Like a delicious latte, readers will want to savor this polished debut novel about the ruptured friendship between two middle-aged moms from Connecticut on a girls’ weekend in New York City (they normally meet at Whole Latte Life, their hometown coffee shop).
In the very first chapter, the author builds suspense when Sara Beth Riley– wife, mother of three, and aspiring antique store-owner–abruptly and mysteriously ups and leaves her friend Rachel DeMartino at lunch, before the carefree weekend they’ve planned to celebrate their 40th birthdays has really even begun.
The following chapters weave between Sara Beth’s wanderings in the Big Apple, and Rachel’s worried attempts to locate her with the help of an attractive Manhattan mounted police officer named Michael. As Sara Beth grapples with all the “what if’s” in her life (what if her mother hadn’t died, what if she’d married her artsy/hippy college boyfriend instead of her staid, lawyerly husband, what if she hadn’t given up on her dreams?), Rachel travels her own road of self-discovery, finding out that her life as a widow (her husband died of a heart attack two years earlier) has taken an unexpected turn.
The prose is fluid, the characters are fully developed and there’s plenty to keep readers guessing until the very last pages. This is a satisfying exploration of mid-life crisis, female friendship, grief, possibility and renewal. Demaio has penned a heartfelt portrait of two friends at the crossroads of their lives.
Reviewed by Kathryn Livingston for IndieReader