This is a small town romance with Miranda being the starring character of the story and also the general manager of the small town theatre company around which the story circulates.
We also have a character who managed to have Covid very severely and so this story was written during the pandemic.
The book covers a wide range of issues that could affect a person, from how alcoholism can affect lives until the nth generation. It is not true, although often said, that alcoholism is a reflection of an addictive personality. It is not. What people have is a Substance Use Disorder, to which genetics can contribute 40-60% of the likelihood of a person acquiring it. But it is not set in stone that will happen. But it is more likely when the person also has a mental health condition which affects them.
The story begins with Miranda pondering the fact that she covered up for her best friend who died in a terrible car accident. At the time her friend was coming back from committing adultery with Miranda’s brother, but she permitting her friend’s husband and the family to believe that instead she had been coming back from a late session with the local amateur dramatic society. Her friend Renee had a daughter who Miranda loved, but also an alcoholic abusive father, who blamed the theatre company for his wife’s death and refused to let his daughter become involved. And who then disappeared so that his daughter had to live with her grandparents.
One reason that Miranda championed Emma was because she had remained a stalwart friend to Miranda’s young son who had dies of childhood cancer.
So the story starts with grief and emotional issues upfront.
Miranda however, as the story proves, is a forgiving soul and likes to help others as it mitigates her sorrow at her son’s death.
We thus have a cast of characters with many faults and issues to deal with. Which are covered empathetically. The style draws you in and the rawness of the emotions keeps you reading. Overall, this book would be good to read if you are in a similar situation to young Emma, as the trauma caused by SUD is covered in such a way that it can be easily understood, and the awareness that this is not an illness that can be cured, but rather one that needs constant attention and work.