About five years prior to the time of the setting of Midnight Choices, Gwen Van Allen made a temporary escape from grief in an affair with Ben McLain. It was over within days as Ben, overpowered by her familyís wealth and by his own sense of responsibility, returned to his construction company in Colorado. Gwen remained in Florida facing the reality of her fatherís death and became an attorney. Along the way she had Benís child Zack.
Gwen is now on Benís doorstep to finally tell him that he is a father. Having hired a private investigator to find Ben, she makes the initial visit without her four-year-old son Zack. Gwen is a breast cancer survivor, and having now faced her own mortality she is persuaded that in Zackís best interest he needs to know his father.
She discovers that Ben has brothers Duncan and Charlie and a sister who is out of town. Ben is naturally overwhelmed, but acts in the way one would expect a responsible person to act. Gwen agrees to return to Florida and to bring Zack back for a two-week visit.
Duncan is at home recovering from a life-threatening wound sustained in a mission as a sharpshooter for Special Forces. He is suffering from (yet to be realized by him) post traumatic stress disorder; and now must add his instant attraction to Gwen to his troubles. As Duncan looks on, Ben bonds like super glue to Zack and decides he should marry Gwen to make his family complete.
Kudos to this author! With a very light but deft touch Wilks addresses head on the changes in life after a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. The treatment, the guilt, the anger, the fears of reoccurrence and the fears of new relationships are confronted head on without apology and without vacuous platitudes.
Gwen has matured and changed so dramatically that the spark she secretly hoped would reignite with Ben did not. Instead she falls into lust with Duncan. Here again Wilks shows her talent by illustrating the symptoms rather than wallowing in the causes of suffering.
The characters are well developed, and notwithstanding the emotionally draining issues of the authorís characters, she permeates the story with warmth and light humor. The point of view shifts are executed with style and finesse, and the dialogue is always in voice.
The relationships between her characters mature as one would expect them to; but more important in this story are the side trips the author takes, rather than the arriving. All of us could learn something from this journey.