Gordon McKenna’s life has been on hold since his beloved older sister Georgia was diagnosed with cancer. They know she’s going to die, and she’s the heart of his family. At least he and his parents have the comfort of her one-year-old daughter, Keefer, though they fear that Georgia’s husband, pro-circuit golfer Ray, will take Keefer home to Florida. So when Ray and Georgia die in a car accident it’s almost a relief – their will gives custody to Gordon and his parents.
But when it emerges that they were in the process of changing the will, considering giving custody to Ray’s prim and proper parents instead, the comfort of Keefer is transformed into a pitched custody battle.
Though told primarily (and with bias) from the McKenna side, enough of Ray's family comes through that it's clear they, too, have Keefer Katherine's best interests at heart, even if their picture of what that involves is markedly different. Gordon, the chief protagonist, has the steepest character arc, and was the most involving.
This was an engrossing novel that explores what ‘family’ really means - the capacity of love and the meaning of family, the realities of adoption, and the conflict of merging very different families through marriage. The coda of the novel could be criticised as being too neat, but I found it satisfying. - Alex