By Susan Wiggs. A touching story about one woman’s journey toward her discovery of hidden family secrets and of what’s truly important in life.
Natalie Harper is about to celebrate a big promotion when her whole world is shattered.
First, tragedy strikes when her mother and boyfriend are killed while traveling to celebrate her promotion. How can she possibly cope with this heartbreak and deal with the tough decisions ahead of her?
Then, her beloved grandfather Andrew is showing signs of dementia which seemed to get worse after he broke his hip. He should be in a facility that can care for him. She adores her Grandy, and she can’t lose him too.
Finally, her mother’s financially strapped bookstore is housed in a landmarked building built before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and is a very valuable piece of property. Books were her mother’s passion but not Natalie’s. She wants her safe job with its good salary and benefits.
Natalie knows that liquidating the books and selling the building will pay off the liens, the back taxes, and provide the funds necessary to care for Grandy. But Grandy owns the business and the building, and he absolutely refuses to sell. He clings to idea of the building having hidden treasure. He says, “My father would never lie about such a thing.”
Natalie notices a book her mother had been reading and sees a passage tagged with a stick-on marker that jumps out at her. The passage reads: “How would you live your life differently if you could start over, what would you do?”
At that moment, Natalie decides some way, somehow to keep the bookstore open and “make it the best damn bookstore on the West Coast.”
The story transports us between the present and the past. As we learn about the secrets the building is hiding, it becomes evident that the past is crucial to achieving Natalie’s goal for the bookstore and keeping Grandy in the only home he has ever known. Yes, there is sadness in this novel, but it is also uplifting. The story abounds with interesting and lovable characters, and the novel is a charming read that celebrates family.