SHORT & SWEET REVIEW: CATCHING AIR BY SARAH PEKKANEN

Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). Sometimes I have too many books to do a full-length review. At other times, like now, tennis elbow and a torn tendon makes too much writing/typing difficult. As such, I’ve decided to devote longer reviews to Australian authors until such time as my injury clears. 

I was introduced to Sarah Pekkanen’s writing when I reviewed The Best of Us earlier this year. At the time I found her style warm and engaging, and that feeling was confirmed as I read her latest novel, Catching Air.

Catching Air

A chance to run a bed-and-breakfast in snowy, remote Vermont – it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand-new life, she quells her fears about living with the bed-and-breakfast’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand and Rand’s wife, Alyssa, who is essentially a stranger. For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the bed-and-breakfast as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. Yet the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking – a winter wedding – and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something, that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don’t realise is that Dawn is also hiding from someone …

Pekkanen focuses sharply on relationships between women and their partners, but adds a little mystery via Dawn’s storyline. The story considers a variety of issues facing many women, such as the decision to have a child, infertility and adoption, careers and the changing landscapes of marriage. In addition, she draws out themes of forgiveness, responsibility, change and betrayal as the various characters, including the men, deal with past events or baggage that defines them. The men take more of a backseat, but the troubled relationship between Peter and Rand acts as a catalyst for further character development and change. I do remember feeling that the road ahead for some of the characters would not be as smooth as the ending suggests … but that could be because I saw similarities in one of the characters to someone I know. An engaging read.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

Bookish treat: I made myself crackers and cheese to enjoy while I read this.