The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
Print Length: 328 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
BOOK BLURB – Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.
Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.
But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.
REVIEW – I really enjoy a quick, entertaining read with lots of humor. Humor gets us through so much in life, and I liked the banter between Amy and her friend, Lena, as well as the underlying touches of wit in all the missives from Cori to her mother.
Still, I was hesitant to read the book at first as this scenario is touching closer to home than is comfortable. Not to me, but to someone in the family who was just ditched by her husband. But it was interesting to look at the relationship of Amy and her husband and their kids now three years past his leaving them. There is an underlying message in the book about forgiveness and the glue that holds family together, and is that enough to fix what has been so utterly broken.
Despite John being the ultimate jerk for what he did, walking out on the family and leaving Amy alone and destitute, as this story evolves, he becomes a bit more of a sympathetic character; and this is not something I would have thought I would say about a man who had done this. (see above LOL) But the characters in this book are so well-drawn, the reader can’t help but relate and see them as real people, and maybe have a bit of sympathy for a jerk.
Within the cast of supporting players, I especially liked Amy’s friend, Lena, an ex-nun who teaches at the prestigious school where Amy is the librarian and her children are students.
Early on in the story when Amy is talking to Lena about whether she should go to New York and more importantly if she should accept John’s offer of money so she can enjoy the vacation in style, the friends segue into a brief discussion about Joe, Amy’s twelve year old son and what Amy wants for him. “I want him to get a degree in ‘Joe being happy for the rest of his life,'” I tell her. “Short of that, I guess prelaw.”
“I actually think those two majors are diametrically opposed. But then what do I know? I teach ethics.”
A bit later in the conversation when Amy drops the bomb that she and John are not legally divorced because she did not file after he left for Hong Kong and never came back, there’s this exchange with Lena:
“You’re still married,” Lena says shaking her head.
“I’m still married,” I agree. “To John.”
“After three years apart.”
“I don’t know what to tell you. It was on my list of things to do.”
“That must be quite a list.”
While those moments, and others, are so much fun to read, the story is about so much more than just these quips that make you smile, and I highly encourage you to get the book. There’s a good reason why readers are raving about it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Kelly Harms is an author, a mother, and a big dreamer. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her sparkling son, Griffin; her fluffy dog, Scout; and her beloved Irishman, Chris. Before this midwestern life, she lived in New York, New York, and worked with many of her author-heroes as an editor at HarperCollins and then as a literary agent at the Jane Rotrosen Agency.
When she’s not lost in a book that she’s either writing or reading, you can find her on the water, in the water, or near the water.