Freed from her responsibilities for parenting her two children, a school librarian from Pennsylvania spends a self-indulgent summer in New York City in this novel by Harms (The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane, 2013, etc.).
Amy Byler is understandably surprised when she sees her husband, John, an attorney for a food products company, in her neighborhood drugstore. Three years earlier, John went to Hong Kong and never came home. Now, he wants to spend a week with the children he abandoned: Cori, 15, and Joe, 11. Amy heads off to New York, where she delivers a presentation at a library educators’ conference and has first-date sex with "hot librarian" Daniel Seong-Eason. When John's week with Cori and Joe turns into a month, Amy stays on in New York, where she gets a new wardrobe and hairstyle and is featured in Pure Beautiful, a fashion magazine managed by her college friend Talia, who offers Amy her apartment, rent-free, for the summer. The whole expensive adventure is financed by John's seemingly unlimited credit card, the magazine's makeover budget, and Amy's generous online dates, arranged by Talia's assistant, Matt. Amy misses her children, worries that they don't need her, and is torn between her glamorous life in New York and her responsibilities at home. The story is unevenly paced and has some clichéd characters and a contrived setup. In the end, convenient compromises make everyone happy, and Amy achieves easy success in her family, love life, and career.
Worn-out moms might enjoy this escapist story of a runaway mother's fantasy "momspringa."