A Toronto transplant moves to a small town on the shores of Lake Huron and falls in love with a man grieving for his deceased child.
Dr. Nora Walsh wonders how her seemingly perfect life turned upside down so quickly. After she discovered her boyfriend was cheating on her, Nora realized she had accommodated his every wish for their life together. Deciding there is nothing salvageable for her in Toronto, she decides to try the life of a small-town doctor for two years; she can rediscover herself and save money toward a down payment on a home. Nora surprises herself by enjoying life in the charming tourist town of Moonflower Bay, and she quickly befriends local wood worker and fisherman Jake Ramsey. Jake has lived in town his entire life, but everyone gives him a wide berth out of respect for his profound grief. Four years earlier his son died of the flu before his first birthday, his marriage broke up soon afterward, and then his mother died of breast cancer. Jake has spent years alone, dealing with the waves of grief that are his constant companion. But something about Nora’s warm acceptance unlocks Jake, and he finds himself able to share his feelings of sadness, loss, and guilt. The pacing of the friends-to-lovers plot is perfect: Nora and Jake bond over home repairs and her pet dog, but eventually they enter into a secret “friends with benefits” arrangement. They pledge to keep the entanglement from becoming “romantic”—Jake is convinced that part of him is dead, and Nora intends to leave town. As their emotional attachment deepens, Jake and Nora each have to evaluate whether they are willing and able to take another risk on love.
This richly satisfying romance is a heart-wrenching and emotional tour de force.