Bille Coleman Kingsley had endured a lifetime of mistakes, oversights and sins, all of which formed to be the person she is now. She had had children, lost loves and run a successful business of her own. Unfortunately, she also had terminal cancer and family members who are as stubborn and hot-tempered as she is. She has only a limited amount of time to make things right and her husband, Thad Kingsley is determined to do everything he can to make this as easy as possible for her in the last few days of her life.
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However, that is easier said than done. One daughter, Susan cannot handle stress at all, goes into denial and eventually is almost incapable of taking care of herself. Maggie is cheated on by her beloved husband, Rand, with a trusted friend. Even though he does not admit it, she knows and they separate. Unexpectedly and completely unrelated to the separation, he is killed by a truck driver who is not paying attention to his surroundings.
Coleman Tanner is Billie's grandson and is married to Sumi Hasegawa. During the novel, they have their first child together and both families have been involved for years. The initial investments that allowed them to be successful in business were provided by Sumi's family.
Now, Coleman is primarily responsible for running the multi-billion dollar business in Sumi's family. He wants to do more than manage the funds, he wants to add to them, so when his sister asks for funds for a revolutionary plane, he offers to help. However, nobody is happy with the terms of the loan and eventual profit share, so there is a more significant problem. She obtains the funds from the company, but in another way, but there were some very hurt feelings about doing so.
As Billie's illness worsens, her family mourns for he and prepares for her death. The barest supernatural touches of family members who have already passed away are seen at various points throughout and the ghostly notices provide comfort to Billie. Simultaneously, a dear family friend named Cary Assante who was related to them through marriage until his spouse passed away, was blinded in a freak accident.
By the end of the novel, Billie has reunited the family and forced them to deal with each other. As her final gift to Cary, she has requested to die in a hospital; with no extreme measures and to have every possible precaution taken so that after her death, her eyes will be donated to Cary to restore his vision.
Best part of story, including ending:
Even though I did not read the first three books in the series when I read this one, the details and characters were very clear and I did not feel lost. For example, Maggie was previously married and that husband also cheated on her. The author did an excellent job of comparing the experiences and allowing her feelings of betrayal to be clear without overwhelming.
Best scene in story:
Although it had such an awful impact on the rest of the book, when Rand cheated with Valentine, it was a very realistic occurrence and functioned as a nice reminder that even when you love you spouse, sometimes things happen. Rand and Valentine had known each other in a professional capacity for years and as the family lawyer, they had something of a personal relationship as well. When they became intimate, there was extensive buildup prior, so there were questions as to whether it would happen. Finally, the scene was passionate and obviously good for them both, but it did not feel contrived.
Opinion about the main character:
I loved the spunk and strength that Maggie Coleman Kingsley had, but I still do not understand why it took her so long to tell her loved ones about her illness. They were not all close with each other, but she had a relationship with each one, including her daughter who did have issues. I feel as if by taking so long to tell them, she robbed them of extra time with her at the end of her life. Therefore, I loved the character, but dislike and cannot understand her choice.