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Wish You Were Here

by Jodi Picoult

Hodder & Stoughton

I confess I put off starting this book – did I really feel like reading about Covid for entertainment?  – but I should have known that Jodi Picoult would manage the topic cleverly and so unexpectedly.  She dealt with a side of Covid I hadn’t heard about based on research she conducted herself.  She took me to the glorious Galapagos Islands which have long been on my bucket list and she took my breath clean away with her FANTASTIC twist!

Diana O’Toole is one of those people who sets goals and makes things happen. She plans to be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos.

But then Covid hits New York and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news that his leave has been cancelled – all doctors have to report for duty to fight the virus.  He convinces her to go since it would be a shame for their non-refundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.  Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone to explore the wonders of paradise on her own.

In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different…

A smart and emotional page-turner that makes space for individual life crises in the face of a global one. – Irish Times

If there’s anyone who can tackle the pandemic, it’s Jodi Picoult… With one humdinger of a plot twist, it’s another fantastic, clever read from Picoult.  – Women and Home

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