Anybody who has read much of this blog know I’m a big Higgins fan. Her characters are just so compelling and the emotional journey the reader goes on is always so satisfying.
This novel, where Lillie’s son is about to go off to college when her self-absorbed and a little delusional husband (Brad) abruptly leaves her and then gaslights her in an attempt to make her think it’s totally fine for him to dump her for a younger woman in the name of finding joy for himself. He apparently deserves joy while she deserves to be cast aside like a bag of dirty laundry. He claims that their marriage has been over for years, and that’s what he tells her and anyone else who will listen, even though Lillie had no clue because they were actually fine until a few months earlier when a man-stealing woman moved to town.
Brad is a little over the top in my view, but still believable enough for the book to work. He’s a therapist so a lot of his gaslighting is psychobabble, and it’s freaking annoying. I wanted to punch almost every time he speaks. He’s so bad that I question Lillie’s taste a little, because he’s always been a little like this. But I think she comes to realize that about him.
But really, this story is Lillie’s, and it’s enjoyable. Lillie is a midwife nurse (I think that’s the term), which I didn’t even know was a thing. I learned possibly way too much about childbirth, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll help a woman who goes into labor in public some time. Who knows.
Anyway, I did love Lillie. She has some good friends and interesting dynamics with her parents and sister (which develop as part of the story). Lillie’s trying to be a good mom to her son even though he’s across the country, also trying to process Brad’s betrayal. Overall, I think she handles everything rather well, and the reader is going to be with her all the way.
This book is a little unusual for Higgins because she includes a second point of view, that of the villain, the man-stealing Melissa. Her story was actually interesting, but it didn’t change the fact that she was a horrible person when she got to town, and I empathized with her only a bit.
So here’s another winner from Higgins. Definitely read it if you’re a fan, or even if you’re interested in trying her out for the first time.