Published 2019, 249 pages
Martha Storm is headed to the Sandshift library where she volunteers. It’s Valentine’s Day and she’s spent the whole day preparing for a book signing event. Although she herself thinks the hoopla around Valentine’s Day is a lot of nonsense, she dutifully bakes heart shaped cookies, purchases wine and fluted glasses, then trundles it all to the library in time for the event, only to find the word ‘cancelled’ written on the poster advertising it. Martha is prepared to be furious, and rightly so – someone owed her the courtesy of a call, but she finds a parcel outside which grabs her attention for the time being and for a long time to come. The parcel is a book with a note attached which is addressed to her. It was left there by a used book seller from a nearby town. Inside is an inscription to her from Zelda, her grandmother, but the date is three years after her grandmother’s death. Martha is advised by her younger sister Lilian to let the matter drop, but Martha can’t do it. Zelda was the one bright spot in an otherwise painful childhood, the one who stood up to her controlling father and acquiescent mother. While Martha and Zelda were making up stories to entertain each other, her father Thomas was recommending that she and her sister read only the encyclopedia set he had purchased for them. The tension between her father and grandmother escalated for several years until Zelda’s death when Martha was still a young girl. As her parents grew older her mother needed help caring for her father, and Martha devoted herself to the task, then spent her young adulthood caring for both parents until they died. It was a lonely task, her sister Lilian not helping much, by then she had married and had children of her own. Martha had given up her own life to care for her parents and now made a life for herself in helping others. She put to rest the writing that she and her grandmother were so fond of in her youth, and forgot about it. But this book, the one found on the library steps on Valentine’s Day, was a collection of those very stories. And the possibility that her grandmother might still be alive proved irresistible to her. Martha sets out to discover how the book came to her, how it came to be, and most of all to find her much loved grandmother. Along the way she comes to terms with disappointment, makes new friends and wrestles with decisions she made in the past which have come to be a way of life, maybe not the life she wants for herself now
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