This is definitely a character driven story. The main focus is on Jean, but many of the side characters shine as well. I really enjoyed Rosie, and I even felt sorry for Bob. Justin is hard to forget, and even though Jean's boys only had quick appearances, I felt for them as they tried to muddle through their own lives and their parents' divorce.
All of the characters were memorable and well written. My only real issue was that Jean was so unlikable in the beginning. She was supposed to be. Her life was a mess, and a good chunk of that was her fault. She is a jaded and bitter woman when readers first meet her. This had to be the case so she could later grow and reassess her priorities and relationships. I just would have liked to have had a little glimpse of her redeeming qualities earlier on so I could connect with Jean faster. As the book progressed and Jean started to really take stock of her life, I cared much more about her happiness and felt connected with her.
The overall arc of the story was well developed. Jean undergoes a great deal of change and progression during the story. She isn't a saint by the end of the book, we still have more story to go, but she is someone readers will want to see succeed and find joy. Rosie and several of the other side characters also have a great deal of depth and grow throughout the book. I enjoyed Rosie quite a bit, and I even cared about the ex-husband Bob as well.
The relationships in this story had many levels to them. The romantic elements were a bit subdued as Jean is mending from being left by her husband and struggles to figure out what she wants, but the friendships she develops were very worthwhile and interesting to explore. Her friendship with Rosie takes most of the focus as Rosie attempts to instill her positive attitude on Jean. She's not always successful, but both Jean and readers will appreciate her effort.
Jean also develops a friendship with Jacob when she temporarily moves to Cleveland to care for her mother. Jacob's kind and patient demeanor is a comfort to Jean, but sparks just don't seem to fly. Regardless, Jean does not want to leave him behind when he returns home. But as her fondness for Jacob grows, Bob begins reconsidering the divorce. I was definitely intrigued by Jean's relationship with both men and I look forward to following them in the next book. Overall, this was an entertaining and heartfelt story of personal growth and friendship that I enjoyed quite a bit.