In The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye, four friends are undone by the discovery that the much-discussed, long-lost-love of one of the friends has been sighted, mysteriously. Or...maybe not sighted. Faye isn't the most trustworthy of narrators, a fact well-known among the friends. But the possibility of the sighting stirs up a cacophony of "what ifs" that drive each of the four friends to make a dramatic re-assessment of the decisions that have shaped their current reality. In the end, the lies they've told each other - and themselves - change the destiny of all four women irrevocably.
Sarah Marie Graye eloquently expresses the emotional secrets we keep from even those who make our lives worth living. Her exquisite use of imagery plays emotions like a finely-tuned violin. From the depths of depression to the heights of new love, Ms. Graye carries her readers along with musical precision.
The primary flaw in the novel was that it was about 20,000 words too short. After the climax, the denouement feels rushed. Several monumental decisions are made without much precedent, stated as fact with little supporting structure. The deeper issues behind a complex choice remained unclear. I never did understand Beth's descent into depression nor Faye's seemingly illogical choice to move away. But perhaps that was Ms. Graye's point - that, in the end, something as small as a second cup of tea becomes the foundation or precipice upon which we build our lives.
This novel left me shaken in all the best ways. It's a highly recommended read for lovers of literary fiction or those who want to be more aware of their own (and others') emotional wellness.