In many ways, the main character's life is truly transformed. I suppose a near death experience can do that to you. I loved the way True's life is initially enhanced by her marriage to Hank. I didn't understand the need for a quick wedding and found it unrealistic that True would go through with such a spontaneous act without including her son (that seemed somewhat out of character). But the romance of True and Hank is inspiring and exciting. I want to believe love can happen that quickly, and can be so fulfilling. Of course, it later turns out to be incredibly complicated as well...
This book deals with so many entities that interest me: single motherhood, entrepreneurial businesses, New Orleans, infidelity, the precocious behavior of young children, life post 9/11, illness, loss of a parent, motherhood post 40. In many ways this book is so clearly modern. There may not be discussions of blackberries and facebook (it was published in 2003) but it still is clearly a product of the 2000's.
I found the relationship between True and Isabella (Esa) incredibly interesting. I love the fact that people can form families with people who aren't their blood. The extended family in this novel is wonderful. The ultra Christian mother of a young actor made me want to scream, as did the actions of True's own mother. But there are maddening and complicated individuals in this world and Mitchard seems to understand them completely.
This five hundred page plus novel seems to really blossom -- it goes from being the story of a lonely widow who sadly faces her birthday, to a story of love and friendship and overcoming obstacles with happiness and courage. In many ways the tone of the book shifts once True finds herself again, and part of that is due to the entrance of Hank.
I wish I had written my review of this book right after reading it as I feel I would have more to say. But I still highly enjoyed this book.