cover image Goodbye Again

Goodbye Again

Mariah Stewart. Montlake, $12.95 trade paper (380p) ISBN 978-1-5420-3307-7

Stewart returns to Wyndham Beach, Mass., (first visited in An Invincible Summer) for a lighthearted tale of love and reinvention refreshingly centered on an older heroine. Divorced 59-year-old Lydia Bryant has spent four years grieving the death by suicide of her only child, Jessica. In an attempt to rebuild her life, she acquires a run-down bookstore and hopes her enthusiasm for literature will help her to revitalize both the space and her life. Lydia gradually finds herself again with the help of longtime friends Maggie and Emma—as well as widowed father Tuck Shelby, the contractor she enlists to help renovate the shop. As they spend time together, Lydia feels a spark she hasn’t experienced in years—but then her ex-husband, Jim, returns, hoping to reconnect. Her emotions thrown off kilter, Lydia must decide if she wants to pick up a new book or reread an old one. It takes some time for the pace to pick up, but Stewart’s simple, engrossing prose conjures believable characters, and she approaches Jessica’s suicide with empathy and understanding. The strength of the female friendships especially shines through, bolstering the love story. Readers will be eager for more. Agent: Nick Mullendore, Vertical Ink Agency. (Feb.)