I picked up this book (yes, a real-life book) in the clearance “bin” at my local Borders a few months ago. I can’t pass up interesting looking books under $5. And yes, I do judge the books by their covers. Although, I have bought some Kindle ebooks that have covers that I wouldn’t necessarily be attracted to in person.
Janie LaMarche recently lost her husband in a biking accident (PSA: please respect bicyclists and motorcyclists on the road!!) and she is really struggling to get on with her life. She finds out that her late husband had planned to get a porch built as a gift to her and makes an unlikely companion of the contractor, Tug (that’s his name). He knows how to deal with her attitude and doesn’t pity her. He is also fantastic with Janie’s little boy, Dylan, and her baby daughter, Carly. Janie also makes an even more unlikely companion of Father Jake Sweeney, the young Catholic priest who visits her weekly to try to help her through her grief. She can’t stand him at first and doesn’t want him there, but they learn to get along with each other and become friends, confessing things that they have not told other people.
While all of that is going on, Janie is also dealing with her hovering aunt, her protective cousin, her absent mother, her nosy but helpful neighbor, and a new girl friend who is the mother of one of Dylan’s friends. She is still having a really hard time getting over Robby and doesn’t want anyone else’s help or opinions of how she should deal. Janie IS lonely and has thoughts about the two man friends that she’s made, but really… a priest and a contractor? She eventually learns that she can’t do this along and really does need the people around her.
I really liked this book. I was really drawn into the story and wasn’t sure where it was going. Most of all, I really felt for Janie. Yeah, she acted like a total B-word sometimes, but she didn’t know how else to channel her anger and grief. It made her seem like a REAL person. I like that. I think Juliette Fay did a great job of making all of the characters seem like real people. There are so many times in other books where the characters just seem too perfect, or even too flawed, to be like someone you would actually know. This was Juliette Fay’s first novel, but I hope she writes more!