Sadie Montgomery never saw what was coming . . . Literally! One minute she’s celebrating the biggest achievement of her life—placing as a finalist in the North American Portrait Society competition—the next, she’s lying in a hospital bed diagnosed with a “probably temporary” condition known as face blindness. She can see, but every face she looks at is now a jumbled puzzle of disconnected features. Imagine trying to read a book upside down and in another language. This is Sadie’s new reality with every face she sees.
But, as she struggles to cope, hang on to her artistic dream, work through major family issues, and take care of her beloved dog, Peanut, she falls into—love? Lust? A temporary obsession to distract from the real problems in her life?—with not one man but two very different ones. The timing couldn’t be worse.
If only her life were a little more in focus, Sadie might be able to find her way. But perceiving anything clearly right now seems impossible. Even though there are things we can only find when we aren’t looking. And there are people who show up when we least expect them. And there are always, always other ways of seeing.
“But I guess that’s the great thing about life—it gives you chance after chance to rethink it all. Who you want to be. How you want to live. What really matters.”
This is one of the best Katherine Center books! And I have loved lots of them!
She made me go from laughing to crying in the blink of an eye! I was swooning and the next moment I was lost and despairing.
Katherine Center writes with her heart, she has fantastic, sweet and real characters who go through the grinder and come to the other side still kicking and having learned some deep life lessons.
That’s what happened to Sadie, portrait artist, on the brink of her huge achievement as she placed finalist in the North American Portrait Society competition.
Then the next moment, an unplanned brain surgery leaves her unable to see faces! She can see eyes, noses, chins… but like puzzle pieces. Not together!
She can’t recognize people anymore, even less paint a face!
And yet, she has to paint a portrait within six weeks if she wants to win the competition!
This is her story.
We learn how she lost her mother, also a portrait artist, as a teenager and how when she told her brilliant cardiac surgeon of a father that she wanted to pursue art as a career he told her she’d have to walk that path alone.
Sadie does not want help. Never. From anyone.
Because when you need help you get needy. And no one loves someone needy. They leave you.
“The fact that you don’t want me to help you really makes me want to help you.”
“That sounds like a you problem.”
So Sadie lives on a rooftop, in a tiny shed/studio, property of Mister Kim, Sue’s father. Sue is Sadie’s best friend and greatest supporter. I loved her and the Kims!
Winning the competition should be her chance at finally being recognized as an artist, at living from her art and not just barely surviving.
When she lost her ability to see faces it’s her whole future that has been compromised. And she will have to learn to cope with it, struggling and growing stronger bit by bit.
“You want me not to fixate on the worst-case scenario?”
“I want you to start practicing the art of self-encouragement.”
“So when I catch myself worrying, I should try to convince myself that things are going to be fine?”
“That’s one way to do it.”
“But what if I don’t believe it?”
“Then keep arguing.”
Katherine Center has chosen to write about neurovascular issues such as cavernoma and some resulting side effect like prosopagnosia ( face blindness). I found fascinating to learn how many people suffer from that diagnosis and was astonished at all the coping strategies to reduce the impact of that affliction on the daily lives of the people! I love learning new facts and I was in for a treat!
Knowing that artists suffer from face blindness and still create art with people in their portrait was amazing and humbling!
Of course, Sadie having prosopagnosia, that will give us very hilarious “quiproquo” and I laughed more than once! That will also teach us one or two important life lessons and show how resilient the human being truly is!
There is a whole cast of side characters adding lots of layers to the story:
-Sue the best friend and the Kims, discreet protectors;
-Sadie’s evil stepsister and long-life bully;
-Sadie’s stepmother Martha Stewart lookalike;
-Her estranged father;
-Sadie’s psychologist and idol
The two men she will fall for while face blind:
-The veterinarian with white lab coat, slicked hair, hero’s gait;
-The neighbor in the bowling jacket: Joe, surname “Helpful” and whom Sadie is convinced that he is a serial one night stand guy.
That story is emotional, inspirational, heartwarming and reaffirmed Katherine Center as one of my favorite romance authors! With her sweet characters yet resilient characters, she writes the most uplifting, feel good stories! That’s what I adore with her books, that’s what makes me come back again and again!
Last word about the narrator: Patti Murin. I was disappointed that Therese Plummer wasn’t narrating the book but once I listened to Patti Murin she won me over and I am now looking for more books narrated by her!
Thanks for reading!