Bonnie and Eli had recently lost their son to illness. She tried to turn to him but he pushed her away and sought comfort in other women. Then he decides to go to war and off to Cuba. Bonnie returns to their hometown and Eli contracts yellow fever while in Cuba. A young girl takes care of him and in the beginning he believes it is Bonnie so he begins an affair with her. After healing he returns home to find that Bonnie isn't there and she has returned to their hometown. Bonnie has also divorced Eli and she has a young daughter. Eli later finds out that the little girl is his and wishes to reunite with his wife. It has been two years since they have seen each other.
This is the story of their attempt at reconciliation. The characters are likeable and I really liked the supporting characters they seemed to be funny and added some color to this story. When Eli returns to town Bonnie is sort of seeing Webb and this bothers Eli. Why didn't Bonnie start screaming about pots and kettles when Eli was upset at the thought of her being with other men?
I would have liked Bonnie to tell Eli how much his cheating and turning away from her in her time of need hurt her too but she didn't. I believed he was sorry for what he did though. He seemed to genuinely feel sorry and it seemed that they tried to put it behind them as they couldn't change the past. For some reason Eli wasn't able to handle the grief of what happened so he turned outwards. I liked that Forbes explained to Bonnie that men deal with grief differently, although he did seem disturbed that Eli was cheating on Bonnie too. I think that helped her to understand her husband. Without this insight by Forbes I'm not sure that she could have forgiven Eli. It didn't make his cheating okay but it did make the story more realistic. The author doesn't really delve that deep but I wonder if it is possible that he just didn't feel worthy of his wife that he felt that he should hurt too and having these meaningless flings would hurt him too. I'm sure these flings hurt her but she didn't really harp on them a lot. A few times but she seemed to just want to forget about them and not talk about them, which seemed like a bad thing too. Eli just didn't seem to be able to deal with his grief over losing his son but he did eventually and of course Bonnie was there for him. It was very sad that he wasn't there for her though. Eli never told Bonnie that he didn't blame her for their son dying. She believed that he did and he never disputed it.
It would have been better if Bonnie were even a bit attracted to Forbes. They seemed to have more chemistry than Webb and Bonnie. He at least was more open and sharing with her than Eli was so perhaps there were some emotions there for the two of them, just not enough to build a relationship on. It just would have been nice if the h could have hooked up with someone else too. And maybe if they had been divorced longer she might have. At the time though it had only been two years.
Takes awhile but basically he tricks/blackmails her into remarrying him. She believes that if she doesn't remarry him he will take their daughter away from her. And actually it does sound like that. He even lets her believe that he is bedding the boarding house woman on their wedding night. Later he explains that she misunderstood him about the whole marriage thing and that he wasn't bedding the OW. He returned to his bed that he had at the boarding house though.
Genoa, Eli's sister, did say something to Bonnie that I didn't care too much for. She said something about Eli's pride and Bonnie said what about my pride. So Genoa said would you rather have your pride or be happy?
HUH?? Are these mutually exclusive? Can you not have your pride and be happy? What if that means that she could be happy, being with Eli and all but she has to forsake her pride because he only wants to be with her on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and Tuesday, Thursday he would like to be with Betty Lou; and Saturday and Sunday he wants to be with Barbie? That kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
But because I really liked Forbes, Bonnie, the teacher and yeah even believed Eli was sorry I am giving 4 stars for this book. Genoa shouldn't have stepped in with her two cents and I might have given another star.