In Granata’s romance, the aftermath of a devastating accident unites two longtime acquaintances struggling with loss.
Life was never easy for Merritt Adams. Her mother abandoned the family without a word of explanation, leaving her to care for her despondent father. He later struggled with mental illness for several years until he took his life. The night of her father’s funeral, Merritt gets drunk and crashes her car, and the intervention of a stranger saves her from a fiery death. Unable to continue her studies while she recovers from her injuries, Merritt drops out of college and moves in with her best friend, Shelly. The last person she expects to offer help is Chase Brooks. Merritt and Shelly grew up with Chase, and after high school, he left Staten Island to pursue a music career in California. Two years later, he’s back to help his family and his terminally ill father. A friendship develops between the gregarious Chase and the more reserved Merritt, and his family warmly welcomes her. As their relationship turns romantic, Chase’s family experiences a crisis that threatens to expose a secret about the night of Merritt’s accident. Granata’s debut is a sensitive, finely observed study of heartache and the ability of love to heal trauma. While the subject is serious, the pace doesn’t dawdle in this well-developed, believable romance. And the mystery surrounding Merritt’s mother’s decision to abandon her family emerges as an intriguing subplot and fodder for a sequel. While Granata’s storytelling is solid, the narrative could use additional editing (X-Men character Jean Grey is referred to as “Gene Grey”).
An engaging, emotionally resonant story of resurfacing after deep grief.