From the back cover:
"You're depressed," the doctor declared.
"Ya think?" is author Avery Elkins Thompson's sarcastic response to the astute diagnosis for the malaise that set in following her husband's untimely death. Avery's carefully controlled world is imploding, and her adult children fear they are losing her too.
"You're just a shadow of the person you used to be...We'd gladly give you up for a while if it meant getting you back."
Avery can't write, and questions about their father's death leave the family mired in pain. "We need a healing place," her oldest son tells her, suggesting she find it on Anna Maria Island, Florida, a former family vacation spot.
When Avery returns to Baltimore to sell the family's waterfront condo, she meets rodeo-ers-turned-real-estate-brokers Teddie and Rider Davis, and Avery's quiet life will never be the same again.
The Davises help arrange a short-term house swap with widower Gabriel Carson from Anna Maria, whose overprotective parenting has resulted in two self-centered, twenty-something daughters. Avery and Gabriel are in for the summer of their lives as they step into one another's messy, complicated worlds.
Still, venturing out on her own again is challenging for Avery, whose experiences at the Ringling's magnificent Ca d'Zan mansion, and with the quirky characters she meets there, eventually awaken her to truths she has long forgotten - that as crazy as life can be, it is possible to laugh and love again.
Awakening Avery is a beautifully written story that reminds me of a happily-ever-after version of the acclaimed movie, "84 Charing Cross Road." In that movie, two book-loving characters correspond through letters over the course of twenty years, yet while they obviously grow to care for each other, they never physically meet. Perhaps that is a good thing, since the man in the novel, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, is married, and I would have hated to see any rift come to his marriage. However, I couldn't help but feel saddened by the pen-pal's often poignant situation.
That's why I say Awakening Avery is a happily-ever-after version. In Lewis's story, a man and woman meet, grow together through their later correspondence, and eventually come together again to find joy in their heart and soul union. But Awakening Avery is more than a simple love story. It is also a quiet, yet sometimes insightful portrayal of a woman's self-awakening from grief and creative suppression into a world where second chances at love and personal growth are possible.
Awakening Avery is definitely not a fast-paced, heart-pounding story, but it's charm not only held my attention, but it also continues to touch my heart.