cover image This Disaster Loves You

This Disaster Loves You

Richard Roper. Putnam, $18 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-54070-1

With this gentle, heartwarming tale of love lost and found again in the unlikeliest of places, Roper (When We Were Young) takes readers on a whirlwind tour through England and Scotland. It’s been nearly seven years since Brian’s wife, Lily, unexpectedly walked away from their life. Stuck scrolling through increasingly negative reviews of the deteriorating pub that once was their dream while pinning hopes for her return based on a single hastily written postcard received shortly after she left, Brian self-soothes by pouring pints for Jeff, a pub regular with a penchant for tall tales, and reminiscing about his 15 years with Lily. It’s not until he sees a TripAdvisor handle suggesting that Lily might be out adventuring that he’s propelled to make a change. He sets out to track her down and find out the truth of why she left him once and for all. Following her trail takes Brian from Stonehenge to Bath and along the way he gets in touch with his daredevil side, reconsiders what his future will hold, and meets new people, including a woman named Tess, with whom he discovers an unexpected connection. Despite frequent flashbacks, Roper effectively moves his protagonist’s life forward, and it’s a joy to watch Brian come out of his funk. Readers will be hooked. Agent: Laura Williams, Greene & Heaton. (Feb.)