Jeremy Best is a thirty year old lawyer specializing in trusts and estates. When he was younger and more idealistic, he didn't want to be a lawyer; he wanted to be a poet. And he is still a poet, having published several critically acclaimed poems as Jinx Bell, but even poets have to eat and lawyers certainly eat better than poets. Jeremy is alone in the world and has never managed to sustain a relationship in his life but he's a really decent, nice guy. Spaulding Simonson walks into his office one morning, having discovered his poet persona. She is the nineteen year old, troubled daughter of his boss. She is a child of privilege but missing a solid person in her life on whom she can depend. She has literary aspirations of her own and there's a touch of disguised hero worship in her initial actions with Jeremy. Telling any more would ruin the book.
Jeremy and Spaulding's interactions are tightly and beautifully written. Their growing relationship (and make no mistake, this is no romance novel) is complex and organic. The novel alternates between Jeremy and Spaulding's first person narration so that each stage of their slowly unfolding knowledge of the other is tempered by their own wry self-awareness, adding not only to the reader's understanding of the other character but also to the fullness of the narrating character. The novel is subtly funny and even when it could degenerate into the realm of the maudlin, it deftly avoids that trap. It is tender and poetic and inevitable and it captures so well the dichotomy of guilt and desire. This is a love story, a mortality play, and an intelligent examination of life. We all have regrets; it is a function of living, but reading this is not one of them.
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Thanks to Lisa from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.