Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sumter Point by KG MacGregor

Publisher:              Bella Books

Can an adult wild child and a woman who never really had a chance to have a childhood find something in common upon which to build a relationship? That is the story at the center of Sumter Point by KG MacGregor. As in most of MacGregor's books though, there is more to the story than there seems to be on the surface.

Audie Pippin and Beth Hester couldn't meet in a place less likely to spawn a romance. Audie has to admit her beloved grandmother to a nursing home after she suffers a serious stroke and Beth is the nurse who tends to her. The two women are separated by nine years in age, but an ocean in maturity and life experiences. Audie is a pot smoking, tequila drinking party animal who indulges in all of her interests, including casual sex with multiple partners. Somewhere along the line she has forgotten to grow up. Beth is a serious minded nurse who raised a younger sister and doesn't have time for fun between her job and furthering her education to become a RN.

Don't let surface appearances fool you though. There's more to Audie than is apparent and she shows her caring nature in her job as a veterinary technician at the local animal shelter. Beth is frustrated that she's old beyond her time and that she hasn't found a relationship that has fulfilled her. The two of them meet in the common ground of caring for Audie's grandmother, Violet, who is the center of Audie's universe and a role model from Beth's earlier days. As they combine to care for Violet, they come to learn about each other and discover that they each might be exactly what the other one needs. Things will not be easy however as Violet's health wanes and Audie fights the attraction of a more frivolous life. A crisis involving Beth's duty as a nurse may drive them apart or cement the relationship, but Beth isn't sure what will be the eventual outcome.

Sumter Point is the latest in the string of romances written by KG MacGregor. As usual in her books, MacGregor creates characters that are deeper than appearances. Both Audie and Beth are escaping from unhappy instances in their childhoods, but they've gone in opposite directions to accomplish that and they make an interesting contrast in coping. MacGregor also likes the theme of having women who are slightly separated in age and showing that these relationships do have potential despite their different places in life. What brings Audie and Beth together is their caring natures and age has nothing to do with that. 

Sumter Point also confronts the difficult issue of dealing with the elderly, the strain of having to commit them to nursing homes and, ultimately, facing the balance between maintaining their dignity and tending to their health needs. Anyone who has had to cope with a loved one's decline will understand Audie's anguish about what is happening with her grandmother. Beth's struggle to serve her patients when they no longer want to go on and trying to help the families to understand this is an issue that many readers will be able to relate to.

Sumter Point is not a sad or depressing book, but much of it will cause you to think. That isn't a bad thing. There is enough of the romance between Audie and Beth to keep you reading and the understory will have you considering many points. Overall, it's a book that you really should read.

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