Second Thyme Around

Imagine her surprise and consternation when Perdita Dylan, a thirty-year-old divorcee who supports herself by selling her home-grown organic produce to specialty restaurants, encounters her ex-husband Lucas Gillespie, a sharp-tongued former stockbroker turned chef, as she makes her regular delivery to a local restaurant. Sparks immediately fly and set in motion a plot that reaches a predictable but satisfying conclusion in the last chapter.

The central plot pitting the two main characters, Perdita and Lucas, against each other is classic romantic comedy driven by a love-hate relationship. At first, Lucas only fuels the smoldering anger that Perdita has been nursing in the decade since Lucas left her. Perdita resents how Lucas’s sudden appearance throws her emotions off-stride and upsets her comfortable, if somewhat dull life as a hard-working small businesswoman and her close friendship with her eighty-seven-year-old neighbor, fellow gardener and surrogate mother, Kitty Anson. The romantic sparring between Perdita and Lucas reaches a crescendo during the filming of a television cooking show, A Gourmet and a Gardener, in which they both star.

Kitty suffers a series of strokes, and the changing circumstances of coping with her care and her eventual death allow both Perdita and Lucas to gain maturity, perspective, and reveal their vulnerabilities. Their mutual compassion for Kitty’s needs as she faces disabling illness and death infuses this novel with a greater degree of substance and sensitivity than is usual for a romantic comedy. As Lucas steps in to help Perdita recover from her grief over the loss of Kitty, they recognize that their love has rekindled, and they look forward to a second marriage with newfound respect for each other.