Thirteen-year-old Briony sees her older sister, Cecilia, strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain of their country estate. Also watching is Robbie Turner, a childhood friend and son of the housekeeper, who with Cecilia has recently graduated from Cambridge. By the end of the day the lives of all will be changed forever, Robbie and Cecilia crossing a boundary they had never dared approach and Briony committing a dreadful crime, the guilt staying with her for life.
At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big-league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.
For Katherine Givens and the four women about to become her best friends, the adventure begins with a UPS package. Inside is a pair of red sneakers filled with ashes and a note that will forever change their lives. Katherine’s oldest and dearest friend, the irrepressible Annie Freeman, left one final request-a traveling funeral-and she wants the most important women in her life as “pallbearers.”
From Sonoma to Manhattan, Katherine, Laura, Rebecca, Jill, and Marie will carry Annie’s ashes to the special places in her life. At every stop there’s a surprise encounter and a small miracle waiting, and as they whoop it up across the country, attracting interest wherever they go, they share their deepest secrets-tales of broken hearts and second chances, missed opportunities and new beginnings. And as they grieve over what they’ve lost, they discover how much is still possible if only they can unravel the secret Annie left them….
Thirty-something, unmarried and very cool Londoner, Will Lightman’s search for eligible young women leads him to invent a young son so as to join Single Parents Alone Together, a support group for single parents. As he is very proud of his superficiality, it appears at first to be the perfect solution, a place to meet beautiful women with whom he can have brief affairs but who will eventually dump him in favor of someone more suitable. Complications set in when Will meets Marcus, an impossibly uncool, twelve year old. Once Will lets Marcus into his life, he finds that not only is he capable of getting close to another person but it can be a good thing as well.