A woman gets a chance to start over in this romantic novel.
On her 50th birthday, Missouri Rothman has a horrible day that culminates with Doyle’s, her husband of 32 years, leaving her for a younger woman. Doyle is a high-ranking professor at the University of Georgia, while Missouri, who does not have a degree, is an administrative associate. Their older son, Michael, only makes Missouri feel worse by asking what she did to drive Doyle away. But the couple’s younger son, Cody, is soon by her side to offer comfort and cook for her. The terms of the divorce give Missouri a chance to go back to school, and with help from her friend Amelia and her former high school art teacher, Thelma Coley, she gets into art school. Despite the awkwardness of being an older student, Missouri is quickly recognized for her talent and given a chance to study in Florence. Doyle, who has started to regret his decision, is resistant to this idea and gets his sons to object as well. She decides to go anyway. In Italy, she is intrigued to discover that one of her new professors is a handsome American. He turns out to be quite interested in her, but her family finds ways to meddle in their budding relationship. It is very easy for readers to root for Missouri, and her post-divorce adventures are often satisfying. But there are some missed opportunities in the construction of the narrative. Readers don’t learn much about the basis of Missouri’s love for Doyle other than that he was attractive and that they were together a long time. This makes it difficult to relate to the feelings she has about their divorce. In addition, the events in Pritchett’s (Like Peaches and Pickles, 2017) tale are somewhat predictable, and things can come a little too easily to Missouri. Readers never get to see her truly struggle with school. But while the writing and story transitions can be abrupt, the text shines brightest in the details of Missouri’s artistry and the landscapes of Italy.
A breezy read that centers on wish fulfillment.