Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London

Flap copy from paperback:
"Macy Lockhart's life shattered in a moment with the news that her husband, Finn- serving in the military overseas- has been killed in the line of duty. Their ardent and devoted marriage is over, leaving Macy along, empty, directionless. But while she tries to sustain herself with memories of Finn, the quiet, strong man who made her and their small Texas ranch the center of his life, it is wealthy Wyatt Clark who slowly brings joy back into her life. Her love for Wyatt may be less romantic than the breathless passion she's once shared with Finn, but she vows to cherish him, and their marriage is happy and as solid as a rock. Until the day that Finn, miraculously spared from death, returns home to claim his bride..."

First off, let me say that I think the flap copy is rather deceptive- this book begins with Finn's return so we never really see Macy dealing with his death or finding solace in Wyatt, so basically the flap copy is the back story which I found misleading. I had a hard time with this book because I thought London did an excellent job with some aspects of the story but couldn't really feel strongly for Macy herself who I found rather aggravating in her inability to assess what she herself wanted out of her life.

Macy married Finn and their conversations about their past relationship makes it clear that though it was passionate and loving, it was no equal partnership. Macy quits her job to help with the ranch despite her lack of true interest in leading that type of life, then gets stuck trying to keep it above ground when her husband joins the military over her objections and disappears in Afghanistan. When she is forced to sell Finn's horses and to give away his dogs, she faces opposition from Finn's overbearing mother who nonetheless seems to offer no concrete assistance of any kind.

Macy's relationship with Wyatt was equally problematic for me as it seemed to center on her need to be taken care of and his need to have a pretty wife who focused her life on his needs. Again she doesn't work, and they seemingly decide to try for a baby because Wyatt thinks it is time and Macy isn't doing anything else anyway. His actions in the actual narrative paint him as selfish, deceitful, and opportunistic- I'm not sure how any woman could fall in love with Wyatt let alone find it hard to leave him when her "true love" returns from the dead.

Given that I didn't like the main character and couldn't empathize with her dilemma (I think she would have been better off on her own), I obviously didn't much like the book. Nonetheless I was impressed with the way London treated some aspects of Macy's impossible situation. I think she did an excellent job portraying the challenges Macy faced when Finn left her behind to join the military and when she ultimately learned of Finn's death. I appreciated that Finn had to work his way through symptoms of PTSD when he returned, and that he was forced to grow a bit throughout the story.

My husband is an active duty Marine so I did connect with the underlying plot of the story, and with some of the choices and decision that Macy was forced to make. Ultimately though, I would have preferred a heroine who seemed more in control of her life and her decisions; Macy was too much like a ping-pong ball bouncing between Finn and Wyatt for me to enjoy.

1 comment:

Nicola O. said...

I can definitely understand that take on it. To me though, the point of Macy's character arc was that she really was finally forced to make some active decisions about her own life -- about what *she* wanted. There was a moment when Finn asked her that-- to stop worrying about who was going to get hurt and thing about what SHE wanted-- and it was a real turning point.