Sunset Bridge (Happiness Key: Thorndike Press Large Print Core)
Who would ever think that five completely different women would bond to become soul sisters? The residents of Happiness Key, Florida, once again demonstrate the true meaning of friendship in this final installation of Ms. Richards’ series.
After a year, ex-rich California socialite, Tracy Deloche, has settled into her new surroundings, never having envisioned she would be practically penniless, thanks to her scoundrel ex-husband CJ and his deception, which landed him in jail.
Lucky for Tracy, CJ had left the scraggy development of 28 acres and five concrete block cottages on the southern Gulf Coast of Florida to her. Though rundown and needing renovation, the property belonged to Tracy; she’s determined to make it work.
Supplementing her rental income, Tracy works for the local rec center and, after a shaky start, is in a relationship with lawyer Marsh Egan. Upon her arrival in Florida, Tracy considered selling the property to a developer, but Marsh fought against her every move in order to keep the area natural and undeveloped. They put their differences aside and started dating. Though Tracy has fallen for Marsh, she cannot perceive his feelings for her and before long finds herself in a predicament, leaving her flustered.
Tracy’s tenant, Wanda Gray, opens a business baking pies—which is her passion—but becomes overwhelmed when her best employee leaves. Her police officer daughter, Maggie, suddenly leaves her job in Miami and her lover, Felo, and rents a vacant cottage so she can help her mother. Though the two were never close, Maggie needs to sort out her life, and her mom could use the help.
Elderly tenant Alice has her hands full raising pre-teen granddaughter, Olivia. The only child of her deceased daughter, Alice has custody because Olivia’s father is in prison. Not only is Alice exhausted caring for the girl, but recovering from a stroke makes her realize raising children is best suited for the young. Thankfully, the women of Happiness Key pitch in to help Alice.
Indian descents Janya and Rishi Kapur, another of Tracy’s tenants, desperately want a child, which does not seem to be in the cards. Though Janya is the product of an arranged marriage and new to America, she loves her husband and hopes children will eventually come. Imagine their surprise when another Indian couple leaves their two small children in their care—never to return.
Though the women of Happiness Key are very divergent, they are connected in deep and profound ways, each offering her own special skills and temperament to make for an impenetrable group friendship.
Ms. Richards blends passion, vulnerability, and angst in her characters, which helps to create a moving tale. Filled with mystery, suspense, camaraderie, and a bit of romance, Sunset Bridge is an uplifting conclusion to her Happiness Key series.