The sudden death of their close friend in a terrorist attack triggers big changes in the lives of four school friends who reunite after 20 years.
When affable British-born internet mogul Tom Fitzgerald’s Boston-bound train is bombed, his stunned friends get together at his memorial service in London to reflect on his, and their own, lives. All in their late 30s, the group includes journalist Paul, Hollywood actress Saffron and earthy Olivia, who runs an animal shelter. There is also Tom’s longtime “best friend” Holly, a part-time illustrator and mother of two married to a rich lawyer. On the surface, their lives appear placid enough, but as they rekindle their friendship the cracks appear. Onetime womanizer Paul is happily married to Swedish businesswoman Anna, but the two are going broke over repeated in-vitro treatments that the increasingly child-desperate Anna insists on having. Olivia, in contrast, finds herself single and pregnant, and at a loss over what to do. Saffron is a recovering alcoholic carrying on a secret relationship with a married movie star she met in AA. And Holly—perhaps hit hardest by Tom’s death—feels increasingly alienated from her pompous prig of a husband Marcus, and preoccupied over what might have been with Tom if the two had only acted on their attraction, and not married other people. In her vulnerable state, Holly grows closer to Tom’s younger brother Will, a charming carpenter who nursed a secret crush on her when they were kids. Another crisis tightens the group after Saffron’s affair is exposed, and she falls off the wagon. Then they all congregate at Paul and Anna’s dilapidated rural home, for more bonding, rebuilding and assorted country shenanigans. Considering its subject matter, Green’s latest (Swapping Lives, 2006, etc.) is neither morbid nor overly sentimental, with sensible and appealing characters who, for the most part, end up doing the right thing.
Warm and chummy exploration of how friends can become our chosen families.