A teacher finds healing and hope in the aftermath of a school shooting that took the life of her husband and unborn child.
Pope’s (Mine at Midnight, 2017, etc.) latest multicultural romantic women’s fiction opens with a terrifying flashback to the elementary school shooting that ended both Cassandra Miller’s pregnancy and her husband’s life. A year later, Cassandra’s deep depression has settled like an iron weight, guilt and pain keeping her in bed with the curtains drawn. Cass’ desperate mother turns to Wylie Everett, the man who walked away a decade earlier, breaking Cass’ heart. Wylie carries Cass out of the house and brings her to his home in Aquinnah, Martha’s Vineyard, where his tough love helps her recover. Wylie admonishes: "You're going through what any person who lived through that hell would go through, and I want you to stop thinking that there is something wrong with you." In the past 10 years, Wylie has made something of himself from his impoverished beginnings, first with the Marines and then with a construction business on the island. But he never moved past his love for Cassandra. Cassandra has to work through layer upon layer of unresolved feelings, including not just the shooting and losses, but also the truth about Wylie’s disappearance and her marriage to his best friend. On Martha’s Vineyard, Wylie’s sister, nephew, and friends create a community that embraces Cassandra. While the subject matter is heavy, the sexual heat between Wylie and Cassandra, as well as frequent bursts of humorous dialogue, livens things up.
An intensely emotional read with flawed characters who share a complicated history but desperately need each other to survive. Ultimately hopeful and romantic.