Callie is going through a rough patch, her son Henry has autism and her dad's health is failing. She had no idea how bad things had gotten for Ben Wyeth when she returned to her childhood home in New Hampshire. She was long over due to visit. Her dad was being cared for in a nursing home that he was getting used to. Upon her arrival she learns that he's been rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke.
Linden had a crush on Callie long before they left New Hampshire for different colleges.
When he sees the lights on at her dad's house he assumes she's come back to check on things. Four years have passed and Linden has never forgotten her. Linden wasn't able to express his feelings prior to her departure and has often regretted it.
Linden doesn't know that Callie had a baby by a professor who booked out of town taking a position at another school. Callie had to drop out and get a job in order to take care of her now four-year-old son. While he pines over Callie, his high school buddy Josh's baby sister Katie has grown up and she has the hots for Linden. Katie is home for summer vacation from Dartmouth where she will be a senior in the fall.
Katie tells him that Callie had a baby and when he looks at her for more she quickly adds, that she has never married. Katie thought everyone knew since gossip spreads fast. Linden is taken aback. A baby, and never married may mean he has still has a chance.
Callie and Linden run into each other at the store and share an awkward moment. He asks about her dad, and when Callie becomes emotional they say quick good byes.
Henry is having a hard time adjusting to being in unfamiliar spaces and Callie is doing all she can to make him understand they can't go home until his grandfather is better. Her dad's doctor starts the conversation with an update on her dad. They will have to wait until he is stronger before doing surgery. He asks Callie how she's holding up and she shares some of the latest challenges regarding Henry's outbursts and hiding episodes. The doctor understands and tells Callie that he and his wife have a son with autism and that the best she can do for the time being is to try and understand Henry's behavior better.
The next time Linden sees Callie in front of her house he invites her over to meet his animals. She isn't surprised to see that he still has a soft heart. Secretly, she hopes he forgave her for being distant all this time.
Callie is focused on her son and dad's condition. She really doesn't have time to travel down memory lane with Linden. She's cordial but she doesn't have the energy to focus on love at the moment. Linden doesn't seem to get that.
Linden is gifted a pair of pilot headsets (great for blocking out noise) and he gives them to Henry. Good move. Henry settles down when he wears them. While Callie appreciates the gesture she isn't sure that Henry blocking out the world will help him adjust to living in it.
Callie's dad has surgery and everything goes well. She has to find a rehab center for him to work with therapist to get his strength and coordination back. It is hard for both of them as her dad has always been a get-it-done, take charge type of guy.
Callie apologizes to Linden for not being in touch and giving him a chance to love her as a single parent. She cries, he forgives her and tells her he never stopped loving her. He enjoys hanging out with Henry and thinks he is a great kid.
Ben is finally well enough to see little Henry and his heart bursts with pride. Henry may be the salve that gets him to do the things rehabilitation requires faster and with a good attitude. Things were looking up when Callie receives a surprise home visit from the doctor. Ben didn't make it.
With the help of old family friends and neighbors who remembered how hard Callie had taken it when her mother died, she manages to push through. Gardening was suggested as a way to help with grieving and plant she did. Her parents had a plot a of land next to the house, and Callie dug into the earth in hopes of finding the strength needed to cope. Her parents had always kept faith that God would pull them through the hard times. This is what Callie leaned on.
An annual town race held on Thanksgiving gives Callie hope when Henry participates in his first run. Linden is there, reliving his high school track days and he gets to kiss Callie on the cheek. Together, they cheer Henry on.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the relationship between Callie and her dad.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was Callie's joy over Henry making through surgery.
Opinion about the main character:
I disliked that Callie was never able to take time for herself. She deserved to live a little.