Years after escaping her tiny Maine community and completely reinventing herself, Nora Stuart is coming home to heal from an accident, determined to forge new connections, especially with her distant mother and angry niece.
Nora grew up on a tiny Maine island and suffered her father’s abandonment, becoming an overweight, miserable adolescent, scorned by classmates and, even more devastating, by her beautiful younger sister. But when she wins a coveted scholarship, she transforms her life, shedding the weight and gaining a medical degree. She settles into an exciting life in Boston until tragedy strikes and a shaken Nora is surviving but not thriving. After she’s hit by a van, she decides to go back home to Maine to heal—both physically and psychologically—knowing it won’t be easy, since her relationship with the island and many of its residents is, well, complicated. This includes Luke Fletcher, her biggest rival for the scholarship and the island's favored son. It also includes her mother—an almost comically laconic Mainer who can barely muster a conversation with Nora but coos at her pet bird and offers “hug therapy” to wounded souls—and her niece, Poe, daughter of the aforementioned sister, who is now serving time. One friend and ally, however, is Luke’s twin, Sullivan, whose daughter, Audrey, has weight issues Nora can relate to. Nora steps in to help at the community clinic, tries to break through her mother’s prickly exterior, helps Poe and Audrey find common ground, and makes new friendships while tightening some old ones, but old and new resentments rise to the surface, too. Nora has lots to unpack and sift through, but figuring out who she is and wants to be is a powerful, entertaining journey.
Balancing emotion, humor, and a redemptive theme, Higgins hits all the right notes with precision, perception, and panache.