I have read the 158th book for the book challenge. It was Helen Of Pasadena by Lian Dolan.
Helen Fairchild became a widow on New Year’s Day when her husband Merritt’s volunteer scooter hit a Panda float in the Rose Parade as he was texting his mistress. The night before he had told Helen that he was leaving her for a television anchor woman. It was a bolt from the blue. And now he is dead.
Another bolt from the blue. Merritt has mismanaged their money and Helen is broke. She will have to sell their house and all their antiques and paintings and Merritt’s wine collection so that Helen can buy a cheaper home and maybe be able to afford her son’s school tuition. Her friends Candy and Tina give her moral support. But she feels stunned.
Helen needs a job. But she dropped out of her masters program in archaeology at Berkley years ago to marry Merritt and has been a stay at home mom ever since. True, she has been involved with much fund raising for her son’s school. But she really has no skills. But she has been a docent at the Huntington, a library and museum and so she goes there to beg for a position–any position. Fortunately, they have a research assistant position open for a Distinguished Scholar. Helen fits the bill. The DS is Dr. Patrick O’Neil, an archaeologist who studies ancient Troy and will be looking at some journals that refer to ancient Troy and its discovery.
Helen and Patrick get on well. They go off one day to the beach and have a long discussion about many things and Helen feels really alive. When they come back, Patrick kisses her and she loves it. But they go back to being just colleagues.
Patrick is asked to speak at Helen’s son’s school. Helen and Aiden help him spruce up his talk to make it appealing to the eighth graders and it is a smash hit. Then Patrick is asked to be the honoree at the charity event of the year. Patrick asks Helen to be his date for the event. Helen is thrilled. Patrick is talked into auctioning off a two weeks all expenses luxury vacation at his dig at Troy in Turkey. It will be the highlight of the charity event.
Aiden is trying to get into high school. His mother is trying to get him into his father’s alma mater, a Catholic high school, and Aiden messes up his interview. His grades are not stellar either. But his grandmother made a sizable donation and he was accepted. Then an acceptance envelope arrives from Los Angeles School of the Performing Arts. Aiden has applied there for acting on his own with Helen’s mother’s help and he has been accepted. That is where he really wants to go. Helen says that he can go.
Helen goes to the charity event with Patrick after she does production work for a television show that he is doing with Annabeth, another archaeologist. She has really impressed Annabeth and her partner Olympia, a famous British actress. Patrick auctions off his trip and a donor offers $250,000. The donor comes forward. It is Mitsy Fairchild, Helen’s mother-in-law. After the event, Patrick and Helen go back to his room and have a wonderful evening but Helen tells him that things wouldn’t work out between them. She leaves to look at a house and then goes to work to say good-bye to him, only to find him gone. He had to go to London to see his daughter on an emergency. Helen cries.
Over the months, Helen has a new job as executive producer for Annabeth’s archaeology television show. She keeps in touch with Patrick in Turkey and Greece. Now it is the summer and they need footage of Patrick for the show and Helen must go to Turkey to film him. Mitsy gives Helen and Aiden the trip she bid on. Helen decides to go. When Helen gets to Turkey, Patrick is wild to see her. Helen says she made a mistake to say that things wouldn’t work out. They plan to keep seeing each other whenever they can.
This was a sweet story. Helen was so beaten down from the misdeeds of her husband and then along comes this wonderful man. She just couldn’t believe that it was all real and happening to her. She didn’t think it could work out for her. But she just had to be open to the possibilities.