Joy and Paul were married for twenty-three years before divorcing. They have two grown children and a truckload of shared memories. The book begins three years later, when Paul has left Los Angeles PD and taken a job as the chief of police in his old hometown, Comfort, Maine. Their daughter Edie is an MBA junior business mogul working with her mother and their son Michael is serving his country in the Army in the Middle East.
Do you enjoy reunions set along the Maine seaside in the fall, over-forty romance between a panic prone business mogul and her small town Chief of Police ex-husband and the thrill of second chances? Then this story is for you. If you’d like to crack an unsolved drug case, experience the luxury of a two hundred year old B&B, finally shut up a snoopy travel journalist, and delve into unresolved family issues, plus get to know a dog named Roger, I think you’ll enjoy this book.
Review: This book has been described as a mature romance and a reunion story and of course it is both. But it is actually a lot more. It is, on one level, pure reading entertainment with comedy thrown in for good measure. And not only comedy, suspense makes its appearance too. It’s also an extremely honest look at life, love and relationships.
The plot is simple. Paul and Joy have been divorced for three years after a twenty three year marriage. Joy is now a successful entrepreneur in California where she runs a pre-packed foods company along with her daughter, Edie. Paul’s the police chief in the small town of Comfort in Maine, which is pretty much back to his roots, as he originates from that place, although he was in the LAPD during his marriage to Joy. I have to confess, with Comfort in Maine’s proximity to a city called Portland, I kept confusing my US geography, thinking that Comfort was in Oregon, not in Maine.
Joy suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. She worries about her son Michael who’s serving in Afghanistan. There’s that ever present tension of running the business. Her panic attacks are becoming more frequent and worrying. So her daughter Edie, who’s finding Mom’s presence rather tedious, suggests she flies to Maine for a while, to relax, slow down, recharge her batteries and stay in the guest house of a beloved relative. And although Edie isn’t saying this the fact that,her father is the Chief of Police in the area means that he has the power to keep an eye on Joy. The ostensible reason for going is, however, to buy Paul, who’s of course both father and former husband, out of the business which he helped the two ladies set up and of which he’s a shareholder.
Joy’s an adventurous, courageous woman who takes life head on. Being rather antsy and unable to stay still, she gets involved in kayaking lessons and handgun classes. She walks around a lot and before long, disturbed by teenage drug deaths in the vicinity, stumbles upon information which could lead to the .busting of a drug ring. Concerned, her former husband has her shadowed for her own safety, afraid that she could inadvertently walk into danger. As we get to know Joy, we realize that he’s probably perfectly correct. She has the comic propensity to show up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Joy and Paul embark on a series of adventures, some of them absolutely hilarious.
We notice Paul appreciating the fact that Joy has maintained her youthfulness and he’s done the same. They find themselves coming together for personal reasons too, one of which includes a beloved family pet. We see Paul manipulating situations to have Joy stay over, much to the delight of his elderly aunt and their daughter. But when Joy finds out what he’s up to, will she be pleased about this? Joy is above all an autonomous lady who does not appreciate being controlled. Once she finds out what Paul is up to, the sparks will surely fly.
A wonderfully entertaining read, full of rich humanity, humor and wisdom. One of the lessons which I’ve taken away from this read is that happy ever after is a one day at a time job, not necessarily ‘forever’ one.
Favorite Quote: It looked like his ex-wife. The woman had the same body type and right now she stood, weight on one foot, hip jutting out, exactly like Joy used to do. Always one of her best features, like a thumbprint, he’d recognize that ass anywhere.