These books really hammer home the difficulties of finding a HEA later in life, don’t they? What do you do when you have a life and like that life? How can someone fit into your life without it becoming a whole thing?
The story here, set in the same charming whiter than white town of Somewhere, Maine as Evvie Drake Starts Over (we actually hear about Evvie in a voice over about the local high school baseball coach!) (in the midst of a bit of an argument, actually, but I digress), has our main character Laurie returning to her recently deceased aunt’s house to help clear out the junk since none of her family members are willing to do the same.
And then there’s a wooden duck, and everything goes a bit off script. What you’d think would be a typical romcom (sort of like her first outing) turns out to be more of a journey of self discovery and heists, with a side helping of romance to create some third act drama when the duck thing winds down.
You might think that’s a lot about the duck, but I’m telling you that the duck plays a large part in this story, and it’s actually most of what I enjoyed in this book! You think you’re getting a basic (boring) love triangle, and then suddenly you’re in the middle of a full on duck caper involving decoys and hidden letters and long lost romances. Laurie’s desire to get to the bottom of it all (and, eventually, steal back her duck) makes utter sense.
What doesn’t make as much sense, and perhaps doesn’t land quite as well, is the entire push/pull between her actual life and her ‘life’ in Maine. To make things as intractable as possible, Holmes has Laurie live in/outside of Seattle and make no bones of how much she enjoys her solitary quiet life out there. But then, of course, she’s written herself into a bit of a corner, because our romantic hero Nick the divorced librarian is all that stands between small town Maine and illiteracy. It’s…a lot. It’s almost too much. The ending that we get [a HFN of sorts] works not as well as some of the others in recent time that have shone a harsh light onto difficult situations in relationships.