The Sweetheart Deal
The Sweetheart Deal: A Novel by Polly Dugan. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2016. 309 pages. ****
Firefighter Leo McGreary gets drunk and maudlin on New Year's Eve and asks his best friend, Garrett, to sign a piece of paper agreeing to marry his wife in the event of his death. Twelve years later Leo tragically dies in a skiing accident and Garrett gives up his job, apartment and latest girlfriend to help Leo's widow. Garrett works daily to complete a house addition that Leo started but didn't finish before his death. Life becomes complicated when Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey and her three sons and Audrey finds out about the promise made on that New Year's Eve.
Told in the alternating voices of Leo, Garrett, Audrey and her three sons, I was drawn into this story of loss, friendship, love, and grief. Each of the characters responds to the challenges of life in a way that at times is heartbreaking and yet, hopeful. Alternating narrators has been the style of a few of the books that I have read lately, I'm not sure if it is a trend, but in this book, it was a little distracting. It's a good plot and an easy read, I just would have enjoyed it more from a single voice; Audrey or Garrett's point of view. I couldn't decide if Garrett has always been in love with Audrey and that's why his relationships never lasted or if they were rebounding from the loss of Leo. I would recommend this book as a Chick Lit or beach read.
I received a copy from BookSparks for a review.
Polly Dugan lives in Portland, Oregon, and is a reader at Tin House magazine. A former employee of Powell's Books and Guide Dogs for the Blind, she is an alumna of the Tin House Writer's Workshop. She is the author of the story collection So Much a Part of You.
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