I just finished The Richest Season by Maryann McFadden. It was a review copy I received Monday from LibraryThing. The book was released June 10, but had been sold previously as a self-published novel by the author.
At first I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it, but I have to say I really loved this book. At first I thought it was going to be a typical chick lit midlife crisis type book, but it really surprised me. The character development in the book was wonderful and left me feeling more optimistic than a lot of books I've read recently have made me feel.
The Richest Season is about a middle-aged corporate wife, Joanna, who runs away from her seemingly perfect life after she realizes her husband has been promoted again, meaning another move to a new community and even less time together. She goes to a small beach town she discovered years ago and takes a job caring for a dying elderly woman. We watch as Joanna becomes more independent and her relationship with Grace, the elderly woman, grows. And we see her enter into her first new relationship in 25 years. What a strange thing to think about.
In the meantime, her husband loses his high-powered job due to a merger and ends up doing a little soul searching of his own. Although I know I was supposed to really feel for Joanna, I found myself looking more forward to the passages about her husband, Paul. I loved watching him change and realize that Joanna had been right about his job consuming their lives. In the beginning he was so unlikeable, but by the end I was really rooting for him.
Also, there was a whole side part about Joanna taking part in sea turtle conservation as part of trying to keep busy in her new surroundings. I couldn't help but get all nostalgic about my own sea turtle volunteer experience when I was reading those sections. I loved how it was interwoven into the story and it really made my heart smile when she saw the momma turtle laying eggs one night.
Anyway, it's not a perfect book, but I'm really glad I read it. It definitely made me feel better after all of the other books I've been reading lately.
This book has also been reviewed by:
Jill at Breaking the Spine