After her financier husband commits suicide rather than face jail time for stealing from his clients, Emma Shay Compton comes home to Sonoma with the shadow of his crimes over her and must reinvent herself in a hostile landscape while reconnecting with friends she’d thought lost forever.
When Emma married her wealthy husband, she had no idea he was running a Ponzi scheme, but that doesn’t make it any easier to convince people of her innocence once he’s accused and kills himself. Going from mad wealth to mere sustenance isn’t as hard as knowing her husband ruined lives, but when she moves back to her hometown and finds it almost impossible to get a job, Emma begins to wonder if she’ll be able to survive, much less thrive. With help from a friend she finds a place to live and gets a terrible job that doesn’t last, but through it she runs into Adam, the brother of Riley, her childhood best friend. Riley had betrayed Emma in college, having an affair with her longtime boyfriend, which ended the friendship for good. But now Riley runs a cleaning company with better opportunities than anything Emma can find, so Adam encourages her to get in touch with Riley and see if she can help. Emma swallows her pride and asks Riley for a job, which she gives her, but the two still hold grudges from the past, and neither is interested in trying to rekindle their friendship. Riley is surprised to discover, however, that Emma is truly determined to work hard and embrace her new, simpler life, and both women discover they admire and like the older versions of each other. And when circumstances threaten their families and happiness, they’ll both question what they’re holding onto—for instance, anger, resentment, and pride—and what they’re missing out on. Carr’s take on this complicated situation is interesting, though readers seeking a deeper reflection from Emma in the aftermath of her husband’s death or her stepmother’s spite may be disappointed.
A satisfying reinvention story that handles painful issues with a light and uplifting touch.