Prather’s Pick: A feel-good novel
This week’s novel for adults is a “feel-good” book. “The Best of Us” was written by Robyn Carr who has more than sixty books to her credit. This week’s novel is the most recent in her “Sullivan’s Crossing” series. The book is published by MIRA Books, 2019.
Two strong, independent women are at the center of the novel. The first is Dr. Leigh Culver, who is 34 years old. Up to now she has been living in the suburbs of Chicago; in fact she has lived in the same house since she was 4 years old. That’s when her 18-year-old mother died, and she was left with Aunt Helen Culver.
Helen was a teacher and mystery novel writer. She raised Leigh and saw her through medical school. Now Helen is a retired teacher and a successful full-time writer of mysteries. She has traveled all over the world where she has gotten to know a lot of people. At 62, Helen is determined not to grow old.
Leigh is a doctor who has experienced heartache after being abandoned by her fiancé, Johnny Holliday, who was deployed to Kuwait and then decided he didn’t want to get married after all, leaving Leigh with a wedding gown to sell and wedding gifts to return. Since then she has avoided romantic encounters.
After all of the years living with Aunt Helen, Leigh felt a little embarrassed to be still living with an aunt so she decided to become an adult and move out on her own. She settled on moving to Timberlake, Colorado, a town in the mountains not far from Denver. She rented a home and started work at an urgent care clinic where she practices family medicine and emergency medicine.
As the novel begins, Leigh has driven to nearby Sullivan’s Crossing to relax, enjoy nature, and have lunch at Sully Sullivan’s general store. Sully is 72 and has a daughter Maggie, who is a surgeon. Sully treats Leigh to a homemade turkey sandwich, and she promises to treat him to a hamburger, his favorite food.
That’s how they end up at Shandon’s Pub, owned by Rob Shandon. Leigh has met Rob once before when his son Finn had a wound requiring emergency treatment. Rob has raised his two sons, Finn and Sean, by himself after his wife died. Rob is attracted to Leigh.
Meanwhile, Helen has decided to sell the house and move. She wants to get away from Midwest winters. Once she makes the decision, things move quickly. She sells the house, packs up, and is ready to leave. She’s not sure where she wants to settle down yet, but she will spend some time with Leigh in Timberlake — where she can still write and take care of the publishing business.
Helen meets Sully, Leigh and Rob get to know one another, and Finn and Maia fall in love — three different age groups of people becoming romantically involved. Then, to complicate matters, Johnny Holliday shows up. There’s a lot more to this novel, and there are many more interesting characters. It’s a novel that will leave you feeling good.
This hardcover novel is $26.99, but you can also find it, with new books, at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.