Author: Thea Goodman

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9662-0

Thea Goodman, author of The Sunshine When She’s Gone, is a New York City native. She has a Master’s degree in Fine Art from Brooklyn College. (inside back cover, 2013) She has taught writing at the Art Institute in Chicago, IL. Mrs. Goodman has penned numerous short stories that have been published in credible journals where she has gained a loyal following. Some of her work has earned her the Columbia Fiction Award, the Pushcart Prize Special Mention, as well as, fellowships at Yaddo and Ragdale. Currently, she resides with her family in Chicago, IL.

Veronica and John, two of the main characters of this novel, have just had their first child. Both are working professionals and parents. They are physically and emotionally spent by the demands of new parenthood. They live and work in New York City and love it there.

Veronica has been distant since the troubling birth of Clara. John has tried everything he can to bring her out of these doldrums, nothing seems to work. One morning he decides to surprise her by taking the baby out and allowing Veronica to sleep in. Both of them have been sleep deprived for the past six months because Clara is unable to sleep through the night. John thinks to take the baby to his favorite restaurant, but when he gets there it is closed. What next?

While Veronica sleeps soundly in their uptown apartment John decides to take Clara to Barbados. He and Veronica used to vacation there when they were dating. He has fond memories of this time. Recently the whole family got passports and John has just picked them up from the mailbox on his way out of the apartment building. His idea is to make a day of it, but when he arrives in Barbados his plan begins to spiral out of his control. Can he manage to get things back together in time?

Veronica enjoys this worry-free sleep, but wonders where John and Clara are. She finds a note on the kitchen counter from John and relaxes. Midday her friends call and invite her over for dinner. She goes, somewhat reluctantly. They too are trying to have a baby and have fallen prey to many health maladies that have prevented this from coming to fruition in the past. Veronica feels a little guilty that she is a new mother and her friends are not. Will they eventually become parents?

Later John calls and leaves a message that he has taken Clara to visit his mother. His father has died recently and his mother is still getting acclimated to her single life. He figures, incorrectly, that Veronica will not check this white lie out and that he can get back before she notices anything is amiss. Veronica worries that he did not invite her, but enjoys her child-free day.

John has a series of unfortunate mishaps while in Barbados which prevent him from returning to the States by day’s end and even delay him well into the following day. Veronica is racked with guilt at being away from her husband and child. This is the first time they are separated. Her spirits soar when an ex-boyfriend calls to tell her he is in town and would love to see her. She agrees and they meet at a restaurant where she is dining with her friends who have just told her they are pregnant and expecting. It is a celebration of sorts. Her friends dislike the ex and believe that she should not invite trouble by being seen out with him. He leaves feigning to get carry-out for his new love interest. Veronica feels pangs of jealousy, but pretends otherwise.

Veronica has been aiding the celebratory couple to purchase a diamond ring. They have shopped and drank all day long. She finds herself somewhat drunken by the night’s end and wishing to spend time with her ex. She goes to him and they have a passionate night of sex. Veronica has not had much sex with John since the birth of Clara. She goes home the following morning trying to shake the guilt and angst at her actions. However, the scenario has finally awakened her old sexual self where she believes she can begin to get back to a normal sex life with John. Will she overcome this guilt and angst? Will John find out?

I enjoyed this book because it relates to real life. The actions of these characters are not unlike what I hear from other new parents. Read it. Enjoy it.

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