Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Books: "Me For You" By Lolly Winston
Me for You
By Lolly Winston
Gallery Books; hardcover, $26.00; E-Book, $9.99; available today, Tuesday, March 12
Lolly Winston, the New York Times bestselling author of Good Grief, has written a new novel, Me For You, which tells a richly poignant and stirring story that asks the deep question, how soon is too soon to fall in love again?
The last thing Rudy expected was to wake up one Saturday morning, a widow at fifty-four years old. Now, ten months after the untimely death of his beloved wife, he’s still not sure how to move on from the defining tragedy of his life—but his new job is helping.
After being downsized from his finance position, Rudy turned to his first love: the piano. Some people might be embarrassed to work as the piano player at Nordstrom, but for Rudy, there’s joy in bringing a little music into the world. And it doesn’t hurt that Sasha, the Hungarian men’s watch clerk who is finally divorcing her no-good husband, finds time to join him at the bench every now and then.
Rudy and Sasha go on a date of sorts, and Winston writes of the aftermath when he is talking to his daughter about dating, "Since their food-court lunch, Rudy had not been able to stop thinking about Sasha. It has been a nice date, right? A date! It had felt easy, simple, and yet it filled Rudy with anticipation. He kept having half visions of their future dates. Real restaurants with white tablecloths, the reflections of tea candles in wineglasses. But then Rudy made the mistake of telling CeCe about Sasha, his enthusiasm clearly unnerving his daughter. She declared that it was too soon and sudden for Rudy to start seeing one woman exclusively. Since when was CeCe an expert on dating? In a flash, CeCe was at his laptop at the breakfast bar, building him a profile on Match.com.
"'This is great,' This means you can start braving more coffee dates,' his daughter gushed. Rudy couldn't imagine from where she'd gleaned this knowledge of Internet dating sites. Her divorced girlfriends?
"'Getting to know Sasha has not been sudden,' Rudy protested. He pulled a stool up to the breakfast bar, nervously peering over his daughter's hunched shoulders as her fingers flew and clacked over the computer keys, as though she were booking an international flight and seat assignments. 'It happened over the course of many months and started as a true friendship -'
"'Well, one person, without meeting anyone else...I don't know. My friend Sandra told me you really should meet a number of people.'
"'Why don't I just go on The Dating Game?'
"While entering this world was Rudy's worst nightmare, caving in to his daughter's frenzied idea, letting her continue to tap away, was easier than arguing, and perhaps even letting her down. He was a crap widower. He sighed so heavily, CeCe stopped trying to ask if he needed a few aspirin.
"'There's no medicine for dread,' Rudy replied, hoping he wasn't exuding self-pity.
"'Don't worry. We'll get this set up, and if you don't like it, we'll change it later.' CeCe patted his leg.
"'What are your passions?'
"Sasha, he though. 'Opera,' he answered.
"CeCe scrunched up her freckled nose. 'A little nerdy?'
"She frowned at the computer. 'What about hiking?'
"Rudy couldn't help but notice how his daughter looked like her mother - the heart shape that her face formed with its small, rounded chin, with a tiny dimple.
"'Bird-watching!' CeCe exclaimed, as if that were any less nerdy than opera.
"'I have a club for that.' Rudy imagined the satisfying feeling of ticking off the species on his Audubon card as he crackled through the dry brush - pine siskins and Tweety Bird yellow warblers. 'And I hardly want to advertise being a bird-nerd!' Not that anyone would read this, Rudy knew. He would take it down as soon as CeCe left the house.
"'Okay, opera,' CeCe conceded.
Rudy did start to date other women, but his relationship with Sasha begins to flourish. Just as it is about to deepen, the police come to the store with an update about Rudy’s wife’s untimely death. A coworker has confessed to her murder, but Rudy’s actions are suspicious enough to warrant a second look at him, too. With Sasha’s husband suddenly reappearing, and Rudy’s daughter confronting her own marital problems, suddenly life becomes more complicated than Rudy and Sasha could have imagined.
Winston’s trademark humor and sweetness will appeal to readers of Jennifer Weiner and Fredrik Backman, but it is uniquely her own.
Me For You is a heartfelt and realistic portrait of loss and grief, hope and forgiveness, and two imperfect people coming together to create a perfect love story.