Maggie Cameron finds herself coping not only with her ex-husband and an intensive work schedule, but also a sudden unexpected life shift when her assistant, Carla Green, reveals that she needs to quit her job. While just having an employee quit is startling, Carla’s decision to tell Maggie about her cancer diagnosis changes everything. Fragments of Life examines what happens when two women explore their connection to each other when they are forced to face a tragic possible future.
Anita R. Gibbons sets out to describe a period of time that can be exceptionally full of emotions within her novel. The work does have a strong connection to her real life experiences with her long term partner, who struggled through her third bout of cancer. Fragments of Life shows how people can react differently to a diagnosis and what coping with such a change can mean. Maggie acts as our focal point and we learn about Carla through her. As she is trying to come to terms with the fact that Carla may die, Maggie wants to find ways to help her and spend more time with her. When her daughter, Stephanie, is invited to go along on her father’s honeymoon in Europe with his new wife a plan is made to have Maggie and Carla go on a slightly connected trip during the same period of time. Maggie and Stephanie want to give Carla everything and make her time as wonderful as they can. Carla has a fierce independent streak and planning this trip proves more difficult than any of them had expected.
Beyond just focusing on caring for Carla, Maggie is also coping with new feelings she thinks she may have toward her. When an author, who is identified as gay, wishes to publish under a pseudonym the decision Carla makes to take on this new identity for the press spurs her to discuss her own feelings with her boss. As the two women become closer their feelings for each other grow and we watch as what they have begins to shift from friendship to something more. This shift isn’t easy for either woman as they have never been in a same sex relationship before. Fragments of Life goes through this journey of discovery with them as they journey Europe together. It is a romantic read, but does still have conflict throughout as our two main characters try and work through a number of emotions. I would recommend Fragments of Life to those who love romance, but be prepared for a number of very emotional moments as you go.
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