I just love Sarah Mayberry's writing. I want to have it's babies!
Mel Porter and Flynn Randall were bare acquaintances while Mel was married to a member of Melbourne's upper crust society set. Flynn's family is one of the richest, cream of the crop families. But Mel herself had come from decidedly blue collar, yeoman stock and had never really fit in. Her husband had constantly pointed out her flaws and over time it had worn down Mel's confidence to nothing.
But the two meet up again after Mel's divorce where she retreated back to her hometown stomping grounds, becoming the proprietress of a small vacation resort. Flynn books one of her cottages in preparation for buying a spectacular nearby estate. She is decidedly nervous because he is from that ultra-wealthy closed insular world she was never comfortable in. But Flynn is a decent guy and living proof that money doesn't buy happiness. He is dealing with his own share of issues because his father, the once powerful CEO of their family business is battling early onset Alzheimer's.
The two slowly bond, become friends and fall in love.
It is very difficult to summarize a Mayberry book because she doesn't write plot heavy stories. Her stories are decidedly character driven. But that is what makes them so great, imo. I immediately sunk into this story of a woman who prior to marrying her so-called Prince, had loads of life and self confidence only to have it leached out by degrees. There is nothing worse for a person like that to feel they aren't good enough around a certain class of people.
I also immediately liked Flynn. The author created a decent, interesting hero that still managed to come off and powerful and sexy. The treatment of the Alzheimer's story is especially effective, imo. I was especially moved by one scene where Flynn, his father and mother sit down to map out a course of care while his father can still make the decisions on the nature of that care himself. It was bad enough he was going to suffer from the dementia and the loss of dignity, but at least he should have this opportunity to make decisions about himself. That was pretty powerful stuff and a heartbreaking scene when told from the perspective of a son with memories of a decisive, powerful father.
The writing is, in a word, intelligent. The story flows easily, both Mel and Flynn act like normal people would act. Everything they do and say seems authentic. I loved Mel's family and how natural they felt. Mel is aware of the irrationality of her insecurities and they don't float away. I also think it was a great narrative choice to highlight the fact that emotional abuse is just as devastating, maybe in some ways even more-so, than physical abuse.
I even loved the fact that Mel wasn't some little delicate thing. Various characters described her as statuesque, looking like a Xena Warrior Princess or Wonder woman. At one point Flynn, eyes popping out of his head, mouth watering, looks at her says 'I would not be surprised if you told me you had an invisible jet parked in the driveway.' So of course I kept picturing her as looking like Lynda Carter -- tall, great shoulders, nice rack, sexy hips, sparkling eyes.
Just a really, solid good book. The two characters had oodles of chemistry, the story immediately engaged,and the writing was top notch. I simply enjoyed this book.