced to choose between duty and her heart. For Stevie, getting to know her reclusive dad gives her a chance to sort out some personal issues, as well as use her investigative skills to uncover the truth about a violent episode from Grant’s troubled past.
The book has a likable (if a little dull) cast and few surprises; the big finish—a wedding (or three)—is a foregone conclusion.