Long (Christmas Confessions, 2008, etc.) adds another feel-good romance/self-revelation novel to her resume.
Talk about having a bad day. Syndicated columnist Abby Halladay and her fiance, Fred, are only months from the Big Day when the ax falls. First, Abby loses her job, then she learns the house they’ve bought in her hometown of Paris, N.J., needs costly repairs before anyone can move in—and she’s already moved out of her old place. Thank goodness for solid, predictable Fred. He’s meeting her for dinner and will make everything right. But then again, maybe not. It turns out that Fred’s flown the coop for Paris—Paris, France—since he’s bored, and now he refuses to return Abby’s calls or texts. Forced to move in with her parents, younger siblings and grandmother, Abby spends the following month driving around town in her dad’s cab while frantically trying to reach Fred, enduring her mother’s attempts at matchmaking and trying to get her life back on track. Along the way, she reconnects with her old neighbor and friend Mick O’Malley, who’s in town to care for his sick mother. Abby and Mick once shared everything, including a kiss, before he slipped out of town 13 years ago after both landed in jail following a stupid mistake. Abby relies on her best friends, Destiny and Jessica, to advise and console her, but she also begins to realize that she’s not the only one with problems. She discovers heartwarming, heart-rending, heartfelt and heartbreaking truths about family, friends, townspeople, couponers, dog therapists and just about everyone else she encounters, as she learns to let go of the past and finally gathers the courage to stand in front of the crowd at the local pub and sing karaoke. But this touching event doesn’t happen until she captures moments in all the aforementioned lives with an old Minolta and reflects on the importance of moving on with life, accepting others, learning to live one’s dreams and so on.
Long’s narrative is full of trite observations, but her appealing story and quirky characters provide a pleasant few hours’ worth of diversion.