If, like me, you are entering Week 6 of quarantine, the novelty of being cooped up inside is wearing thin, and the days are blurring together like a Real Life version of the movie Groundhog Day. What’s taking me even farther from reality? Books.
We have always needed books, but we need them now more than ever. It’s through the written word that we can escape our houses and apartments and quickly find ourselves in the special town of Haven Lake in Cindi Madsen’s Country Hearts (see review here) or the romantic town of Heart’s Landing in Leigh Duncan’s A Simple Wedding (see review here). For me, I took this past week to escape on a hike through the Pacific Northwest in Hallmark Publishing’s latest release, In Other Words, Love by Shirley Jump.
In this tale of rekindled love, our leading lady Kate Winslow dreams of being an author and seeing her name spotlighted on the cover of a book jacket. Instead she’s a ghostwriter—and it’s not how she imagined it. At almost 40, her budget is tight and the bills are piling up. If it weren’t for her precarious financial predicament, she never would have agreed to her latest assignment: writing the memoir of the man who broke her heart after college graduation, Trent MacMillan.
Trent is the founder of an eco-friendly outdoor clothing line, Get Outdoors Apparel (GOA), and as a part of the publicity plan for taking his company public, he’s promised to write a memoir. Everyone is interested in the story of how Trent took an idea he had on a hike and developed it into a successful company. But time to finish the book is running out, and since Trent has yet to produce a single page, Sarah Watkins, GOA’s very capable head of public relations, suggests hiring a ghostwriter.
At first, the idea doesn’t sit well with Trent, as it goes against what Trent has built his reputation on: transparency. But eventually he relents and agrees to keep an open mind when he meets with the ghostwriter.
For their meet-cute, Kate has the upper hand because, although she’s not happy about it, she has mentally prepared herself for the reunion. Trent, however, is not at all prepared. It’s been 15 years, and Trent is shocked to find Kate, even more stunning then he remembers, in his conference room. Their delightful first scene together is everything readers hope for when two bruised hearts collide again.
By the end of the scene, it’s clear that Kate has erected a wall between the two of them, and it’s going to take some hard work to tear that wall down. Luckily, they are forced to spend time together to work on the memoir: dining at their old favorite restaurant, enjoying a night of bowling, and getting outside for a hike. They even take a visit to Trent’s family home and help out at the MacMillans’ nursery’s annual sale. As the story of what happened since they last saw each other unfolds, we discover that with fresh eyes and a bit of maturity, maybe all the details they both were so sure of aren’t exactly what they thought.
I connected with this book. And not just because the leading lady is a ghostwriter and I write this blog as Meg [No Last Name]. I needed this book. I tend to enjoy old lovers with shared history finding their way back to one another, but what I needed most right now was an escape into nature, even if only in my imagination. While on a hike with Kate and Trent surrounded by the beauty of mountains, I took in deep breaths of fresh air and pictured myself outdoors on a hike, too. I let my imagination dress me in hiking gear as Trent outfitted Kate for the hike, and I felt the trees brush against my shoulder while navigating the terrain for the first time. When Trent and his friend Greg went on a run in the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, so did I, and when Kate and her grandma gardened, I pushed my fingers into the soft brown earth, too.
I don’t know about you, but my concentration isn’t so great these days, and it was a pure delight to lose myself in this story. In fact, I found that by transporting myself into a love story set in nature, I released some stress and afterwards could concentrate more easily. If you’d like to join me and escape with a good book, In Other Words, Love is available here.