A young divorcée embarks on a journey of self-discovery during one eventful summer.
As Thayer (The Island House, 2016, etc.) opens her tale, 30-year-old Darcy Cotterill is blindsided when her ex-husband arrives in Nantucket for the summer. Not only has her ex, Boyz, brought his new wife and her 14-year-old daughter, Willow, to the island where Darcy lives year-round, they have rented the house immediately behind hers for the summer. As a woman who spends much time in her backyard garden, Darcy quickly learns more than she wanted to know about Boyz’s new family. It seems that Boyz and his wife spend precious little time supervising Willow, who has gotten involved with one of the island’s suspected drug dealers. Darcy takes matters into her own hands and befriends Willow, asserting some authority over the girl to protect her from harm. She introduces Willow to their other summer neighbors, who she hopes will be better influences. Mimi, an elderly woman who reminds Darcy of her own recently deceased grandmother, is renting the house to one side of Darcy’s, and Susan, the frazzled mother of three rambunctious boys, is renting another. Before long, this group becomes a committed foursome of friends. Under Darcy’s influence, Willow begins helping with storytime at the library instead of dabbling in drugs, babysits Susan’s frenetic kids, and acts as a companion to the elderly Mimi. As the story progresses, Darcy lands in a few confusing romantic situations of her own, and she's thankful to have these women, young and old, to help her navigate. Full of rich details about life on Nantucket, this breezy tale is at once nostalgic and hopeful. Although the prose is a bit bland, the story is filled with sweet moments of unlikely female connections.
An easily digestible, warmhearted tale of eye-opening friendships.