Synopsis: Grace Cavanaugh suddenly became a widow when her husband Michael, died unexpectedly. She misses Michael so much that she can’t stand living in the house that they shared with all of their things but she also can’t stand the thought of someone else living in it so she hires someone to look after the house and grounds and she rents a cramped apartment for her and her dogs. About sixteen months later, Grace receives a phone call from her 86-year-old great aunt Maggie asking Grace for her assistance. Maggie has cancer and is dying and she needs someone to stay with her. Maggie still lives in the house that she was raised in and she doesn’t want to have to move to assisted living if she doesn’t have to. Grace has fond memories of her great-aunt and sees this as an opportunity to maybe get a break from all the memories of the town she and Michael lived in.
My thoughts: I thought that the overall premise and theme of the book was great. We have Grace coming back to look after her dying great-aunt and not only does she have to confront her grief associated with Michael but also prepare herself for Maggie’s upcoming death. Now, the problems that I had with the book …. So we’re told that Maggie is grief stricken over her husband’s death to the point where she can’t even bring herself to go into the house they shared yet shortly after she arrives at Maggie’s, she starts a sexual relationship with the neighbor. Personally, if I’m that grief stricken over someone I had a long-term intimate relationship with, I wouldn’t be looking at jumping into bed with someone else. I also think that Maggie’s reaction to Grace having this relationship is very odd; for example, she asks Grace if she and the neighbor have “done the nasty” yet. Maggie has self-described herself as an 86 year old virgin. She also is very connected to her Catholic faith and attends Mass every night and has for years. I just don’t believe that a woman of that generation who is that connected to her church and is an 86 year old virgin would be asking her great-niece this question. I just felt that there was a disconnect on some of the ways that the characters acted.
As stated previously, I think the premise of the story was good and I really liked Maggie as she was quite spunky but I definitely feel that the book had some issues. Thank you to Netgalley and Kinsale Press for an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.