When a reserved and unassuming man meets a free-spirited young woman, a bond develops that changes both of their lives.
In this debut novel, Henry is an orderly man who rarely deviates from his strict schedule. He lives in a modest home in a quiet neighborhood in Silverton, Connecticut, and works for Haul of Fame Trucking. When he is not tending to his meticulously maintained yard, he visits his elderly mother, who has dementia. Twice a week he goes to Stan’s Deli, where he purchases soup and a dinner roll. One day, he arrives at the deli for his usual order and is surprised to see someone new behind the counter. Chiffon, Stan’s distant cousin, is an idealistic young woman searching for her place in the world. Their initial interactions are cautious but cordial; Henry values certainty, and Chiffon’s moods and style of dress are anything but predictable. Over the course of several months, a friendship gradually develops. Chiffon introduces Henry to new experiences, including riding a bicycle, and he offers his support as she struggles with depression. When Henry and Chiffon face personal crises, they discover how simple acts of kindness can evolve into a deep and meaningful friendship. Holmes’ novel is a gentle and affecting portrait of friendship and the life-changing effects of reaching out and embracing new experiences. Henry and Chiffon are complex and engaging protagonists whose unexpected connection changes them in ways neither could imagine. Their friendship develops slowly, built on small acts of consideration such as Chiffon’s giving Henry a ride home from the deli. Chiffon is unlike anyone Henry has ever met, and the author does a fine job capturing his awkwardness as he tries to relate to her. Chiffon is a compassionate woman who hopes to make a difference by volunteering in her community. Holmes is particularly adept at connecting her protagonists’ experiences with those of a well-developed group of supporting characters. A particularly strong subplot focuses on Henry’s colleague Sylvie, who is inspired by his independence and strives for that in her own life.
A bittersweet meditation on human connections and the transformative power of friendship.