Mitchard's strongest writing skill lies in her characterizations. From Hank's enigmatic Louisiana family to the manipulations of True's mother, Kathleen, the reader feels a part of this novel rather than just merely an observer. Amid the laughter and tears of this deeply moving read emerges a love so profound that it seems capable of weathering any storm. The complexity of emotions running throughout this book hint at True's resentment of her first husband's domination of her life as well as her own
insecurities concerning her ability keep a man from straying.

True Dickinson, the widowed 43-year-old mother of 10-year-old Guy, is returning to her Cape Cod home after a birthday celebration when her car skids off the snowy road. Hank Bannister, part owner and cook at the restaurant True just left, pulls her and her friend Isabelle out of their car on that snowy winter night.

With mutual attraction sizzling between them, Hank and True soon make love, despite her insecurities about him being 10 years her junior—and her obsession with her extra pounds. Though busy at the restaurant, Hank tries to contact True, who is afraid to become involved with him. Hiding behind her business, she fills orders for Twelve Times Blessed, an online company that provides baby gifts for every month of a newborn's first year of life.

When a hiking trip results in a marriage proposal from Hank, True and he marry quickly. But there is always a cloud hanging over their happiness, as Hank must learn the real meaning of commitment to family and reluctant son Guy.

(Apr., 544 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick