Dabney Kimball Beech was always very popular and loved to live in Nantucket. She grew up with her father who was a policeman because her mother had abandoned Dabney and her father in a planned but strange manner when Dabney was a young child.
Dabney had a special gift. She seemed to be very good at matching people. In fact, there were forty-two happy couples who credited Dabney with initially matching them with each other.
When Dabney was in high school she was very much in love with Clendenin Hughes. His dream was to be a journalist and even though neither of them wanted to be separated from each other, Dabney did not want to leave her island home and he didn't want to stay. He was overseas when she told him that she was pregnant with his child. He immediately wanted her to join him but she made it very clear that she was not going to do that and, in fact, never wanted to hear from him again.
When her daughter, Agnes, was born, Dabney began single-parenting her. A serious man who was a celebrated economist fell in love with Dabney and after he married her, Box (his nickname) not only adopted Agnes, but also provided a comfortable lifestyle for all of them.
Dabney enjoyed promoting her home and worked for the Chamber of Commerce where she arranged unique ways for the community to celebrate together. She was sad when Agnes moved away and upset when she met the man who Agnes planned to marry because she believed they were definitely not suited for each other. Telling this to Agnes, however, just caused problems in her own relationship with her daughter and the finance.
Over time, the work that Box did was more and more demanding. He began to stay away from home more than when they had begun their marriage. Dabney didn't seem to mind because she enjoyed her work and friends and knew that their marriage wasn't very exciting for either of them.
And then, without any notice, Agnes received an email from Clen who stated that he was returning to Nantucket the following day. This was such a shock and Dabney didn't know how to handle the situation. She had wanted him to stay away, but, at the same time, knew that he was the only true love of her life.
There were so many things that troubled Dabney about Clen's return including the fact that, to her knowledge, Agnes and he had never met or had contact with each other. She didn't know how she would explain Clen's return to Box or how she would act when she and Clen met again after so many years of being apart.
The plot for this book has so many of the dilemmas that individuals have to face in their lives. Although it is fictional, the characters, their emotions and behaviours are very believable. The ending has aspects to it, however, that I did not and could not have suspected.
I enjoyed this book and will eagerly look for others by the same author.