Samantha (Sam) Casey is a school librarian on Galveston Island. She’s had a difficult upbringing but she’s now happy. She left her last school job because she couldn’t deal with her unrequited love for one of the teachers, Duncan Carpenter. When her school’s founder and principal sadly dies, his replacement is her old crush Duncan. But this is not the happy-go-lucky man she fell for. Gone are his colorful clothes, his fun-loving ways. He has lost his joy for life and his vision for the school will deprive it from all the joy it has. And it breaks Sam’s heart to see this happening to the place she loves.
Sam and her wonderful female friends band together to see if they can help restore joy to Duncan. And through this process, Sam can’t deny that her old feelings for Duncan are still very much alive. But like Sam, Duncan has experienced his own trauma and may be beyond saving.
Katherine Center does a great job giving her characters lots of heart and personality. Each have suffered and are working to cope. Included is third-grader Clay who is a brilliant child and has to deal with the cruelty of his classmates who see him as a nerdy, brainy, non-athletic kid and a father who is too busy to give him what he truly needs. His time.
There are times when the story gets a bit silly and Sam’s action are often impulsive and immature but when an author’s goal is to provide the reader with joy, "joy cures everything,” look beyond and relish it. And if you are new to the author, go back and read all her books.
Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Ms. Center for the opportunity to read this lovely book in advance of its publication.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: July 14, 2020.
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