Diana O’Toole has her life completely mapped out – educational aspirations, career goals, engagement and marriage plans, timeline for kids, when to move out of the city to the suburbs – but when the COVID-19 pandemic hits things start to become unpredictable and move far beyond Diana’s control.
First, her new high-profile client decides to postpone a big art sale, one that would have earned Diana a big promotion at Sotheby’s, the large auction house where she works. Second, her boyfriend Finn, a surgical resident at a hospital in New York, is unable to go on a pre-planned trip to the Galapagos with Diana because all medical personnel are needed at the hospital. Since it is very early days in the 2020 pandemic timeline, the couple have no idea how bad things will soon get, but Finn encourages Diana to go ahead with the trip, solo.
Apprehensively she does, but things continue to be unpredictable. First, her luggage is lost, then as soon as she arrives at the island, it is placed under a quarantine order, and will close for two week. All other tourists are leaving the island, trying to catch flights home, but Diana, committed to taking this once in a lifetime trip, gets off the ferry only to quickly discover that her hotel is closed and she has no place to stay.
Fortunately for Diana, a local woman named Abuelita, takes pity on her and puts her up in a small apartment, but Diana’s stay continues to be a difficult one. She has to navigate an unfamiliar town, where most everything is closed, lack of cell phone or internet service, and a language barrier. She is forced to abandon all her pre-made plans, and not only try new things, but create some local connections. These connections turn out to be life changing for Diana and she is soon evaluating her former life with a more critical eye and wondering how things will be when she returns home.
Since reading Jodi Picoult’s mega hit MY SISTER’S KEEPER, I have been a big fan. This newest addition to her extensive title list is excellent. It is the only title that I have read so far that is written in the present day, with the pandemic as a central focus of the plot. Plus, readers are sure to appreciate the author’s attention to detail and the amount of time she must have spent researching the various topics to create a cohesive, believable tale.