Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Restoration of Celia Fairchild by Marie Bostwick


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This was another book I saw at B&N and the cover grabbed me right away. It didn't look like a romantic comedy (it isn't), and when I read the blurb on the back cover, well, seeing it was set in Charleston had me adding it to my stack of books. I left B&N that day with a hefty bag of books and zero regret. Which, to be honest, is how I always leave B&N. 

I'll be honest again and say I started reading it and thought, uh oh, I don't think I'm prepared to read a novel about a woman who is seeking to adopt a baby. It just wasn't what I was looking to read about. However, I kept reading (it was a welcome break from The Sanatorium!) and sure enough I got past the first 50 pages and settled into a charming novel about creating a family and finding a new beginning when it seems that all is lost. 

Celia Fairchild is newly divorced and working in New York City as the popular newspaper advice columnist Dear Calpurnia. She's decided the only way to have the family she desires is to adopt a baby on her own. Marching into her boss' office, she's prepared to ask for a raise in order to help finance a new place to live-a place to raise a baby. 

However, Celia finds herself unemployed and devastated by the sudden turn of events. Soon after, she receives a phone call from a lawyer in Charleston, telling her she is the sole heir to her Aunt Calpurnia's home and she must come down to take care of it. Celia hadn't spoken to her Aunt in years, and feels horrible Calpurnia died without Celia making her peace. With no job on the horizon, she heads to Charleston.

What Celia finds is a big surprise, and the beginning of a brand new life-one that Celia isn't sure she wants. However, she's a potential match for a baby, and has twelve weeks to get the house in shape for a visit by the birth mother. And the house is a DISASTER. A host of characters enter the picture-neighbors, an ex-con contractor, a delightfully sunny young man who works at a local coffee shop; even an old high school friend. And yes, the lawyer who wears ill-fitting suits even shows up to help Celia. Little does Celia know it, but her family is taking shape and changing her life. 

As I said before, this was a charming novel. I am always up for a novel where people are starting over, changing their life in big and small ways, and discovering what makes them truly happy. Time and time again, what we think we want and what we actually need are usually two different things-and it can take big changes to recognize the difference. For Celia, it's a big change in both her attitude and her idea of a picture perfect life that generate her happily ever after. 

There are some interesting issues throughout this book: most importantly, the issues of loneliness and isolation. Family, forgiveness, doing what's right versus doing what society thinks is proper. Understanding we have a family we are born into, and a family we create from those around us who support, nurture, and love us through all the crap. 

If you're looking for a gentle read, this is it. Marie Bostwick has written many other novels, and I suspect they are also gentle reads, too. There is a letter from the author in the back, as well as reading group questions. This is the kind of novel you finish at night before you go to bed, smile, then get a good night's sleep. 

Available in paperback and ebook. 

Rating: 4/6 for a novel that surprised me with the many lively characters and their back stories, the evolution of Celia's life plans, and the happily ever after that was not a big blow out, but a soft, gentle, satisfying conclusion. Oh-there is knitting, too! 

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