A woman faces a new life after surviving a plane crash in this moving story from Center (Happiness for Beginners, 2015, etc.).
Margaret Jacobsen has always been afraid of flying—which is why she’s extra hesitant to get in a plane flown by her pilot-in-training boyfriend, Chip, on Valentine’s Day. When Chip proposes in the air, Margaret has everything she’s ever wanted: an MBA, a great job lined up, and now the fiance of her dreams. But then Margaret’s biggest nightmare becomes a reality: The plane crashes. Chip walks away without a scratch while Margaret has severe burns on her neck and a spinal cord injury. Suddenly, everything about Margaret’s life has changed: Her job offer is rescinded, Chip can’t cope with her injuries, and she may never walk again. Now, Margaret has only her family to depend on—her well-meaning but controlling mother, her loving father, and her black-sheep sister, Kitty, who returns to town after years of estrangement. As her family members try in their own ways to motivate Margaret, she also has to get through physical therapy with Ian, the world’s grumpiest Scottish physical therapist. He has a prickly exterior, but Margaret slowly begins to realize that there may be more to him than she initially thought. A story that could be either uncompromisingly bleak or unbearably saccharine is neither in Center’s hands; Margaret faces her challenges with a sense of humor that feels natural. She has days when the reality of her changed life hits her and she can’t get out of bed, and she has moments where she and Kitty laugh so hard they cry. What she ultimately learns is that while her life may be much different than she expected and she may never be fully healed, as Ian puts it, “It’s the trying that heals you.” Margaret learns to take control of her own life in the wake of loss and change, trying to form a life she wants instead of a life everyone else wants for her. Center’s characters, especially Margaret and Kitty, leap off the page with their unique voices, and their relationships evolve slowly and satisfyingly. Although this is largely the story of Margaret learning to make the most of her life, it’s also a touching and believable love story with plenty of romantic-comedy flourishes.
A story about survival that is heartbreakingly honest and wryly funny, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Elizabeth Berg.