In Flirting with Pete, bestselling author Barbara Delinsky weaves together two fascinating narratives that merge in a dramatic, highly emotional, and totally unexpected conclusion, as a daughter's struggle to win the approval of the father she never knew becomes a journey of self-discovery.
Psychologist Casey Ellis never met her father—but that didn't stop her from following in his professional footsteps. Now he has died, and Casey is shocked to have inherited his elegant Boston town house, complete with a maid and a handsome, enigmatic gardener. When she finds a manuscript that could be a novel, a journal, or a case study of one of her father's patients in her new home, she becomes engrossed in the story of Jenny, a young woman trying to escape her troubled life. Convinced the story is true and that her father left it as a message for her, Casey digs deeper. As she pieces together the mysteries surrounding her father, Jenny, and the romantic new stranger in her life, she discovers startling links between past and present, and unexpected ties between what is real and what is imagined.
Cassandra (Casey) Ellis, 34, a single, successful psychotherapist, is the newest of this prolific romance writer's heroines. The novel opens with a memorial service for Dr. Cornelius Unger, a brilliant and reclusive psychologist who is also Casey's father. She never knew him personally, since she was the product of her mother's single encounter with Unger, and is shocked to learn that Dr. Unger has left her a $3 million townhouse on Boston's Beacon Hill, complete with a maid, Meg, and a gardener, Jordan. Casey has always felt hostile toward her famous, mysterious father, even though her mother never expressed any anger. She's uneasy at first about living in a luxurious house haunted by her father's presence, but soon finds its meticulously attended gardens a source of relief from professional stress and the emotional turmoil of caring for her mother, left comatose after a recent accident. Moreover, she is attracted to handsome, virile Jordan. While she's rooting through Dr. Unger's personal papers, she comes across the story of Jenny Clyde, a young woman in her 20s who was abused by her father for years before being rescued by a police officer. Casey becomes intrigued: is this incestuous relationship fiction or one of Dr. Unger's case histories? Why did her father leave it for her to find? Delinsky (The Woman Next Door,etc.) weaves Jenny's story through the novel, and meshes her and Casey's fates in a melodramatic climax. Both stories have some lapses in credibility and underdeveloped supporting characters (Meg is particularly weak), but the plot is more sophisticated and fast-moving than some of Delinsky's earlier work. It will satisfy her fans and may even win her some new readers.
Another wonderful book, I love everything Barbara writes, but this garden and the characters were really special! Thank you.
Phenomenal book!!! Delinsky does it again. My first read by her and my absolute favorite!!!
Wonderful mystery with twists and turns to keep you guessing.
Grabs you and pulls you in with empathy for the characters.