This novel is as satisfying as a book to read by the fire on a winter’s night can get, with a rich cast of characters and a plot which keeps you turning the pages when you should probably be doing other things (like I did.)
I could imagine this as a play; five disparate characters with seemingly nothing in common, get stuck in the town library all night in a violent storm, and gradually find out more about each other’s lives.
At first, each seems to be a bit of a stereotype; a sullen teenager, a vagrant with no redeeming qualities, a grumpy, bitter old woman, a handsome but dumb security guard (who proves to be anything but,) and our main character, the Pollyanna-esque Nora who has put her own life on hold to help her drug-addict brother. All of their stories are gradually revealed, cleverly challenging our own perceptions with surprising results.
These people are human beings and their frailties and foibles are laid bare, but this is a deeply satisfying read with a realistic yet feel-good denouement. I bought this on a whim, and I’m so glad I did.
Orphaned at a young age and witness to her brother’s decline into addiction, Nora Martinez has every excuse to question the fairness of life. Instead, the openhearted librarian in the small Colorado community of Silver Ridge sees only promise. She holds on to the hope that she’ll be reunited with her missing brother and does what she can at the town library. It’s her home away from home, but it’s also a sanctuary for others who, like her brother, could use a second chance.
There’s Marlene, an elderly loner who believes that, apart from her husband, there’s little good left in the world; Jasmine, a troubled teen; Lewis, a homeless man with lost hope and one last wish; and Vlado, the security guard who loves a good book and, from afar, Nora.
As a winter storm buries Silver Ridge, this collection of lonely hearts takes shelter in the library. They’ll discover more about each other, and themselves, than they ever knew—and Nora will be forced to question her brother’s disappearance in ways she never could have imagined. No matter how stranded in life they feel, this fateful night could be the new beginning they didn’t think was possible.