Emerson Wheeler could be happy. At 32, she has a loving husband, tow great girls and a small gardening business which is just starting. But after the suicide of her father, she starts questing the decisions she has made in life and when she takes over a new job at Hay Manor, this aggravates. Sybil, the elderly owner of the mansion, introduces her to Finn, an army member who has some very different notions of life. They get along better and better and at a certain point, Emerson has to question her marriage. When Finn offers that both of them and their kids spend the summer at his lake cottage, she agrees knowing that this will be a serious test for her life so far.
Travis Neighbor Ward’s novel addresses many topics all adults have to face sooner or later in life. Emerson seems to have a perfect life, but you can be unhappy and disappointed even by what seems to be picture-perfect from the outside. If your life does not fulfil you, if you had plans that had to be given up for whichever reason, you will be dissatisfied or even frustrated at some point in life. No matter how ideally you might match with your partner, you go on in life and develop further, and you might be forced to reassess if you still what the same things in life and if you still have the carefully constructed balance in your marriage. For Emerson and her husband, this is not true anymore after some years, but instead of talking about it, they find other problems which cover the real troubles. Apart from these, we have grown-up suffering from experiences of their childhood which make them unable to utter their feelings and even permitting feelings at all.
There are a lot of aspects in this novel which are worth thinking about since they are taken from life and it surely offers a lot of ideas to talk about in book clubs. Yet, I missed some surprise in the book. Most of the developments are very stereotypical and foreseeable. The protagonist also seems to be a very clever woman, but her decisions are purely emotion based, I did not have the impression that she was pondering over her situation, but acted impulsively which I found not always very convincing. Nevertheless, I liked the style of writing and especially the hints to Albert Einstein which were cleverly integrated.