Whole Latte Life opens with best friends Rachel and Sara Beth celebrating their fortieth birthdays with a girls’ weekend in New York City. While they wait for their lunch Sara Beth excuses herself to use the powder room. Minutes pass and Rachel begins to worry when her friend does not reappear. Concern for her friend’s well being ramps up when the waiter hands her a note from her friend saying, “I really need some time alone…and you’re the only person who will understand and let me do this. Please don’t worry, I’ll be back.”
Of course Rachel worries. That’s what life-long best friends do. She sets off in search of Sara Beth but realizes that in a city the size of New York she needs help. She approaches the first policeman she sees, a Mounted Police Officer. His advice is to report her friend missing at the nearest precinct. As Rachel is doing just that the officer, who is now off duty, shows up at the precinct and they begin to talk. He sees Rachel’s anguish and ends up spending most of the weekend with her as she tries to find Sara Beth.
Sara Beth has decided to make some personal changes. She is feeling boxed in with her marriage, her children, her life; she craves the person she’d been back in college and feels that her dream of owning an antique shop was lost when her mother passed over a year earlier. Sara Beth misses her mother and their daily talks. There is a hole in her life that no one can fill – not her husband, her children, or even her best friend. In an effort to cling to her mother Sara Beth even leaves voice messages for her and sends her emails.
Upon Sara Beth’s return from her journey of self-rediscovery, the estrangement between the friends becomes wider than the Grand Canyon. Will they ever get back the ease and comfort of their friendship? Can Sara Beth mend the rips in her marriage and her family life before its too late? Should she even try?
Back home in Connecticut, Rachel moves on in her life all the while regretting the loss of a friendship so deep that the girls thought it would weather any storm. The shoreline town of Addison, with its quaint charm and New England appeal, is small enough that the two still see each other but their pride and guilt keep them apart. Is their friendship worth saving? Rachel seems to think so.
Rachel now sees Michael, the Mounted Police Officer, as a real friend – someone who was there for her when her best friend deserted her. It is Michael who makes the move to visit her in Addison where she still lives in the house she once shared with her now deceased husband. The pair decide to take the summer to see if their feelings are real or if they were simply spurred by the act of being thrown together when Sara Beth went rogue.
This is a story of friendship, grief, separation, and love. It is also a coming-of-age for the over forty set. The scenes are woven together seamlessly and keep the reader up late into the night waiting to see what will happen next. The answers all await the characters in a beach cottage called Little Gull.
I loved the descriptions of the town of Addison as I am a Connecticut girl and have visited many shoreline towns such as the one Author DeMaio describes. As I read along I could almost hear the cry of the gulls and the tang of the salt air along Long Island Sound.
This was my first book by Joanne DeMaio but not my last. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee from the coffee shop called Whole Latte Life and pick up this quiet gem.
Rating: 5 stars