Rebecca Winter is 60 and is down on her luck. Once a famous photographer, best known for her iconic Still Life With Breadcrumbs, the work and the money has now dried up. She finds herself living alone in a cottage in the middle of nowhere while she rents out her New York apartment, desperate to save money.
We hear the story from Rebecca’s point of view, and feel her loneliness and unhappiness as she reluctantly adjusts to her new life. She struggles to get to grips with life in the sticks, but is helped by the characters she meets, including roofer Jim and cafe-owning chatterbox Sarah. We hear more about Rebecca’s past with a philandering husband and a son, Ben, whom she loves very much but is now making a life of his own.
The style of this book reminded me very much of Anne Tyler – it is all about the characters while the story itself is quite gentle and slow. Unfortunately though, I found the action in this novel a little to slow – it almost grinds to a halt at times and you just become desperate for something – anything! – to happen. Despite this, the story is enjoyable and memorable, and I found the relationship between an older woman and a younger man refreshing, and I liked the contrast between the city and the small town. It just feels a bit sluggish at times.
I would definitely read more of Quindlen’s books and overall I enjoyed this one. It was quick and easy to read, but could perhaps have been shorter to stop it getting boring at times.