This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Debs Carr
One morning, New York lawyer, Emily decides she can’t take another minute of her pressurised lifestyle. She loves her husband James, who she’s been with since law school, but despite their endless hours at work they only seem to make enough money to pay their high mortgage and never to have enough time for each other. She wonders if all this hard work and daily intensity living with a Blackberry in her hand and seemingly always on call to her tyrant of a boss isn’t just a waste of her life. The dreams she started out with don't appeal in quite the same way as they once did.
Emily leaves work mid-morning, races home, packs a small bag and, leaving her watch behind, takes her husband's new car and drives. After sleepless nights and angry words with James, she ends up returning to the very place she ran away from ten years before. Bell Valley holds many things for Emily. It's where her best friend Vicky runs a guest house, where Jude, her first love, betrayed her, but it's also where the animal refuge happens to be. Right now Emily needs a refuge and despite some frosty welcomes, she knows she's done the right thing by returning there.
However, Jude is also on his way back to Bell Valley and not only has she never mentioned Jude or their failed romance to James, he isn’t even aware of Bell Valley’s existence. Jude left the town soon after she did and his mother, a stalwart of the community and owner of the famous animal refuge resents her role in the loss of her son. Emily has a lot of making up to do. She has also got a lot of personal issues to sort out. She and James want a baby, but despite their best efforts she hasn't fallen pregnant. She needs to work out what she wants to do next. Where she wants to live and has no idea if James is even willing to meet her half way.
Barbara Delinsky is a fantastic writer. Emily's torment was palpable as was her anguish about returning to work or even reading the messages on her Blackberry. I was transfixed by her struggle to work out firstly what she wanted and then how she was going to find a way to get it. At first it seems like James is the typical suited lawyer, but as the story evolves you realize he may be a man of few words and stubborn, but he's strong, adores Emily and there's one particular scene where he's… Suffice to say, it's a delicious scene, but you'll have to read the book yourself to find out what I mean.
A beautifully crafted story of angst, confusion and above all determination and love.
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