Brothers George and Harry are celebrating Thanksgiving at George’s house. George’s kids are sitting at the table playing with various gadgets while his ‘hangers on’ surround him and hang on ever word. Harry is doing clean up duty with his sister-in-law Jane who he secretly likes. As he brings dishes into the kitchen Jane brushes against him in a very friendly way. When Harry mentions this to his wife Clare later that night she laughs at him and tells him he is imagining things.
Harry gets a call a few days later from Jane saying that George has been arrested after a car accident in which he kills a couple and leaves the son injured. He collects his brother from the police station and brings him home. After a trip to the hospital in which he is placed in the psych ward he takes Jane home and stays with her at the suggestion of his wife Clare who thinks Jane should not be left alone. Jane has feelings for Harry and she throws herself at him that night. It is the start of a long strange string of events that changes everybody’s lives.
Harry is thrust into the role of caretaker of George’s children after a bizarre set of events. He is juggling his career as a professor of history, Richard Nixon being his topic of choice, attempting to write a book about Nixon, caring for his pre-teen niece and nephew who are lost among the ruins of events. Harry stumbles his way through to being a parent to them. Along the way he is stalked by a ‘lunch sex date’ woman who just can’t leave him alone, he also has another strange woman confront him at a supermarket and follows him home.
This is a long strange trip where Harry ‘adopts’ a ragtag bunch of misfits, finds himself blamed for everything that has happened, loses his job, suffers medical problems and finds himself ostracized by society for the crimes his brother has committed. This guy is a modern day Job out of the Bible. He eventually gets to love his niece and nephew and sorts out his own demons with some help from a very strange place.
This is a wonderful novel of self discovery, strength and a lot of dark comic humor. It is about forgiving and acceptance.
While I really enjoyed this book the middle part dragged and some things were a bit outrageous but overall a good read.
“It tastes like a kiss? “Lots of your food does-because that’s how you mean it.”
Cami is a high school senior. She wants to follow in father’s footsteps and be a chef. Her father wants her to go to college and pursue a different profession. Her mother left them because her father was never home. He was always working at his restaurant at nights, on weekends, over holidays.
Julian is the nephew of Cami’s stepmother, Estella. His mother passed away when he was young and Estella raised him. He is a Marine in Afghanistan. He lost most of his leg in an IED explosion. Estella invites him to stay with them until he recover from his injuries and be fitted for a new artificial leg. Because their house is small, Julian will stay in Cami’s room and Cami will sleep in a little storage space down the hallway.
Cami is a little irritated that a stranger is moving in to her room. Julian is just grumpy. The adjustment is difficult and fights erupt between them. There’s even the throwing of a muffin (by Cami), which Julian catches and eats and loves.
As the months pass, Cami and Julian slowly get to know to each other. Julian’s surliness lessens. She cooks a soup just for him. He helps her with her senior photo. Their banter is cute and flirty at times, which is problematic, because she has a boyfriend. There is no bad guy in this book, so when she breaks up with her boyfriend, you are heartbroken for both them.
When Julian and Cami finally get together, there are more hurdles for them to overcome. When is Cami going to stand up to her father and tell him what she really wants to do? What will Julian do after he finishes he finishes his physical therapy with his new leg? How will their plans affect their relationship? Cami is insecure about all of this, but Julian is there to re-assure that everything will be ok. And it is. But I won’t spoil it for you about how it all gets resolved. All I will say is that I wish Julian’s blog is real so that I can catch up on their lives. 😉
This is the debut book of the author and I devoured this book in one sitting. Her dialogue sparkles. She does a fabulous job of “showing” not “telling” the growing attraction between Cami and Julian. I can’t wait to get my hands on her next book.
Go buy this book!
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley.