Lauren Kincaid just wants to escape the public eye, but that isn't so easy as the widow of Rory, an NHL hockey player who enlisted in the Army and was killed in action while serving in Iraq. She hopes to gain some privacy to mourn by retreating to her family's beach house on the Jersey shore.
Her privacy is complicated after four years when Lauren’s parents, sister, and 6-year-old nephew arrive for the summer. Even worse, attractive filmmaker Matt Brio, determined to make a documentary about Rory, wants to interview Lauren before he loses funding. Although Matt, too, admires Rory, he suspects that there may be more to the story of an American saint than his heroism. Unearthing revelations about a man everyone adored and no one wants to malign proves difficult. Eventually, Lauren and her sister agree to cooperate, and Matt’s interviews expose several skeletons in Rory’s closet. Toggling between Lauren’s new life—a life she keeps too busy to dwell on the past—and flashbacks to her buried memories of Rory, Brenner (The Forever Summer, 2017, etc.) empathetically portrays a fragile woman hiding secrets from herself. In Lauren’s memory, they were the perfect couple, high school sweethearts. Rory was the star hockey player, a junior who spotted a shy, pretty sophomore girl running track and fell in love. Though they were inseparable in high school, Rory pushed Lauren away for a brief period during college so he could concentrate on academics and hockey at Harvard, where he generated a lot of interest, landing him a place with the L.A. Kings. Reunited after college, they moved to California, and although Lauren supported him, Rory struggled to gain ice time. His abrupt decision to enlist terrified Lauren but came as no surprise to Rory’s beloved older brother, Emerson. Brenner deftly orchestrates the painful peeling away of Lauren’s memories, and just when it seems that Lauren is simply a heartbroken widow, questions surface: Why does Emerson hold a grudge against her? Why didn’t Lauren know Rory was going to volunteer for a second tour? Only an unflinching look at the truth will let Lauren move on and, perhaps, find a new life.
Fans of light romance and family reunions will savor this sensitive portrait of love transcending grief.