About the Book:
Years ago, Juliet Clark gave up her life in California to follow the man she loved to Mexico and pursue her dream of being an artist. Now her marriage is over, and she’s alone, selling watercolors to tourists on the Puerto Vallarta boardwalk.
When her brother asks her to come home to wintery New England and care for their ailing mother, a flamboyant actress with a storied past, Juliet goes reluctantly. She and her self-absorbed mother have always clashed. Plus, nobody back home knows about her divorce—or the fact that she’s pregnant and her ex-husband is not the father.
Juliet intends to get her mother back on her feet and return to Mexico fast, but nothing goes as planned. Instead she meets a man who makes her question every choice and reawakens her spirit, even as she is being drawn into a long-running feud between her mother and a reclusive neighbor. Little does she know that these relationships hold the key to shocking secrets about her family and herself that have been hiding in plain sight.…
Family relationships are always complicated and in this book they are more complicated than most. People have kept secrets to protect themselves, to protect others and to manipulate those they profess to love. It’s one of those books that shows many of the bad consequences of modern sexual morality (or lack thereof). Throughout the course of the book Juliet grows from a woman who, after being dumped by her husband, learns via a fling, that the reason she has never conceived a desired child is because her husband secretly had a vasectomy, to being an expectant mother considering a new relationship built on honesty and respect. She grows from a woman who allows her mother to emotionally manipulate her into one who accepts her mother, but chooses the course of their relationship. She learns family secrets, is hurt and comes to accept that her family members are just flawed people making the best decisions they could at the time and place they were making them.
My two favorite characters were Giles and Claire. Claire was Desiree’s neighbor and more. She’s a senior citizen who has never been married. She meets Giles at the pool one morning and he starts pursing her with romantic intentions. He was unfailing patient, kind, self-giving, -- all the things most of the other characters in the book are not. Life has dealt Claire some bad hands, but she’s made her mistakes too. Still, she is a nice person who cares about others.
Desiree seems totally unlovable throughout most of the book. At the end her only real friend, a gay man, explains why he remains her friend. Evidently there is more to her than meets the eye--but can’t you say that about most of us?
I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy via Edelweiss. Grade: B+