Title: It’s You by Jane Porter
Length: 326 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the USA Today bestselling author of the Brennan Sisters novels comes a heartwarming story about finding love and strength, even in the darkest moments…
In the wake of a tragedy that tore her life down to the foundations, Dr. Alison McAdams has lost her way. So when she’s summoned to Napa to care for her ailing father, she’s not sure she has anything to offer him—or anyone else.
What Ali finds in Northern California wine country is a gift—an opportunity to rest, and distance from her painful memories. Most unexpectedly, she finds people who aren’t afraid of her grief or desperate for her to hurry up and move on.
As Ali becomes part of her father’s community, makes new friends of her own, and hears the stories of a generation who survived the Second World War, she begins to find hope again. In a quest to discover the truth about another woman’s lost love, she sets off on a journey across oceans and deep into history. And in making sense of that long-ago tragedy, Ali is able to put together the broken pieces of her heart and make new choices that are right for her.
It’s You by Jane Porter is a deeply emotional and sometimes heartbreaking novel. Although very different from Ms. Porter’s usual books, it is a very well-written story with a compelling plot and sympathetic characters.
Scottsdale, AZ dentist Allison “Ali” McAdams is still struggling to comes to terms with the loss of her fiancé just weeks before their wedding. Her world was turned even more upside down when six months after his death, her mom unexpectedly passed away. Her dad then moved into a retirement facility in Napa and although they were never very close, this is yet another change that she finds difficult to deal with. When her dad takes a spill, Ali takes a few weeks off from work to spend some quality time with him.
Ali is a little surprised at some of the changes in her dad. Instead of the introverted man she has always known, she is taken off guard by how social he has become. He has made numerous friends and participates in several of the retirement center’s planned activities. One of his closest friends is ninety five year old Edie Stephens and while her dad deeply cares for her, Ali and Edie do not exactly hit it off when they first meet. But all of that changes as the two women bond over their shared losses once Ali learns that Edie lost her first husband during WW II.
Edie’s story is quite tragic and at first, Ali has a difficult time wrapping her head around the fact that Edie’s husband was an officer in German army. However, through Edie’s recollections and her diaries, Ali learns there is much more to the story than she first thought. She is so moved by Edie’s life in Germany that she impulsively plans a trip to Berlin so she can see firsthand some of the important places that figured so prominently in Edie’s long ago past.
It is not until Ali begins talking with Edie that she begins to make peace with her own past. Ali is very introspective and her pain and sorrow is so palpable that it is very heartbreaking to read just how deeply she is still suffering from her losses. She remains steadfast in her decision to never risk her heart again, but once she learns about Edie’s past, she begins to realize that loss is an inevitable part of life. By the novel’s end, Ali has recovered from her losses enough to consider making some changes in both her personal and professional lives.
There is also a slight romantic element to the story and the introduction of Ali’s potential love interest provides longtime fans of Jane Porter the opportunity to catch up with characters from the Brennan Sisters trilogy. Although the overall storyline is somewhat somber, the historical aspects of the storyline are quite fascinating and the novel’s conclusion is upbeat and positive. All in all, It’s You is a poignant and heartfelt novel of healing that I highly recommend.