What would you do if you woke up after having a fight with your spouse and they were gone? Not just gone, but had left, with a note threatening that if you told anyone they left they’d rat you out on something you did.
For most of us, we’d probably ignore the threat. If we had kids, we’d probably do the same thing our main character, Tabitha did and make up a story that “Daddy was away for work.” At least, until we could get ahold of the jerk and settle things. But most of us probably aren’t walking around with the kind of guilt this character is holding on to, which helps give the storyline some credibility. There’s also the image to maintain, which to me didn’t work.
What did work for me was how Tabitha, who is a mother of two, was trying to keep it together for her kids. Being abandoned with two kids and no money is a pretty rotten thing to do to the person who you’re supposed to love, and even if you don’t love them, if you have kids, it’s downright horrible behavior. So yes, I loathed the husband who was absent for most of the book. I felt sad for the kids who could tell stuff was going on with their mom, but didn’t know what or how to talk to her about it.
By all accounts, Tabitha is a pretty good, and normal person…meaning she’s not perfect. She’s made mistakes in her life. She’s had bad thoughts and isn’t always the perfect wife, mom, or daughter, but she tries. And really, that counts for a lot and made me like her and be sympathetic to her, even when I wanted so say, “come on, get real,” at times.
Like when she spends $80 dollars at a pizzeria, but the fridge and cabinets are empty and she had just stolen four stuffed peppers from the food kitchen they had volunteered at. That money could have bought a lot of pasta and peanut butter at Wal-Mart. But I get it, she was tired and trying so hard to cheer her kids up. Most of the other things she does to survive were realistic, and I could see really happening.
The scenes with Nora were a little hard to suspend belief over, but I did love the character and thinks she’s a good reminder that we shouldn’t underestimate the elderly. They’re sharper than most give them credit for and much wiser. Toby absolutely stole my heart. Yes, he made mistakes too. A really bad one that had I been his wife, I couldn’t have overlooked, but again, he’s human and he does regret his mistake. So lesson learned, move on, and do better. I’m okay with that.
There’s a lot Tabitha has to deal with during this order, like figuring out what the threat is about, overcoming her guilt, and finding her inner strength to face the truth. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, but the point is to learn from them and do better in the future. In the end, she became someone I could totally empathize with and someone I liked a lot.
If you’re looking for a good women’s fiction book, with a cute romance and quirky, yet believable characters this is a good book for you.