3287Sarah Moon is a cartoonist, a wife, and a would-be mother. She thinks she has the perfect life, but while undergoing fertility treatments to achieve that dream of motherhood, she discovers that all is not as perfect as she’d believed. She finds her husband Jack in bed with another woman.

Fleeing from her life in Chicago, she returns home to Marin County, where she grew up as the daughter of an oyster farmer. In a place where she was the sarcastic and dorky artist, a place that reminds her of her social awkwardness. But the place she had shunned suddenly promises to be just what she needs.

And an old crush from high school, Will Bonner, is turning out to be her best friend. He is the Captain of the fire department, focused intermittently on a series of arson conflagrations that simmer like an undercurrent beneath the surface of the unfolding romance between Sarah and Will. Can Will and Sarah be more than friends? Will an unexpected pregnancy that had resulted from that last fertility treatment further complicate her life, or bring her just what she needs? And what explosive events will unfurl, revealing dark secrets beneath the surface of all their lives?

Just Breathe is one of those stories that unfolds in some predictable ways, but also offers a glimpse of realistic characters, beautiful settings, some intense drama, and that feel-good kind of life we all crave. Showing us the struggles two people must overcome resonated with me; and the challenge of Aurora, Will’s adolescent stepdaughter, complicated the budding romance between Sarah and Will, even as her presence added extra layers of complexity to the tale. Four stars.

Please leave your thoughts. Comments, not awards, feed my soul. Thanks!

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