William Morrow, 2012 (2012)
Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle
mma Tupper was a terrific lawyer, up for partnership and the culmination of her ambitions, when her mother died of cancer. Although her mother had an obsession with Africa, even though she had never been there, Emma was happy in her job and had no real interest in travel. She was amazed to discover that the only legacy her mother left her was an open-ended ticket to Africa. It wasn't something that she even wanted to use until the estate lawyer told her that the trip might mean a delay in her promotion, and that made her so mad that she became determined to go and asked for a month's leave.
he first few days of the trip were uneventful, but when Emma became ill, the tour leaders left her in a small village to recover. There was a horrible earthquake, and she lost contact with everyone at home for the next year. Emma came back to find that she had been missing for so long that she was presumed to have died in the earthquake. As she struggled to get her life back after being away for so long, she began to wonder whether she really wanted things to be the same as they were.
has an interesting premise, in that people rarely disappear in these days of cell phones and computers, but when they do the complications of modern life make re-entry difficult. Catherine McKenzie has given us a wonderful character in Emma. She finds herself alone in New York in the winter with nothing but summer clothes to wear, all her belongings having been destroyed and her apartment rented to someone else. Her mother was her only relative, and her friends aren't answering their cell phones. Everywhere she looks things seem to have changed in ways that exclude her. Although she's able to return to work, she finds herself demoted and bored with the work she's given, since all her interesting files had to be given to other lawyers to finish during her long absence.
ven though Emma is caught in an unpleasant situation, there's enough humor in this book to keep it upbeat. She flails around wondering what to do and making mistakes, but just when it seems as though she's done something really foolish, an unlikely event will occur to either cheer her up or encourage her that she's doing the right thing for herself. Her boyfriend troubles keep life interesting and there are some strange characters at her job, mostly friendly, who both help and complicate the plot. All in all, this is an enjoyable romp of a novel with a satisfying ending.
2nd Review by Mary Ann Smyth
hen lawyer Emma Tupper returns from a month-long leave of absence for an African vacation, she finds her world has forgotten her. She fell ill in Africa and, thanks to an earthquake, couldn't return home for six months. Almost everyone she knew believed she was dead and moved on in their own lives.
er apartment had been leased to someone else – a handsome photographer! She's able to work again (though demoted) for her former employer and is trying to win a big case for a client. Most of her friends and co-workers tell her she should take this opportunity to start over.
ow can she? She had worked so hard and given up so much to be where she was when she departed for Africa. Why should she start again?
made me put myself in her place. What would I do? Hard to leave everything and everyone behind to start fresh. But the thought of new places and people and adventures would be very enticing. Emma would be a good friend to have - determined, unafraid, as well as pugnacious. I'd like to know her.
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