Grace Saunders tries a grief support group. But she doesn't
feel like she fits, and she's not a widow. Outside she gets
chatting with Monica Romano and Nan Wilja. Monica is
widowed but her husband had been cheating. Nan takes her
Labrador to therapy sessions and hospitals. Grace later
realises that she met these two ladies JUST IN TIME.
Portland, Oregon comes to life through Grace's eyes. She
tells us of quilting, sewing her pretty clothes since her
Midwest high school, visiting the outdoor market, and enjoying
making a home with Jamie. Monica, a restaurant chef with
orphaned stepkids, is starting to date again. Nan, who
gardens for her table, rescues dogs whose owners have died.
Monica sets Grace up to date Luke Pascal, a nice guy who
makes custom furniture, and Nan makes Grace adopt a dog.
What's not to like? Grace, actually, dislikes being set up
for a date, because her husband Jamie is now lying in bed
following an accident two years ago, out of his coma but
unresponsive. She's still married. But it's not much of a
Then Grace's real estate boss sells to a bigger company.
Mergers mean layoffs. Grace, and her medical insurance
that keeps Jamie alive, looks like a liability.
Family is irreplaceable, we are told during the course of
the story. But, we also are encouraged to redefine who our
family is. I found Monica, finally learning some smarts to
help turn around her difficult stepson, putting finishing
touches to her recipes with aplomb, a fascinating
character. Nan is gentler, a senior with a big heart and at
times in need of care. The three ladies' stories intertwine
cheerfully and Grace learns to be in love with life.
The first half of the story brings home the reality of
grief, or depression, or stress, or barely coping with a
packed schedule. The second half shakes up the narration,
introducing vibrant colours, splendid foods, laughter, a
busy, positive attitude. We learn that it's better to do
what you love because time is short; time with loved ones
may be even shorter. Looking at transitions and turnarounds
in the characters' lives may inspire us.
I really enjoyed visiting Portland, and Marie Bostwick's
assured writing drew me in to her characters' lives. Dog
lovers particularly will find friends. JUST IN TIME parcels
up realistic romance, internal conflict and emotional
stress, and teaches us to find new strengths. I recommend
it for anyone from teens up, wholeheartedly.
In her most powerful novel yet, New York Times
bestselling author Marie Bostwick weaves the uplifting
story of three grief support group dropouts—women united in
loss and rescued through friendship.
years ago, Grace Saunders vowed to take her beloved husband
for better or worse. Now she’s coming to terms with
difficult choices as she crafts a memory quilt from scraps
of their life together—a life torn to shreds by an accident
that has left him in a coma. Enduring months of limbo, Grace
is at least not alone.
Nan has been widowed for
twenty years, but now, with her children grown, her home
feels painfully empty. Even the company of her golden
retriever, Blixen, and a series of other rescue dogs, can’t
fill the void. Then there’s Monica, a feisty woman with a
biting wit who’s reeling following her husband’s death—and
the revelation of his infidelity.
As for Grace, a
chance evening with a man she barely knows brings a glimmer
of joy she hasn’t felt since the tragedy—along with feelings
of turmoil and guilt. But her struggle to cope will force
all three women to face their fears, share their deepest
secrets—and lean on one another as they move from grief and
isolation to hope, and a second chance at happiness…