After being brought together by a chance occurrence, two struggling strangers form a close bond in Maurstad’s elegant and understated novel. Trying to come to terms with the trauma of his wife’s tragic death, Justin Mayhaps, an advertising wiz turned web-based marketing guru, throws himself into work, but his grief is refusing to go away. Ellis Presley is a musician-video artist on the cusp of indie fame. But her traumatic upbring has left a hole in her heart, and there’s no moving on. When their paths cross, they realize there’s more to life than dwelling on one’s sorrows. Maurstad uses empathetic prose, telling Justin and Ellis’s stories in alternative third-person narrative voices to expertly portray the duo’s individual journeys to ‘normalcy.’ With empathy and understanding, he depicts Justin’s relentless guilt and grief and his inability to come to terms with his wife’s death. The portrayal of Ellis’s struggles with her past demons, her inner rage, her passion for music, and her endearing bond with John, Luke, and other members of the ACME gang is equally compelling, leaving readers feeling as though they’ve really accompanied Ellis on her journey. Intensely moving, the novel will linger on readers’ minds long after they turn the last page. A triumph.