It is so much easier to fall in love with a stranger than your good friend who'd put everything on the back burner to come to the aid of a friend. I thought that growing up without a mother was hard until I read about Pete losing both parents as a young child, as did Addie and Janny who also grew up in the foster care program. Now, that has to be the pits.
Pete had dreams of finding his cousin and using the thing his mother left to him as a remembrance, simultaneously at the age of sixteen. Neither worked the way he had imagined. With the monetary help of an uncle who lived a sullen, unforgiving life because he could not marry the woman he loved, Pete attended Harvard where he met his destiny, Annie, and yet it took a total disaster in Pete's personal life for him to learn these facts.
It was twenty years after he gave up on finding Barney, that he found what he thought was his true love. She was so wild, lovely and different from him. He was old beyond his years. As the lovebirds were planning a future together, he secured the funds for Mattie to find her dream life in a store she named appropriately "Fairy Tales." He'd thought that this gypsy girl was his destiny and soon put Annie on the back burner of his life. He was living a fairy tale, as Mattie and her childhood friend Janny were. Janny always had the goal of finding her birth mother, as the adoption did not take and she grew up in foster homes along with Mattie.
It's a good thing these young women were tough on the inside as they witnessed a terrible murder and were taken into the Protective system which was a Hell on Earth. Annie left her career in law on hold and rushed to her friend's assistance to carry on with "Fairy Tales" and to decorate his new fancy house out by the lake along the Eastern coast near his uncle's mansion. During this separation, both Pete and Mattie changed drastically; they learned to never take things for granted again and never presume, never assume.
Annie learned the hard way that she had actually loved Pete all these years more than as a friend. She learned that love meant putting the other person first and was wanting the other's happiness more than you want your own. Pete had no time for trips down Memory Lane, and he persisted in dreaming of Mattie. One day he realized what he had been missing and looked at Annie through the eyes of love. How could something so ordinary be so wonderful? He had depended on her for his emotional needs since their Harvard days; when she went her own way to find some solace for her broken heart, he goes after her.
She finds Barney for him, his good fortune, as Pete gives him the uncle's house and all of its contents. He has a new home and a woman to complete the picture of domestic tranquility. From that moment, he meant to live in the present and put the past completely behind him. Who has time to wallow in self-pity?