The first time I saw Marian Ballantine she looked like a burst of bittersweet among the winter branches . . ."
And so begins a tale of love lost and found, the rekindling of a passion for life that two people discover with each other, and the complex dynamics of family and friendship.
Geoffrey Tremont is untroubled by his neat, contented bachelor life in bustling New York City, filled with sophisticated friends, an undemanding lover devoted to her own career, and his wise brother, a psychiatrist who is the only one who sees and understands him completely—just the way Geoffrey wants it. On an ordinary day, Geoffrey arrives home to find a letter awaiting him with a postmark from an unfamiliar town: Shady Grove, New York. An old friend has named him the executor of her estate. Twenty years ago, in college, Geoffrey and Laura Welles had been each other's confidant; as their lives diverged, they went their separate ways. Now, she's reached out of the past to ask him a final favor. Laura's death has also brought her brother, Simon, to Geoffrey's doorstep. With his sister gone, Simon has no one but her old friend Geoffrey with whom to settle past grievances.
With Simon in tow, Geoffrey travels up to Laura's hometown—the place she chose to live her final years—where he meets Marian Ballantine. A widow living in the shadow of an idyllic marriage, and now grieving the loss of her best friend, Marian knows a lot about Geoffrey. Laura often spoke of him, she tells him, and though he's flattered, he's also thrown off balance. From the moment he first sees her, Geoffrey instinctively knows this attractive, plainspoken woman has the power to upend his cool, compartmentalized life. What Marian knows is that life comes with no guarantees, no promises of lasting happiness, and although she finds herself unsettled by this persistent, compelling man, she's unwilling to trade her hard-won, quotidian existence for an indefinite future. Faced with the decision to embrace the unknown or retreat to the safety of the familiar, they will both have to discover the courage it takes to tumble into the abyss of love.
The Queen Bee got first dibs on this book and had this to say about it....
I hadn't read Saul's first book, Light of Day, but it did get good reviews. In this novel, there is a main character, Geoffrey Tremont, who was a child actor and now did voice overs. Lives in NYC, runs with a sophisticated crowd, has a girlfriend who he sees when he wants, comes and goes as he pleases. He receives a letter from a lawyer, who tells him of the death of a childhood friend,Laura, who has asked that he be executor of her estate.
He takes a few days off, heads to Shady Grove, a little town in the country, and so the real story begins. He meets a friend of his old pal Laura, Marian is a widow. A widow not looking for a different life, happy with her greenhouse and nursery/landscape business, happy with her boyfriend, happy with her life. Or so we think.
If you are thinking that this story is hokey or sounds contrived, it's exactly what I was thinking as I kept reading. I kept saying this is crazy, this would never happen this way. Life would never happen this way. I would put the book down, and then I would pick it up again and continue reading. It is one of those kind of books. It is a book that would be a good Nicholas Sparks movie.
Having said all of that, I think I do recommend this book. It was an easy read and as long as you don't "read" too much into it, you will be glad you picked it up.
This one is definitely going into my summer read pile! Add it to yours too and pick up your copy today on Amazon....
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