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"You're depressed," the doctor declared. "Ya think?" is author Avery Elkins Thompson's sarcastic response to the astute diagnosis for the malaise that set in following her husband's untimely death. Avery's carefully controlled world is imploding, and her adult children fear they are losing her too. "You're just a shadow of the person you used to be...We'd gladly give you up for a while if it meant getting you back." Avery can't write, and questions about their father's death leave the family mired in pain. "We need a healing place," her oldest son tells her, suggesting she find it on Anna Maria Island, Florida, a former family vacation spot. When Avery returns to Baltimore to sell the family's waterfront condo, she meets rodeo-ers-turned-real-estate-brokers Teddie and Rider Davis, and Avery's quiet life will never be the same again. The Davises help arrange a short-term house swap with widower Gabriel Carson from Anna Maria, whose overprotective parenting has resulted in two self-centered, twenty-something daughters. Avery and Gabriel are in for the summer of their lives as they step into one another's messy, complicated worlds. Still, venturing out on her own again is challenging for Avery, whose experiences at the Ringling's magnificent Ca d'Zan mansion, and with the quirky characters she meets there, eventually awaken her to truths she has long forgotten - that as crazy as life can be, it is possible to laugh and love again.

I haven't read any work by this author and after reading this book I might try her other works.
Avery, the main character, has lost her husband and in a sense, has lost herself. She travels to a favorite family place to find and renew herself. Along the way, she meets and introduces us to many intriguing people.
Laurie has given us a book with many characters and their stories, all woven together. I had no problem picturing each character and hearing their voices. Like the Texans, Teddie and Rider (I'd like to meet them), or George and his cooking. Laurie has layered them with depth as well as their lives. I found myself laughing, sorrowing and feeling frustrated with them.
I would have liked more of Gabriel's(older love interest) back story instead of adding it in at the end.
This is a good, clean story with great insights into others souls which turned me to search mine.

Rating: PG
V: None
L: None
S: None

Page 69 test:
"Gabriel closed his eyes and shook his head. "What have I gotten myself into?" he asked himself as he shoved the phone in his pocket. He had to face it. He was committed to this move now. As miserable as that that was, it was the way things were. He pulled the phone out of his pocket and started dialing, amazed that he could recall the number so readily. Voicemail took over and the familiar voice invited him to leave a message.
"Mark. It's Gabriel Carson. Listen, I...i, uh...I'd like to uh...Heck, I know you don't owe me the time of day, but I was wondering if you would meet me at the Sandbar around noon. There're some things I'd like to square with you. If you can't make it I'd appreciate a call back, but it would mean a lot to me if you'd come. I hope to see you then. Thanks.'
He checked his watch and headed for the Star Fish Company to buy some stone-crab legs for their Thursday-night supper. It was the girls' favorite , and he wanted to do something special for them tonight. He tossed the crabs into the company fridge and called his brother-in-law Tino in. The swarthy, squat, fifty-ish man ambled in with a big smile on his face. "You want to talk with me?"
Gabriel pointed to a chair. "Tino,I took that Maryland job."
Tino's bushy salt-and-pepper eyebrows arched in surprise. "You really did it?"
Gabriel tapped a pen against his desk planner. "Yep, I really did it."
"Wow. How are the girls taking the news?"
"Not good. I told them a couple of days ago, but it didn't seem real to me until today. Sorry I didn't tell you sooner."
Tino waved a hand of absolution in the air." For what it's..."


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