At the urging of a dying friend, three women take life-altering risks.
As the novel opens, Rachel has already died of cancer. It is a cosmic joke that Rachel, mountain climber, base jumper, sky diver, lived a life of extreme adventure unscathed, only to succumb to an ordinary disease. After her death, her best friends receive letters with a last request: Kate, an over-scheduled soccer mom, is to go sky-diving; Sarah, a relief worker in Africa, is to track down the doctor she once loved; and career woman Jo, man-killer, is to become legal guardian to Rachel’s 7-year-old daughter Gracie. After Kate sky-dives for the second time, she mentions it to husband Paul, who is none too pleased that his dependable wife is taking afternoons off to risk her life. But she loves it, and it makes her see how stiff her marriage has become, how tied to her children’s lives she is, how she has somehow disappeared. The strain on her marriage is solidified when she decides to accompany Sarah to India to track down Dr. Colin O’Rourke. Fourteen years ago in the Peace Corps in Paraguay, the two fell in love, he left, and Sarah has been holding a torch for the god-like doctor ever since. Finding him is Rachel’s last request, so once and for all Sarah can move on. When Sarah and Kate arrive in India, Sam, a dashing colleague of Sarah’s in Africa, is there to greet them. It is no coincidence—he’s in love with Sarah and has followed her, but she only has room for Colin. When they eventually meet, it seems he’s been carrying a torch too. In the midst of this exotic romance, Jo is in New York with Gracie, as she tries to make a home (baby gates? Mac and cheese? Barbie?) for a traumatized orphan. Of course the women learn their lessons—live life more fully—but only Jo’s challenge is vital: to learn how to become a mother.
Higgins balances humor and a touch of pathos to deliver an amiable tale of friendship.