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Just Breathe    by Susan Wiggs order for
Just Breathe
by Susan Wiggs
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Sarah Moon thinks she has it all - a great marriage to a man she adores, who's just overcome a serious bout of cancer. Motherhood is next on Sarah's list but Jack's tough rounds of chemotherapy treatments have rendered him sterile and they've had to resort to fertility treatments for the past year. She's sure her latest treatments will finally be positive and when she rushes to Jack's building site to share her feelings, she catches him having sex with his assistant - and soon learns that Jack's been unfaithful to her for months.

Stunned and hurt beyond words and eventually incredibly angry, Sarah serves Jack with divorce papers, packs her belongings and heads home to the small coastal California town where she grew up. At eighteen, she couldn't leave Glenmuir fast enough. Now the tiny fishing community becomes her refuge as she's forced to reassess her life - especially when she must face the greatest irony - she's pregnant with Jack's twins. While she's happy beyond measure at her impending motherhood, she's also worried about being a single parent and supporting her children.

Sarah decides to step outside her comfort zone and take some risks. A gifted artist and long-time author of a moderately successful comic strip, she decides to take her characters nationwide. Then she settles her sights on Will Bonner, the local fire captain and former arrogant jock she'd lampooned mercilessly in her high school comic strip. The fact that Will has turned into a truly nice guy and comes complete with a thirteen-year-old daughter who reminds Sarah of herself at that age only complicates matters. Even so, Sarah decides to follow the advice of her fictional characters - just breathe and tackle life head on.

Wiggs has created another outstanding story in Just Breathe, one that's packed with plenty of emotional punch as Sarah rediscovers herself and the hometown that had always embarrassed her. Once her marriage crumbles and she faces her life's new realities, it's that same community that she'd shunned who welcome her back with open arms, offering unquestionable support. The plot becomes overly busy at times as Sarah's life is riddled with a few too many complications. However, with Wiggs' usual flair and insight, she juggles each ball skillfully and brings the story to a believable and touching conclusion.

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